Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common personal injury accidents in the nation, and they often result from the negligent actions (or inactions) of another party. Determining who is at fault and proving their negligence can be a challenge in some cases, but the following steps can help you maximize your chances of recovering damages.
Steps to Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents
To prove fault in a slip and fall accident, the following steps are crucial.
1. Collect Evidence
First of all, you want to collect as much evidence as you can from the site of the accident. Using your phone’s camera, snap pictures of the area, including where you fell, the hazards present, whether there were any signs up, and so forth.
You’ll also want accounts from others who saw the accident occur. Get their names and contact information in case you need to get in touch with them later on your case.
Finally, even if your injuries seem minor at first, set an appointment with your doctor. Their medical assessment of your condition can help you prove the nature and cause of your injury.
2. Determine Who is Responsible
When you have sufficient evidence, you’ll need to pin down who is actually responsible. At this point, if you haven’t contacted a personal injury attorney already, you should do so since they’ll help you narrow down who is liable.
Finding out who is liable can be a challenge. Often, it’s whoever owns the property where you were injured, but other parties may be involved, including on-site managers, business owners, third-party contractors, and so forth. Knowing the cause and location of your accident can help determine the liable party.
In some cases, you yourself may be partially at fault, such as if you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings. In those cases, comparative negligence laws may apply, potentially reducing the damages you’d be entitled to recover.
3. Demonstrate Negligence
Once you at least have an idea of who was at fault, you need to prove the following:
- They owed you a duty of care (such as making sure the area was safe for you).
- They failed in that duty (such as neglecting to resolve the hazard or putting up barriers).
- Their failure led to your injury.
The evidence you collect should help demonstrate those concepts. If it does not, you’ll have a harder time recovering damages.
Challenges in Proving Fault
Proving fault can be difficult if:
- There are multiple parties who might be responsible
- The evidence you collect leaves a lot of room for doubt
- You were partially at fault for your injury.
In some cases, it may come down to the defendant’s word against yours, which makes it difficult to recover damages for your injuries.
Mitigating and overcoming those challenges requires the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney. As such, as early on in the process as possible, you should hire a lawyer (such as us at Hart David Carson LLP) to represent you and guide you through the process.