When property owners fail to maintain their premises safely and carefully, slip and fall accidents can lead to severe injuries. Is it hard to win a slip and fall case? In a slip-and-fall case, proving your entitlement to damages can sometimes be an uphill battle. However, a knowledgeable slip-and-fall accident lawyer in your area can help you introduce the evidence necessary to win your case and recover monetary compensation.
There is no disputing that slip and fall accidents can lead to severe injuries. Therefore, you should file a report with the property owner or their agent as soon as possible after your accident. Next, you should seek same-day medical treatment at a local hospital or urgent care facility. Finally, you should talk with a lawyer who can explain your legal rights and options and help you decide on the best course of action for your slip-and-fall case.
Once you retain a lawyer to represent you, they can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim for damages. Assuming you qualify, your lawyer can file the claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf and pursue a fair settlement.
If the insurance company disputes fault for your accident or will not offer you the compensation you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing. Your Edmonton slip and fall lawyer will do everything possible to maximize the damages you recover for your slip and fall injuries.
Common Locations for Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can occur just about anywhere individuals are present, both indoors and outdoors. Some of the most common locations for slip-and-fall accidents include staircases, bathrooms, grocery stores, restaurants, parking lots, and parking garages.
Indoor slip and fall accidents typically occur when premises owners fail to maintain their floors in a reasonably safe condition. They may not promptly clean up a spill or allow the floor to become wet. At other times, a premises owner may not place the proper warning placards in the vicinity to inform others of potential dangers. On the other hand, outdoor slip and fall accidents usually result from defective concrete and macadam, such as on sidewalks. They may also happen when premises owners fail to promptly remove snow and ice from parking lots and garages.
You have legal rights available if you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in one of these areas. Your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and, if you are eligible, file an injury claim on your behalf with the property owner’s insurance company.
The Burden of Proof in a Slip and Fall Accident Case
In slip and fall cases, as in all personal injury cases, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. This means that to recover monetary compensation, they must establish every legal element in the case. On the other hand, the at-fault property owner does not need to prove anything.
First, the accident victim must demonstrate that the property owner owes them a duty of care under the circumstances. The duty of care that a premises owner owes to a property visitor depends upon the visitor’s status on the land. In many cases, the property visitor is a business invitee—such as a customer at a store, shopping center, or restaurant.
Premises owners owe business invitees the highest possible duty of care. Specifically, they must regularly inspect their premises for both known and unknown dangerous conditions which might exist. If they uncover a hazardous condition, they have a duty to either warn about it or repair it within a reasonable period. If the premises owner fails to take these measures—and a slip and fall accident occurs—they and their insurance companies can be responsible for the injuries.
Premises owners also owe a duty of care to licensees or social guests. These individuals are on someone else’s property for their own benefit, as opposed to benefiting the property owner. Property owners owe a similar duty of care to their social guests as they do their business invitees. Specifically, they must regularly check their property for unknown dangerous conditions and warn about or repair a condition if they find one.
Finally, in most instances, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers or individuals who have no legal right to be present on the property. However, if the trespasser is a “known trespasser,” such as a child, the property owner may owe some duty of reasonable care.
In addition to establishing that a property owner owes the visitor a duty of care, the slip and fall victim must show that the owner violated that duty. Specifically, the owner must have failed to make the necessary repairs or warn about the dangerous condition within a reasonable time. The accident victim must also demonstrate that this standard of care violation caused the slip and fall accident.
Finally, the accident victim must demonstrate that they suffered at least one injury in their slip and fall accident—and that their injury directly resulted from the accident. To establish this causal relationship, the accident victim may need to introduce medical records or testimony from a qualified healthcare provider.
The provider must willingly state in writing or testify in court—to a reasonable degree of medical certainty—that the claimed injury or injuries resulted directly from the slip and fall accident. The medical provider may also state that a particular injury is permanent or unlikely to resolve and become asymptomatic over time. Slip and fall accident victims who sustain permanent injuries may experience pain and other symptoms for the rest of their life.
A knowledgeable slip-and-fall lawyer in your area can help you establish these legal elements to recover the damages you deserve for your injuries.
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Essential Steps to Take Following a Slip and Fall
If you suffered injuries in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, there are specific steps you should take immediately. First, you should report the incident to a store/property manager on duty and insist they prepare an incident report. The incident report should detail exactly what happened, including how you fell and the injuries you believe you suffered.
If anyone else witnessed the accident, you should speak with them and obtain their contact information in the event your lawyer needs to discuss the incident with them later. Finally, you should get copies of all incident reports and eyewitness statements that others prepared.
Moreover, at the incident scene, you should take photographs of any premises defects, including concrete cracks/falling, spills on the floor, or dripping water overhead. You should also photograph warning placards if any are present.
As soon as possible after the incident, you should go to a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility for treatment. The medical provider on duty there can thoroughly examine you and order all necessary MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans to accurately diagnose your medical condition. If you need to undergo surgery or other procedure, you can do so while you are at the emergency facility.
In addition, you should talk to a knowledgeable slip-and-fall accident lawyer as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the accident, the injuries you suffered, and your claim-filing eligibility.
Helpful Evidence for Proving Your Slip and Fall Case
Proving the legal elements of a slip-and-fall accident case—and winning the case—is sometimes difficult. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can obtain the necessary documents and other evidence to increase your likelihood of success.
First, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist who can go to the scene, take pictures, review incident reports, speak with eyewitnesses, and determine how the incident likely occurred. An accident reconstructionist may also prepare a detailed report which they can authenticate on the witness stand at trial. When that happens, the report may come into evidence, and the jury can review it when deliberating on the case.
In addition to retaining an expert, your lawyer can obtain camera footage from a business where the slip and fall accident happened. Many businesses have both indoor and outdoor cameras that record footage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If the video footage shows the events leading up to the accident, as well as the accident itself, it may become valuable evidence when proving that the business was at fault.
Moreover, your lawyer can retain copies of any police or investigation report prepared after the accident, along with copies of eyewitness statements. Eyewitnesses can be extremely helpful in slip-and-fall accident cases, especially where the insurance company disputes liability. This is because eyewitnesses do not have a personal or financial stake in the case outcome. Therefore, they can testify about their observations leading up to and during the slip and fall occurrence.
Any of these pieces of evidence may be helpful when it comes to proving fault, liability, and damages in a slip-and-fall accident case. Your lawyer can subpoena these documents so that they become available for review. Your lawyer can also subpoena store managers, eyewitnesses, and other individuals to testify at trial in support of your case.
Common Injuries in Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can cause many injuries that require prompt, and sometimes ongoing, medical treatment and physical therapy. In addition to following up at a local hospital emergency room, the accident victim may need to undergo a surgical procedure to fix a broken bone—and attend regular physical therapy sessions once the fracture heals.
Other common injuries in slip and fall accidents include spinal cord injuries—which may lead to paralysis—and traumatic head and brain injuries. These injuries are common when accident victims fall on their heads, neck, or back. In addition, some slip-and-fall victims sustain internal organ damage, cuts, abrasions, and even death.
If you suffered any of these injuries in a preventable slip and fall accident, you should seek medical treatment right away. This is true even if you are unsure whether you suffered a severe injury. Failing to seek same-day medical treatment after a slip and fall is also extremely risky since many injuries—especially traumatic head injuries—do not manifest symptoms right away. In fact, it may take days or even weeks for these injuries to become apparent. While you focus your attention on seeking medical treatment, your lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your personal injury claim.
Recovering Favourable Monetary Compensation for Your Slip-and-fall Injuries
The damages that slip and fall accident victims may recover depend upon various factors, including the nature and extent of their injuries, whether they had to miss work time, and whether or not they suffered a permanent injury in their accident. Some of the most common damages that slip and fall accident victims may recover include compensation for their lost wages, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, and pain and suffering.
If the accident victim had to undergo psychiatric or psychological treatment due to their injuries, they can recover damages for mental anguish and emotional distress. They may also make a claim for loss of the ability to use a body part if they suffered a permanent injury in their accident. Finally, slip and fall accident victims may recover damages for their loss of life enjoyment and loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
A skilled slip-and-fall accident lawyer in your area can determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover in your personal injury case. Your lawyer can then set about pursuing the total compensation you deserve.
Call an Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
Victims of slip and fall accidents are often unsure of what to do or where to turn.
A knowledgeable Edmonton personal injury lawyer can address all of your legal questions and begin advocating for you right away. If you’re eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, ensuring that you receive the total amount of compensation you deserve.
If the adjuster does not take your case seriously, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and, if necessary, take your case to court and pursue a favourable trial verdict.