(US law and generally) The number of slip and fall incidents appears to be on the rise. The National Floor Safety Institute recently advised that the restaurant and food service industry spends more than $2billion as a result of this type of injury. We look at how to prove negligence and win your case when you make a claim.
The Case For A Claim
Many consider that slip and fall cases are straightforward and easy to prove but in reality that is not how it is. The hard truth is that a good number of claims are simply not viable either due to problems in proving negligence or lack of damages. That is the key to success, providing strong evidence of the defendants negligence will be the gauge to a successful claim, the stronger the evidence the stronger the claim.
What the Law Says
The Laws that we are governed by basically state that everyone has a duty of care to watch where they are walking. This is the doctrine of comparative negligence and will be the rule that is applied to most slip and fall cases. For example, if someone falls or trips as a result of pre-existing defective condition the injured person will probably be found to have contributed to their own injury.
The vital factor in a successful claim is if the plaintiff’s negligence exceeds the defendants own level of negligence then there is cause for a claim.
Causes Of Slip And Fall Claims
The aforementioned defense is very often raised in almost every legal claim so the attorney acting for the plaintiff has to overcome this obstacle with strong evidence, and the stronger the better. Here are some of the common causes of slip and fall claims –
- Holes or gaps not properly signed or cordoned off
- Broken concrete or paving slabs
- Food or liquid spillage left unattended
- Debris left in dangerous position
- Lack of proper slip resistance material in vulnerable areas
There are many places that a serious injury can occur from shopping malls to construction sites and every case is of course different and the level of claim is dictated by the severity of the injury sustained. In general there are a number of key points that have to be proved if a claim is to be successful. They are –
- The owner of the property owed the plaintiff a duty of care but the owner breached that duty of care by committing some sort of act of negligence that can be proven.
- The plaintiff has to prove that the act of negligence was the actual cause of their injury and that suffered damage as a result of this.
These cases can be proven and successfully won if you can demonstrate that the defendant failed to take reasonable steps in order to protect their employees of customers. Areas to concentrate on when making a claim are a lack of suitable warning notices, a lack of documentation showing a regular cleaning or maintenance schedule and any related evidence that clearly suggests that the defendant failed to take reasonable steps to deal with a potentially dangerous or hazardous situation.
Making a successful claim for a slip and fall injury is all about being fully prepared with supporting documentation and evidence such as photographic details, so that a positive outcome can be achieved as swiftly as possible for the plaintiff.
Guest post contributed by Max Cooper on behalf of the Injury-Settlement-Guide.com – read more about parental liability. Max is a freelance writer who has worked extensively as an attorney in the insurance industry. His articles appear on legal blogs.