Slip and falls happen more often than you think. Only when you are the victim, you find yourself in a flurry of confusion, physical pain, and compounding medical bills. You know that you were injured, but you worry that the other party will try to say you were at fault for the incident. After all, how can you prove that you slipped and fell on a surface accidentally and that your injuries are legitimate?
These concerns are nothing new for victims of slips, trips, and falls. While a slip and fall accident might be slightly more difficult to prove than a motor vehicle accident, they are not impossible. Therefore, if you have been injured in a slip and fall, consult with an attorney and explore your options for a claim.
To understand what makes these cases more difficult, you must first explore the elements of a slip and fall case – and the theories of negligence behind this type of injury claim.
The Theories of Liability in a Slip and Fall Savannah, GA Case
To hold a party responsible for your slip and fall, you must prove one of the following theories:
- The property owner should have recognized the danger. One theory holds property owners responsible for slip and falls stating that they should have known there was a hazard and corrected it. The question here, however, is how another reasonable person would have acted in the same situation, and if there was adequate time for the property owner to respond. If a hazard presents itself and the accident occurs minutes later, the courts might assume that a reasonable person would not have enough time to prevent the incident.
- The property owner caused the danger. In some cases, the property owner creates the hazard that causes your accident. For example, the property owner left an obstacle within a walking path knowing that someone could trip and fall on it. If you can show it was reasonable to foresee an accident, you can prove the owner was negligence.
Proving Negligence and Establishing Liability
Two terms you hear in an injury case are negligence and liability. These are not the same but work together to demonstrate responsibility. Negligence refers to the person’s breach of duty, while liability is what determines who pays for the injuries. You cannot prove liability without first establishing negligence.
The Four Important Elements
Slip and fall cases often fail when the plaintiff (the victim) is unprepared or tries to file a lawsuit without professional assistance. You have four elements you must prove in a slip and fall case to succeed – and these four elements are not always as easy to prove as you might assume.
- The duty of the defendant. You must show that the defendant, which is the owner of the property, manager, or another party that is liable, had a responsibility to maintain the condition of that property, detect and correct hazards, and keep the premises safe. If you cannot show that the defendant did not owe you a duty of care, then you have no case.
- The notice factors. Next, you must show that the defendant knew or should have known about the potential hazard on their property. This is by far one of the more critical elements to establish in this type of case. An attorney will ask experts to testify about industrial practices especially regarding inspection and maintenance of the property. Also, they may have experts testify about possible prevention procedures that should have been done – which would have corrected the hazardous condition. When you can show the defendant knew about the hazard but ignored it or did not act appropriately, you have established notice.
- The dangerous condition was not minor. Next, you must show that a dangerous situation was present at your injury. This is easier said than done. You must show that the defendant knew or should have known, but also that they could have taken steps to correct that dangerous condition and did not – which creates the unreasonable hazard. Furthermore, you must show that the condition was significantly dangerous enough to cause your injuries. A minor defect, such as wear and tear that does not pose a serious health or safety threat is not a potential “harm” that needs immediate correction.
- The damages correlate to the injury and incident. Lastly, you must show that you have losses because of your injuries. Furthermore, you must link the injuries, event, and damages together. If your injuries stem from something not related to the accident, you would not be entitled to damages.
Proving You Did Not Cause the Accident
The most significant hurdle in a slip and fall case is showing that you did not cause the injury yourself. Slip and fall cases are notoriously exploited, and today they have a stigma for being false injury claims. While you might have suffered a legitimate injury, you now are burdened with the task of showing that you did not purposely slip and fall to get compensation.
If you are partially at fault, you may still be eligible for compensation, but your compensation amount would be reduced by the amount of responsibility you contributed. The insurance company will often try to put some of the “fault” on the victim to lower their costs, but with the help of a qualified attorney, you can combat this known strategy.
Injured in a Slip and Fall? Speak with an Injury Advocate
Even if you think your case is straightforward, it could be in your best interest to consult with an injury advocate. An attorney is often free of charge and no obligation to you unless they secure compensation in your case.
After you have notified the proper parties and sought medical attention, you should contact attorney Clarke Nash. Clarke has years of experience helping injury victims just like you with their slip and fall cases – and he can help you too.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today at 912-200-5292.