Imagine that you slip and fall at your place of employment and sustain a nasty injury like a fracture or concussion. It’s obvious to you that the hazardous conditions that caused your slip were due to your employer’s negligence. But how can you prove your case in court? Many victims of employer negligence know they have a case, but aren’t sure what kinds of evidence they need to present it effectively. Below, I’ll discuss how to assess the types of evidence you need, as well as when a slip and fall lawyer serving Northern New Jersey could be important to your case.
What You’re Trying to Prove
The types of evidence that will be most useful to your slip and fall case depend on the circumstances. It can be useful to work backward, and start by understanding New Jersey law, and what you need to prove to win your case.
As any Northern New Jersey slip and fall lawyer will tell you, a personal injury case must satisfy several criteria in order to succeed. Here is a brief overview of exactly what you’re trying to establish with your evidence:
- Proof of hazardous conditions: In a slip and fall case, you must establish that the premises were hazardous. This includes evidence of whatever caused your fall, such as an icy sidewalk or objects in a walkway.
- Proof of negligence: You must also establish that the defendant (AKA, the property or business owner) was negligent regarding the conditions. This could include failure to warn customers about a slippery floor or a failure to fix a hazardous situation in a timely manner.
- Proof that negligence led to injuries and damages: This may seem intuitive, but to win any slip and fall case, it must be clear that the hazardous conditions led to specific injuries that resulted in the damages you are requesting compensation for, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
- Proof that you weren’t negligent: Additionally, you must prove that the accident wasn’t entirely your fault. Keep in mind that New Jersey is a contributory negligence state. This means that even if you were partly at fault, if the negligence of the defendant is deemed greater, you may still collect remuneration.
Understanding exactly what you’re trying to prove should help you better assess the types of evidence you will need to prove your case. If you have questions about this, get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates for a free consultation at 1-800-NOW-HURT.
Types of Evidence
There is a wide range of evidence types, but the more you can collect to satisfy the criteria above, the better. The main types of evidence are:
- Medical Records: One of the strongest ways to establish that your slip and fall led to specific injuries and damages is to keep all records of your medical treatment. Be sure to seek medical attention immediately; this will help establish clearly that the injuries sustained in the fall led to specific damages.
Furthermore, what may seem like a small injury can lead to bigger problems later or chronic suffering, so it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Also be sure to keep any records, including bills, appointment documentation, treatment plans, or prescriptions.
- Video Camera Footage: This is often the most useful type of evidence in a slip and fall case, and with the recent availability of inexpensive security cameras, there is often video security footage for cases that take place in every imaginable location, including private residences.
What if the business or homeowner doesn’t have cameras on site? You aren’t necessarily without recourse. You may even be able to find footage from nearby businesses or local law enforcement agencies that provide traffic cameras or general surveillance in public spaces.
- Cell Phone Footage and Photographs: If you’re ever in a slip and fall case, be sure to document the conditions yourself with cell phone photographs and videos. Someone nearby may have even incidentally captured your accident on a cell phone video. As you take photos, capture the hazardous conditions from a variety of angles.
- Witness Statements: Statements from those at the scene are often used in all kinds of personal injury claims, including slip and falls. In the absence of video camera footage, they can often serve as effective evidence of hazardous conditions. Statements should be collected regardless, as they will help contribute to a preponderance of evidence, and video footage may not always be conclusive or comprehensive.
- Business SOPs and Other Documentation: This is one piece of evidence that Northern New Jersey slip and fall attorneys often see their clients miss. If you’re injured at a business, one of the best ways to prove negligence is to show that certain standard practices weren’t being performed.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are documents that detail these standard practices, including safety procedures. If these procedures existed but weren’t followed, and the issue led to your injuries, it would be strong evidence of negligence on the part of a defendant.
How an Attorney Can Help
In many personal injury cases, the evidence is in the defendant’s possession, including business records and security footage. To secure the evidence, you will need a slip and fall attorney in Northern New Jersey to submit a letter of spoliation. This official document informs the defendant of pending legal action and requires them to preserve any potential evidence for the case.
In addition to this, an attorney can use the evidence you have collected to make a strong argument supporting your case. At Buttafuoco & Associates, we have handled countless slip and fall cases over the years, and have the experience to leverage your evidence for the best possible outcome in court.
To find out more about how we can help, call today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.