If you happen to slip and fall in a public space, such as a store or a restaurant, the owners can be held liable. Even on private property, responsibility falls to the owner or landlord to keep a reasonably safe environment, free of hazards that could lead to falls and, therefore, serious injuries. While it may be true that the property owner is liable, in order to have a strong case, solid evidence is absolutely essential.
In this article, I’ll detail the very real dangers of slip and fall and brief you on the evidence your Northern New Jersey slip and fall lawyer must present in court in order to recover the compensation you deserve. While this guide covers the basics, remember that every case is different. When in doubt, reach out to Buttafuoco & Associates to discuss the specifics and find out more about your legal rights.
Dangers of a Slip and Fall
Like I said, falls have serious consequences more often than you might think. According to the CDC, one-in-five falls results in a serious injury, such as a broken bone, head injury, or a neck and back injury.
Older adults have an even higher risk of serious injuries due to falls. In fact, 95% of all hip fractures are the result of falls, and falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are over 2 million emergency room admissions each year of adults 65 and older for serious injuries due to falls, and the number continues to rise. These ER visits cost, on average, $30,000. What’s worse, not only can these injuries be expensive, but they are also often deadly.
Evidence You’ll Need
In any slip and fall case there are certain kinds of evidence that a slip and fall lawyer serving Northern New Jersey will need to ensure your success, and therefore the compensation that you’re entitled to.
Evidence of Hazardous Conditions: The first thing you must do in a slip and fall case is prove that hazardous conditions led to your fall. This is arguably the most important part of this type of case. If you’ve been in a car accident in the age of the smartphone, you probably immediately took pictures of the vehicles and the environment to accurately document the event. In the case of a slip and fall, you should absolutely do the same thing. Take pictures of the wet floor, debris in the walkway of your apartment building, or the completely dark parking lot.
Pictures, however, aren’t your only option. If, for example, you slipped on an icy sidewalk, weather reports of the day can be key evidence. Security camera footage may also be useful. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but at Buttafuoco & Associates, we can help you figure out what evidence will be helpful in your case.
Evidence of Negligence: A business is responsible for keeping their premises free of hazardous conditions. In the case of a slip and fall lawsuit, this means the plaintiff must prove that not only were there hazardous conditions, but also that the defendant—in these cases, typically business or corporation—should have known about the conditions and prevented them.
In some cases, this evidence might be similar to the evidence of hazardous conditions, such as photos of the area or security camera footage. But other evidence may include store records of safety inspections; it’s possible they did not inspect as often as necessary or inspected an area but failed to fix potentially hazardous conditions.
Evidence that You Weren’t Negligent: In nearly every slip and fall case, the defendant will try to make it look like the accident was your fault. The more blame they can put on you, the plaintiff, the less they may have to pay out in a settlement or in court. They may say, for example, that you were running or looking at your phone and that this caused you to slip on the wet floor.
Again, something like security camera footage is very useful to show that you were reasonably aware of your environment and not behaving in a way that caused you to fall.
Preserving Evidence with a Letter of Spoliation
You may have noticed that a lot of the evidence will be in the defendant’s possession and might not be around forever. For example, many establishments reuse security camera tapes regularly. This is why it’s so important to contact a slip and fall attorney in Northern New Jersey immediately to send what’s called a “Spoliation Notice”. This is a notice that the defendant should not delete or discard any potential evidence in the case.
If you are a victim of a slip and fall accident, contact a personal injury lawyer at Buttafuoco & Associates to start this process as soon as possible. We are committed to fighting for victims’ rights and getting them the maximum compensation they deserve.
Call today for a free consultation on your case at 1-800-NOW-HURT.