Simply saying you slipped and hurt yourself on someone’s property is not enough. Premises liability claims take strong evidence, and often they are the subject of heavy scrutiny.
If you do not have adequate evidence, it is easier for the insurer or defendant to claim you caused the accident yourself, were reckless, or didn’t fall at all.
Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, including permanent disabilities. A person could strike their head on the hard pavement and suffer a TBI, or an older person who slips and falls on water might fracture a hip.
Due to the potential for high costs and losses for the victim, it is critical that anyone involved in these types of accidents knows how much evidence, and the kinds of evidence, they need to win their case and unlock the compensation they deserve.
What Evidence Can You Use to Prove Liability in a Ft. Lauderdale Slip and Fall Case?
A slip and fall case is composed of two elements: proving you were injured and showing the defendant was liable.
You can do this by:
Photographs or Videos of the Scene
If there are security cameras at the scene, you need a copy of the tapes – something your attorney can do for you. Videos will show the incident and the conditions that led to the accident.
Likewise, you want photographs of the scene. If you are too injured, ask a friend or family member to take them for you. However, you cannot wait long. The scene will change quickly, especially when a property owner knows that they might face a lawsuit.
For example, you claim that you slipped and fell on water and the owner did not properly remove the water even with ample time to do so. However, you return to the scene a few hours later to get photographs of the area, and the owner has now mopped up the area. You no longer have the water that you can document as proof of a dangerous condition.
Ideally, you should take out your smartphone and take as many photos as you can at the scene.
Likewise, you need photos of the actual injuries. You can take these at the scene or even the doctor’s office after the incident. While some injuries are apparent right away, like lacerations, bruises that indicate where you fell might not appear for 24 hours.
Write Down Your Personal Account
While it is your word against the owner’s, you still want to recall details accurately throughout the process. Therefore, write down your account of the accident as soon as possible – whether that means at the hospital or a few hours later.
It is common to forget details, even minor ones, just a few minutes after the event. And the longer you wait, the more you may forget or misinterpret.
Witness testimony is crucial too. It is someone’s account of the incident who has no financial stake in the outcome. Therefore, when a witness says that they saw you slip and fall, they are more credible than if you say it yourself.
At the scene, try to get the names and contact information of all witnesses present. Your attorney can follow up afterward for an official statement.
Proving Negligence Was at Play
Using the slip and fall on water as an example, you would need to show the owner was liable for the wet floor that caused your accident.
For example, it was a rainy day, the rain storms had stopped several hours before, and the property owner was there at the business. Therefore, they had ample time to correct the hazardous condition of water being tracked into their store, so it is reasonable to assume they should have known about the wet floor.
Evidence Required to Show Your Injuries Are Legitimate
You know what you need to show liability, but now you need evidence showing that you were genuinely injured. Some evidence that you can use for this includes:
- Medical Costs: All medical costs related to the injury, along with medical records, can directly tie the injury to the accident. Make sure when you go to the emergency room or see your physician that you tell them you were injured in an accident, so they take proper documentation.
- Proof of Wages: If you are claiming that you missed hours at work and requesting a specific amount for those wages, you need proof that you make that much. You can do so with past pay stubs, a letter from your employer, and your previous year tax return.
Hiring an Attorney Is Critical in Slip and Fall Cases
If you were seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, regardless of whether it was on private or commercial property, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney. An attorney will review the facts of your case, help collect evidence, and present that evidence to show to the court that, not only was the owner liable, but you suffered legitimate injuries.
Working with an attorney means you are more likely to get the compensation you need. In a slip and fall case, you might need a settlement that covers your medical costs, long-term care needs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and additional compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a slip and fall case, contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A., today. Our attorneys can assist you and discuss your rights over a free consultation. Call us now to schedule your appointment or request an interview online.