Obtaining a settlement in a “slip and fall” case is often more difficult than in other types of personal injury cases, such as car accidents. This is because different laws apply and different types of evidence are involved in slip and fall cases. This article will discuss the challenges involved in settling a slip and fall claim, as well as some strategies an experienced personal injury attorney may use to overcome them.
A “slip and fall” refers to an incident where a person is injured because they slipped and fell on a foreign substance or other hazardous condition on the premises of another. Whatever the cause of a slip and fall, the owner or occupier of the premises is not automatically at fault. The injured person must prove that the owner or occupier of the premises either knew or should have known of the hazard before the slip and fall occurred. The injured person also must show that he or she did not know about the hazard before they fell, even though they were being careful.
Often, the premises owner has exclusive control of the evidence that proves they are at fault – for example, surveillance video or employees that may have seen the hazard before the injury occurred. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a defendant to tamper with or even destroy important evidence before an injured person has a chance to review it. An attorney can take steps to prevent this from happening, or at least ensure that the defendant is penalized if evidence is destroyed. Thus, it is absolutely crucial that a slip and fall claimant hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can make sure that the proper steps are taken to preserve crucial evidence.
Since a defendant is unlikely to voluntarily provide crucial evidence to a slip and fall claimant, a lawsuit is often required so that the claimant will have the legal power to force the defendant turn that evidence over to him or her. Once a lawsuit is filed in a slip and fall case, a claimant’s attorney is empowered to conduct “discovery” to find the evidence that proves a defendant is at fault for the injury. Still, it is not uncommon for a defendant to ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit. This is why slip and fall cases often do not settle until all the evidence is obtained and the defendant fails in trying to get the case dismissed.
The hurdles that must be overcome to obtain a settlement in a slip and fall case are a good example of why it is in an injured person’s best interest to hire an experienced attorney. If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall, do not try to go it alone. Consult an attorney in your area to ensure that you have the best chance of recovering a settlement for injuries suffered in a slip and fall incident.
DISCLAIMER: The above article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be considered, legal advice. Legal advice can only be given by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction following a individualized consultation. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney in your area.