As its name suggests, a slip and fall is an accident that occurs when someone loses their footing and falls. These accidents may not sound serious, but they can lead to devastating injuries with long-term consequences. If you have been injured in a slip and fall that occurred on someone else’s property, you may have the right to obtain compensation for your injuries. But compensation is never guaranteed—especially in a slip and fall case. For this reason, it’s best to turn to an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney for legal representation.
Who can be held liable for your slip and fall injuries? What needs to be proven to win your case? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Who is Liable For Slip and Fall Injuries?
Slip and fall cases fall under the category of premises liability claims. Premises liability is a legal concept that requires property owners to make a reasonable effort to maintain safe conditions on their property. If a property owner does not maintain safe conditions and someone is injured as a result, the property owner can be held legally liable for the victim’s injuries.
What Elements Must Be Proven to Win A Slip and Fall Case?
Property owners are often held liable for slip and fall injuries. But this does not mean that property owners are automatically held liable for every slip and fall accident that occurs on their property.
The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff in a personal injury case. In other words, the victim must be able to prove that the property owner was liable in order to recover compensation. To hold the property owner liable—and recover compensation for your slip and fall injuries—you must be able to prove these elements:
- You were legally on the defendant’s property at the time of the accident.
- A hazardous condition existed on the defendant’s property.
- The defendant created, knew about, or should have known about the hazardous condition on their property, but did not do anything to fix it.
- You were injured as a result of the hazardous condition on the defendant’s property.
- You suffered damages due to your injuries.
If you can prove these elements, you can successfully recover compensation for your slip and fall injuries.
How Can A Slip and Fall Attorney Help You Prove Liability For Your Injuries?
Many slip and fall cases hinge on the plaintiff’s ability to prove that the defendant created, knew about, or should have known about the hazardous condition on their property. Proving this isn’t easy, which is why it’s important to be represented by an experienced premises liability attorney.
Your attorney will need to conduct an investigation into the accident to gather the evidence that is needed to prove liability. Many different types of evidence may be collected during this investigation to prove liability, including:
- Surveillance camera footage
- Testimony from witnesses
- Testimony from employees, customers, or other visitors to the property
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Medical records
- Accident reports
- Property inspection reports
- Maintenance records
This evidence may be used to prove that the property owner created, knew, or should have known about the hazardous condition on their property.
For example, say you slipped and fell on a grocery store’s wet floor, which was caused by a spill. During the investigation, a grocery store employee may reveal that another customer reported the spill to the owner prior to your accident. However, the owner failed to clean up the spill despite this report. This testimony could be used to prove liability by showing that the owner knew about the dangerous condition but failed to fix it.
But remember, the owner doesn’t necessarily need to know about a dangerous condition in order to be held liable. A property owner can be held liable if they should have known about the dangerous condition. Take another look at the grocery store example. Surveillance footage may reveal that the spill occurred several hours before your accident. The property owner was never directly informed of the spill. But because the hazardous condition existed for so long, the property owner should have known about the spill. Therefore, this evidence may be used to prove liability and win your case.
Can You Still Recover Compensation If You Were Partly At Fault For A Slip and Fall Accident?
Fault is often shared between the property owner and the victim in slip and fall cases. If you were partly to blame for the slip and fall accident, it’s important to understand that you are still entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, the amount of compensation you are awarded for your injuries will be reduced to account for the role you played in the accident.
For example, say the court rules that you were 20% at fault and the property owner was 80% at fault for the slip and fall accident. You suffered $100,000 in damages as a result of your slip and fall injuries. Your compensation will be reduced by 20% to account for your percentage of fault. So, you are still entitled to compensation for your injuries, but you will only receive $80,000 rather than the full $100,000.
Discuss Your Case With Our Experienced Premises Liability Attorneys Today
Have you been injured in a slip and fall that occurred on someone else’s property? If so, it’s in your best interest to speak to the skilled slip and fall attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett as soon as possible. It’s not easy to win a slip and fall case, but our attorneys have over 125 years of combined legal experience, so we know what it takes to recover compensation for our clients. Don’t take our word for it—our track record speaks for itself. We have successfully won over $115 million in compensation for the injured. Now, let us go to work for you so we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.