Establishing negligence is the most important element of premise liability cases — also known as slip and falls. There are four crucial factors that you and your legal team must prove to be true of the incident, injury, and surrounding circumstances. The four elements of negligence include duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and fall accidents account for more than 2 million claims per year. Only auto accidents are responsible for a greater number of claims. Because trials can be lengthy and entail certain risks, slip and fall personal injury claims usually don't make it to trial, with attorneys on both sides preferring to settle out of court. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury as the result of a slip and fall case, and you believe that another person or party may have acted with negligence, contact Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation.
Experienced South and Central Florida Personal injury attorney Justin Weinstein will provide you with professional legal guidance so that you can get the compensation you deserve. It's essential to act quickly. Delays can lead to a loss of evidence that can adversely impact your case.
Call Weinstein Legal to speak with attorney Justin Weinstein in a free consultation.
How to Prove Negligence
In order to receive compensation in the form of a legal settlement, you will need to prove that another person or organization behaved negligently with regard to your slip and fall case. This means that they had a duty of care for your safety at the time of the accident and through either action or lack of action failed in that duty. The result is that they are liable for your injury, and you may be entitled to a significant amount of money to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
There are four elements of negligence that must be met in personal injury cases. These elements include:
1. Duty of Care
Your attorney must first establish that the opposing party had a responsibility to ensure you remained safe at the time of the incident. It means that they had a legal obligation to protect your wellbeing. For example, the proprietor of a store must ensure that the pathways are clear of obstructions or slippery substances.
2. Breach of Duty
Next, your attorney must be able to demonstrate that the opposing party breached, or failed to uphold, that duty of care. This breach of duty could include a failure to act, improper action, omission, and more, that results in undue risk to you. An example of a breach of duty could include a shopkeeper who is aware that a patron spilled motor oil on a tiled floor, and didn't clean it up or post signage warning patrons of the spill.
The third essential element in a slip and fall case is to prove that the breach of duty was the cause of the accident and subsequent injuries. Having an accident in the vicinity of a hazard is not necessarily grounds for a personal injury claim. If a business owner, for instance, is aware of a hazard, does nothing about it, and that lack of action results in an injury-causing accident, your attorney may be able to establish causation.
In order to have a claim, your attorney must be able to show that you, as the accident victim, have suffered damages. Damages can include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are direct costs to the plaintiff and include items like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, additional care, etc. Non-economic damages are also referred to as pain and suffering. These include loss of capacity, physical pain, emotional trauma, and more.
As an accident victim, you should not have to fight for the money you're owed. The personal injury claims process can be tedious, and you lack the legal expertise necessary to get a full settlement. This is why it's essential to have a South and Central Florida slip and fall lawyer working diligently on your case. An attorney can help with the more laborious and confusing portions of gathering evidence and documentation and can help ensure that you have all of the items you need to present to an insurance company, legal team, or in a court of law. Allow the legal team at Weinstein Legal to handle your case. Weinstein Legal works on a contingency basis, which means they are only paid upon the successful conclusion of your case.
Hazardous and Dangerous Conditions on a Property
Premise owners and custodians who knew or should have known about hazardous conditions on their property can be held accountable for slips and falls and other accidental injuries. These are a few common examples of these conditions:
- Water or liquid accumulations, such as from spills, leaks, and storms
- Ice or snow accumulations in walking areas
- Raised, cracked, or damaged sidewalks and pavement, including parking lots
- Abrupt changes in flooring, such as unmarked steps, changes in material, and more
- Poor lighting or areas of darkness
- Hidden hazards such as holes in the ground
- Broken steps
- Broken or missing handrails
- Falling items
Evidence in Slip and Fall Cases
It may seem like your slip and fall negligence case is your word versus theirs, which can be frustrating. However, there are a few common forms of evidence that personal injury attorneys present to further these cases. Having an aggressive lawyer fighting on your behalf can be extremely beneficial in this regard, as they will work tirelessly to gather as much supporting evidence as possible.
Common forms of evidence in slip and fall cases include:
- Eyewitness testimony from other employees or guests present at the time of your accident
- Surveillance footage of the incident
- Photos from the scene of the accident
- Medical reports and medical bills
- Expert testimony provided by your doctors and treating physicians regarding the extent of your injuries as well as your prognosis
- Receipts for medical costs and items such as childcare
- Labor documentation, such as FMLA paperwork that outlines your lost wages and absence from work
Read more about the benefit of hiring an attorney for a personal injury investigation here.
Steps to Take Following a Slip and Fall Injury
If you've been in an accident, you may be the best source of evidence. In premise liability cases, in particular, there is a great deal of physical evidence. The following checklist may help you preserve evidence and bolster your case:
- Call 911 and request medical help.
- Allow rescue workers to examine you, and if necessary, transport you to the hospital. Keep all medical records and receipts.
- Take pictures or videos of the accident scene. Include images of your injuries.
- Note the locations of video surveillance cameras.
- Ask to speak to the manager or proprietor and inform them of the accident. Ask for a copy of the incident report.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer who represents slip and fall accident victims.
Get Your Free Slip and Fall Case Evaluation Today
If you or a loved one sustain an injury in a slip and fall accident and believe that another entity may be liable, contact the team at Weinstein Legal today. You may be entitled to significant compensation, but time is of the essence when it comes to personal injury claims. You must act quickly to secure your best chances in a court of law.
Call Justin Weinstein at Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation. He will review the facts surrounding your accident and estimate how much your claim may be worth. Mr. Weinstein will work diligently to maximize your settlement, never letting insurance companies take advantage of you. Get the compensation you're entitled to; call Weinstein Legal 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (954)845-0505.