Holding a property owner or manager accountable for injuries sustained in a slip and fall can require a lot of preparation. In particular, it requires extensive evidence from multiple sources and a compelling presentation of that evidence during settlement negotiations or a civil court hearing. In both respects, it is crucial for prospective plaintiffs to know what to expect from each stage of their legal proceedings, as well as what the defendant(s) and the legal authorities overseeing it will be expecting to see.
Knowing what to look for when filing a slip and fall case is often a key first step to maximizing your chances of a favorable final outcome. The following are a few specific things for claimants to keep in mind. A slip and fall lawyer could discuss them in more detail and provide irreplaceable assistance with assembling the case.
Evidence of Negligence by a Property Manager or Owner
The most important element of almost any slip and fall claim is the presence of negligence by the defendant. Even if a sudden fall caused serious injuries that will last for months or years afterwards, an injured individual might have no grounds for litigation if they cannot prove that reckless or careless property management was the primary cause of their accident.
The immediate area around where a trip and fall occurred is a good place to start. As much as they are able, plaintiffs should look for things like wet floor signs, roped-off areas, and other signs that someone responsible for managing the property in question was aware of a hazard that could pose a risk to visitors. It might be helpful to look in non-obvious places as well. For example, if a puddle on the floor stems from an untreated leak in the ceiling, that could be a clear sign of property owner negligence.
Contributing Factors from Inside and Outside
Determining what smaller hazards could have contributed to causing a slip and fall is often just as important as determining the main factor responsible for the incident. For instance, if a court decides that a person’s inappropriate footwear was partially to blame for them slipping on an unmarked spill in a store aisle, that injured plaintiff could miss out on much-needed financial restitution due to their contributory negligence.
Identifying what the weather conditions were like outside of where a fall occurred can be key to building the strongest slip and fall case possible. That can include whether there was clutter or other obstacles nearby, and how heavily trafficked the area was at the time. In the latter context, crowded areas might also mean more chances that someone else witnessed an accident occur and could provide testimony on a plaintiff’s behalf supporting their pursuit of compensation.
Medical Records for Care Sought Afterwards
Anyone seeking restitution for a slipping or tripping accident absolutely must have comprehensive medical documentation about what injuries they sustained. If a court suspects that a plaintiff’s injuries predated their accident or that they are exaggerating the harm they suffered, their chances of fair recovery could be close to zero.
Once retained, a knowledgeable legal professional could help with collecting relevant records and possibly even soliciting testimony from medical experts about the extent of a plaintiff’s injuries. Call today to learn more about how a seasoned slip and fall attorney could help in your unique situation.