How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Case
July 9, 2019
Slip and fall accidents can lead to significant injuries, including sprains, lacerations, and broken bones. You could experience weeks or even months of recovery time, leading to lost wages and expensive medical bills. You can claim compensation for your injuries through a slip and fall claim or lawsuit, but you will need to prove that the property owner was liable for your accident. To prove fault in a slip and fall case, you will need to prove that the property owner failed to uphold his or her duty to maintain reasonably safe premises.
Establishing a Property Owner’s Duty of Care
Depending on where you suffered your slip and fall, the at-fault party involved in your case could be a landlord, homeowner, or anyone else who owns the property. Property owners have the responsibility to maintain reasonably safe premises on their properties. To do so, the property owner must take reasonable steps to ensure that no hazards exist on his or her property or that visitors to the property receive an adequate warning to avoid these hazards.
For example, say that a landlord owns an apartment building and receives a complaint that a step on one of the building’s staircases has broken. Since the landlord received notice of this hazard, he or she will have to either repair the staircase immediately or warn tenants and visitors of the broken step until he or she repairs the staircase, such as setting up signs, closing the staircase, or sending out emails.
Did the Property Owner Breach His or Her Duty of Care?
When determining liability in a slip and fall accident, the court will consider three questions.
- Did the property owner or an employee on the property cause the dangerous condition that led to the slip and fall?
- Did the property owner or an employee at the property know about the dangerous condition that led to the slip and fall, but did nothing to warn or remedy it?
- Should the property owner or an employee have known about the dangerous condition, given that a reasonable person taking care of the property would have known about and repaired it?
If the answer to any of these three questions is “yes,” you can hold the property owner liable for your injuries. However, you and your attorney will have to build a strong case to prove liability, especially in terms of the third question.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
The moments immediately following your slip and fall accident are crucial to building a strong claim in your favor. Take the following actions after you suffer your slip and fall to preserve evidence and aid in filing your claim.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your medical records will be crucial pieces of evidence in your claim. Even if you do not feel seriously hurt at the time, you may be suffering from injuries you are not aware of yet that could aid in your claim.
- Document the scene carefully. Look around the area and see what could have led to your accident – loose carpeting, broken stairs, and holes, for example, can all be a cause of a slip and fall. Take pictures of the scene and write down your version of events.
- Collect the contact information of witnesses at the scene. These witnesses can provide valuable testimony for your claim in the future. You need these witnesses on your side in case the property owner fights against your claim.
- Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will know how to handle slip and fall litigation and can guide you through the complex lawsuit or insurance claim process.
Proving fault in a slip and fall claim requires knowledge of personal injury law. As soon as you suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident and receive medical attention, contact a Las Vegas slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can fully investigate your claim and help you establish a compelling case in your favor.