If you slipped and fell on another person’s property because of a dangerous condition and suffered severe injuries, pursuing a legal case against the property owner may seem like a good idea. While these accidents tend to happen frequently, when it comes to legal claims, they are difficult to win without help from an experienced slip and fall lawyer.
That is why we have prepared the following blog post. In it, we will go over what you need to know about how to win a slip and fall case, why they are so hard to win, and how an experienced slip and fall accident attorney can help you fight for the financial recovery you deserve.
What Exactly Is a Slip and Fall Claim?
Slip and fall accidents often involve an individual who slips and falls because of a hazardous condition on another person’s property and suffers harm.
Some of the more common causes of these accidents include:
- Wet areas
- Uneven surfaces and flooring
- Defective stairs and missing handrails
- Improper barriers that do not close off unsafe areas
- Loose rugs or bulging carpets
- Debris in front of entranceways
- Poor lighting conditions
- Failing to maintain sidewalks
As you can see, most of these accidents result from a property or business owner's negligence or carelessness. However, even if it is evident that the owner could have prevented an accident by clearing up the hazard or was responsible for causing the dangerous condition in the first place, the accident victim may still have a hard time proving their legal case.
For these reasons, following your accident, you should reach out to an experienced slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can review your case, figure out if you have a viable claim, and help you determine what legal options you can pursue.
Why Are Slip and Fall Cases So Challenging to Win?
To obtain compensation following a slip and fall accident, the victim must prove liability and that another person was responsible for the accident and their injuries. Typically, the victim needs to show that the defendant was negligent and their negligence caused their injuries.
To do this, you must establish:
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty
- The victim suffered physical or monetary damages because of the incident, or both, and
- The victim’s damages were the direct and proximate cause of the defendant’s breach
In addition, victims of these slip and fall accidents will also have to show that the defendant had knowledge of the hazard and had a reasonable amount of time to remove or repair it. Yet, they still failed to take the appropriate actions to correct it.
Unfortunately, in a slip and fall accident, proving these elements is not as easy as many would hope, especially compared to other personal injury accidents.
For instance, following a car collision, it is usually much easier for the victim to produce evidence showing that a negligent motorist harmed them, a police report, video footage, and even eyewitness testimony may establish this fault.
In comparison, most slip and fall accidents do not have this evidence. Generally, victims of these accidents will only be able to rely on first-hand accounts and proving pain and suffering.
Consequently, not only will many of these slip and fall cases not get accepted, but those that are will be very hard to win, especially when individuals decide to take on the case alone instead of working with skilled legal counsel.
The Time Limitations to File a Legal Suit Following a Slip and Fall Accident
Another legal issue that victims of a slip and fall case will need to deal with is the time limitations to file their legal claim. The statute of limitations restricts the time an individual has to file a lawsuit.
While these deadlines will depend on the state where the accident happened, many victims will only have a few years to file their suit. If they fail to file their claim by this deadline, they can't pursue legal action and go after the compensation they need for their harm and losses.
This statutory period can change, so reach out to an experienced slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible. Legal professionals can review the facts of your accident, figure out how much time you have to file your case, and ensure that your legal documents, files, and motions are prepared and submitted to the correct court before this time expires.
Plus, just because you may have years to file your legal claim, it is not always worth waiting that long to file your case. In fact, in some incidents, the longer you wait to pursue legal action, the higher the likelihood is of evidence disappearing, witnesses no longer being able to testify, and memories of the incident fading—factors that can negatively impact your case.
How Much Is a Slip and Fall Accident Claim Worth?
Because slip and fall cases can vary significantly, figuring out an average settlement amount for a slip and fall case is complex.
In truth, determining the amount of compensation you can recover will depend on:
- The extent and the severity of your injuries
- The medical care you will need now and in the future
- The impact these injuries had on your life
- Whether a permanent disability results from the accident
- The culpability of the defendant
- The credibility of the evidence and witnesses presented
- The number of economic losses you sustained following the accident, including lost wages
- The ability to work following the accident
- The incidental losses
Yet, while an attorney cannot guarantee you compensation following this accident, they can review these factors, figure out which of them can impact your case, and prepare the strongest legal arguments in response to them as they fight for the financial recovery that you deserve.
What Can You Do to Overcome the Challenges in Slip and Fall Cases?
Slip and fall accidents are not only physically and emotionally taxing, but depending on the harm that results, they can become a substantial financial burden on you and your family. That is why it can be so devastating to find out that the chance of winning your case is slim.
Thankfully, there are things you can do after this accident that can not only keep you safe but protect your legal rights and help you go after the compensation you deserve:
Get Medical Help
Following a slip and fall accident, if you suffered significant injuries, you should call 911 right away. Not only will this be the quickest way to alert medical personnel and the police of your accident and injuries, but it will also be the fastest way to get your accident on record.
Once the police arrive at the scene and investigate the incident, they can jot down their findings in their police report, which can provide your attorney with valuable information if you decide to pursue a legal claim against the wrongful party.
However, if your injuries appear minor, you should still get to a doctor immediately. This is because certain injuries, such as brain trauma, may take some time to manifest, but the longer you wait for a medical checkup, the more serious it can become. Plus, by not getting this treatment, the insurance company or the other side will try to argue that your injuries are not that severe or a result of a subsequent event and use it to deny your claim.
When you get to a doctor after the incident, they can provide you with a medical report that will not only explain the extent of your trauma but also provide your lawyer with evidence of a direct link between the harm you suffered and the slip and fall accident.
File a Report
After a slip and fall accident, you will want to inform the property owner about your accident immediately. You may also have to fill out a report detailing the accident if it happened in a business establishment.
Just remember, as you prepare this report, make sure you provide as much detail about what happened as possible. If disputes arise down the road regarding the accident, this report can play a major role in proving liability.
Take Photos and Gather Evidence
Take as many photos or videos of the accident scene as you can, including pictures of:
- The hazardous condition that caused the accident
- Your visible injuries
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Other things that can help show what happened
In addition, try to gather all the bills and receipts related to the accident and your injuries. Your lawyer can use these bills, along with the medical and police report, to show proof of harm and the damages you sustained because of the accident.
Check for Witnesses
If anyone at the scene saw the slip and fall, try to get their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. These individuals can often provide your attorney with further details regarding the incident and offer testimony that can help to substantiate your case.
Yet, as you talk to these individuals and others after the accident, watch what you say. Your statements can come back later to hurt you. That is why it is best to avoid making any definitive comments about the incident, apologizing for what happened, or taking any of the blame.
How Can an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney Help You Following a Slip and Fall Accident?
Even though property owners owe an obligation to their visitors to keep their property and land safe, not every owner or property manager will fulfill these obligations. As a result, every day, another innocent person suffers devastating injuries and astronomical medical bills that forever change their life.
Fortunately, after this accident, you do not have to endure these catastrophic repercussions on your own. With an experienced slip and fall attorney on your side, you can get the legal help you need to take on this complex legal claim and fight for the financial damages you deserve.
Once you hire these lawyers, they can:
- Discuss your slip and fall accident in detail, evaluate your case, and determine if you have a valid legal claim.
- Figure out the legal options you can pursue.
- Answer all your questions and concerns and provide the legal support you need during this demanding time.
- Investigate the slip and fall incident, analyze what happened, and obtain the evidence needed to prove fault and damages.
- Hold all the wrongful parties accountable for the harm and losses you suffered.
- Hire experts to validate your claim, including flooring specialists, health care professionals, engineers, and accident reconstructionists.
- Handle the settlement negotiations with the insurer and fight for the settlement offer you deserve.
- Head to trial and go after maximum compensation if the other side will not pay you the money you deserve.
If you or a loved one sustained severe injuries in a slip and fall accident, do not go through this tragic experience alone. Instead, contact a knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer today for a free case evaluation and find out how they can take on these challenging legal claims and fight for your rights.