Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents

slip and fall accident

After sustaining injuries in a slip and fall incident, you may be wondering what you need to do to recover for your damages. Although your situation may seem like an open and shut case, proving liability may be more difficult than you realize. That’s because, in slip and fall cases, you must prove that the other side is responsible for your fall. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, this can prove to be much more difficult than anticipated.

If you are facing questions of liability in your case, it’s important to understand how the law applies to your situation. This awareness can offer insight into both your case and the process of proving liability in a slip and fall claim. It’s also important to remember that you must prove liability in order to collect the compensation you need to recover. Here’s what you need to know about establishing liability in slip and fall accidents.

What Do I Have to Prove to Win My Case?

To win a slip and fall accident case, you must prove that the other side acted negligently. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another person. Negligence means a lack of appropriate care considering all the facts of the case.

Each person and corporate entity have a duty to go about their business in a way that does not pose an unreasonable risk to others. In the case of a slip and fall, that might mean taking care not to create a danger. It might also mean taking precautions to notice and fix a danger before it causes an injury. To win your case, you must prove that the other side breached their duty to act with reasonable care in a way that resulted in your injury.

The Standard is Reasonableness

The jury looks at what is reasonable under the circumstances to decide if the other side was negligent. For example, say you’re hurt because you slip on a water spill in the lobby of a hotel. You are able to prove that the water was on the floor of the hotel lobby for two hours before your injury occurred and there were no caution signs. The jury might decide that it was unreasonable for the business not to conduct hourly inspections to ensure safety for all patrons.

On the other hand, if you’re hurt because of a puddle of water near the hotel pool, the jury might decide that it was reasonable for the hotel not to notice or clear the spill. The jury might say that you should expect water near the hotel pool and should be more careful. It is up to the jury to decide if the other party showed an unreasonable lack of care in a way that resulted in your damages.

Business Owners Have High Standards

Florida law holds business owners to a high standard. Business owners are required to inspect their property for possible dangerous situations and correct the dangers promptly. If the danger that results in your injury is something that a business owner could discover and fix by doing regular inspections of the property, the business may fail in its duties to act reasonably and carefully.

Examples of Negligence

Any of the following may be examples of negligence that results in a slip and fall:

  • Water on a surface that results in a slip
  • A fallen tree on a walkway
  • Maintenance equipment that’s left on a sidewalk
  • Failing to fix a broken or uneven walkway
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Putting store displays too close together
  • Not having sufficient handrails on stairways
  • Failing to train employees to respond adequately to security issues
  • Placing signs or products where someone could trip
  • Allowing too many people in a space at one time

How Do I Prove Negligence?

Even if you think you know that the other side acted negligently, you must prove your case to a jury’s satisfaction. There are a variety of things you can do to gather evidence to support your argument. If you’re able to take photos of the accident scene, that’s a great start. If not, you can demand that the other party preserve and produce copies of security videos. You can also request to inspect the property to take pictures after the fact.

Related: Types of Evidence You Will Need for a Personal Injury Case

Your attorney can prepare paperwork to demand copies of cleaning and maintenance logs. Records of employee training may also be helpful. Depending on whether your case hinges on the actions of an employee, you may use hiring, firing, and discipline records to prove that an employee wasn’t fit to keep the property safe.

You may also demonstrate that there weren’t enough people working at the time to keep the property safe. Even if you don’t have your hands on these pieces of evidence when your case begins, your attorney has ways to demand that the other side produce the evidence that exists in the case.

What Kinds of Defenses Should I Watch Out For?

There are a few defenses that you should be aware of as you set out to prove liability in a slip and fall case. The other side might try to say that you contributed to your injuries. For example, they might say that you were running in a place where it was inappropriate.

If you share partial fault for the injury, it’s called comparative negligence. If you contribute to the injury, it can reduce or even completely bar your recovery, so it’s common for the defense to claim that you had something to do with your injuries.

They may also claim that your version of the events isn’t correct. If they agree with your version of events, they might try to say that they had a good reason for their actions. Also, they might claim that your injuries didn’t result from the slip and fall. Whatever the defense, your attorney can help you prepare the evidence to show the jury the truth.

Winning Your Slip and Fall Case

It’s important to remember that getting a fair recovery in a slip and fall case is a matter of proving your case. This means understanding what you will need to prove liability, and working with an established attorney to use evidence to support your claims. Although slip and fall accidents include additional considerations, with the right help, you can get the compensation you need to recover fully from your injuries.

Finding the right Tampa slip and fall attorney should be a priority when starting your case. The experts at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys can help you determine what evidence you will need to show negligence and evaluate how the other side’s negligence played a role in your injury. If you need help navigating the requirements of bringing a slip and fall case, call Jack Bernstein at (813) 333-6666 to schedule your free consultation today. There is no fee unless we win.

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