How Do You Prove Fault in Slip and Fall Accident?
Proving fault in a slip and fall accident is often not easy. In many cases, the property owner and the victim may both share some liability. However, property owners have a duty of care to keep their premises safe, and they must also remedy any dangerous conditions.
The New York City slip and fall lawyers at Douglas and London will investigate your case thoroughly and can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Most cases are settled, but we will head to trial if a reasonable settlement is not reached.
As in any personal injury lawsuit, good evidence is critical when it comes to proving liability. That is why the injured party should, if able, take photos and videos of the accident scene immediately. It’s important to document any circumstances that may have contributed to the fall, such as torn carpeting, broken pavement, uneven stairs, or even ice and snow.
If the person is too badly hurt to collect evidence, they should ask a friend or relative to get to the scene as soon as possible to take photos and videos.
If there are no accident-scene photos, the property owner can repair or replace the item causing the slip, making it harder to prove fault.
If possible, the victim should write down or record what happened right away, while the memory is still fresh. These recollections can help in proving fault in a premises liability lawsuit.
The property owner’s insurance company will likely take the position that the fall was due to an error on the victim’s part. They may allege distraction if the victim was on the phone at the time and not paying attention to where they were walking. Perhaps the victim’s footwear was not appropriate for the site or played a role in the accident.
The insurance company will also want to know whether the injured person had a legitimate reason to walk through the area where the slip occurred. Depending on the situation, the insurer may also allege that a reasonable person would have recognized the hazard and avoided it.
As noted, circumstances regarding fault in slip and fall accidents are not always clear-cut. Rather than prove the property owner was 100 percent at fault, very often, it is sufficient to show that the overwhelming percentage of fault lies with the owner. Perhaps the evidence will prove 80 percent on them and 20 percent on the victim. However, if the victim is more than 50 percent at fault, there is no case.
Property owners should inspect their premises regularly to see if any potentially hazardous conditions exist. If found, they must remedy these conditions within a “reasonable” amount of time. Reasonable is a key term when it comes to proving fault.
For example, if a person slips and falls on a wet floor– with no warning signage, the business owner is likely at fault. However, if a person slips on a wet floor because another customer just spilled a bottle of water, the business owner is not at fault.
If someone trips and falls because of an object left in a passageway, fault may rest on whether there was a good reason the item was there in the first place. Other factors may include whether the lighting in the area was sufficient for a reasonable person to see the object before tripping on it.
Contact a New York Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you or someone you know was injured in a slip and fall accident due to another party’s negligence, contact the experienced New York City personal injury lawyers at Douglas and London. Schedule a free consultation by submitting our online form or call or text us 24/7. We will evaluate your case and let you know whether there is a valid slip and fall claim. Our dedicated lawyers have recovered more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients.