How to Prove Fault in a Slip-and-Fall Accident Case
Slip-and-fall accidents can occur in a variety of situations, and when they do, the damage you suffer can be severe. As a result of your injuries, you may be dealing with heavy medical expenses and the need for ongoing care and treatment, while being unable to work or engage in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed.
Slip-and-fall injuries are often the result of the property owner, manager, or an employee’s reckless or negligent actions. The following outlines some of the most common causes of how these injuries occur, as well as information on proving fault for a slip and fall in Tennessee.
Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall injuries are an unfortunately common occurrence, which, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), send as many as 1 million people to hospital emergency rooms each year.
These injuries often happen in public places, such as grocery or retail stores, hotels, restaurants, or other business establishments. The following are among the most common causes:
- Wet, slippery floors due to mopping, spills, or condensation
- Loose carpeting or defects in floor surfaces
- Blocked or obstructed aisles and hallways
- Uneven or missing stones on walkways and paths
- Poor lighting or a lack handrails on floor risers and stairwells
- Unmarked or unprotected areas being refurbished or under construction
When a slip-and-fall accident occurs, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible, regardless of your symptoms or the apparent severity of the accident. It is also important to notify the property manager or a security guard immediately and insist that an accident report is filed.
Many serious and potentially debilitating conditions have symptoms that can take days or even weeks to appear. Even a “minor” slip-and-fall accident can result in major injuries that can impact your quality of life and require years of medical care and treatment.
Failing to report the accident or get the medical care you need could jeopardize your rights in seeking compensation through a premises liability claim.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall in Tennessee
While slips and falls are generally referred to as “accidents,” the fact is that they are often the result of another’s negligence. Black’s Law Dictionary defines negligence as either doing something a reasonable person would not do under similar circumstances or failing to take certain actions a reasonable person would take in the same situation.
In premises liability cases, property owners can be held liable for slip-and-fall injuries for failing to correct a dangerous condition, such as a wet floor, blocked aisle, or loose carpeting – or for failing to warn visitors that a dangerous condition exists, such as unguarded heights, construction, or uneven walkway.
In either situation, you would need to prove the property owner, manager, or employees either knew of the potential danger or should have known of it. Evidence that can be used to prove fault in a slip-and-fall lawsuit includes:
- Incident or police reports filled out at the accident scene
- Statements from witnesses who may have seen the accident occur or the situation leading up to it
- Photos or videotape evidence, which can prove the existence of potentially dangerous conditions and how they factored into the accident
- Emails, letters, bills, repair receipts, and other forms of evidence showing that the property owner or manager was aware of the situation, and previously attempted to address or repair it or to warn customers about it
In addition to gathering evidence in your case, it is important to be aware of any statements you make about the accident or your injuries that could be used against you. Refrain from speaking with any of the parties involved prior to consulting with a lawyer, and avoid posting about the incident on social media.
Proving the Amount of Damages You Suffer
In addition to proving fault for your slip-and-fall accident, part of filing a premises liability claim through the Tennessee court system is proving that you suffered damages and injuries as a result. Damages are a type of compensation awarded by the court, and may include any of the following:
- Medical expenses, including medications, future treatments, and rehabilitation costs.
- Lost wages, as well as future losses in income and benefits in the event your injuries, result in lingering disabilities.
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish caused by your accident or injuries. This includes any scarring or disfigurement you suffer, as well as loss of enjoyment of life if you are unable to engage in activities you previously enjoyed.
- Punitive damages, which is a type of compensation awarded in cases where the property owner showed disregard for the safety of others that were particularly willful or reckless.
Evidence used to support your damages claim in a premises liability lawsuit includes medical records and doctor statements, pay stubs, taxes, and income reports from your employer, and testimony from you and other family members or friends regarding the amount of care you need or the impact your injuries have had on your quality of life.
We Can Help You Today
If you or someone you care about is injured as the result of a slip and fall, contact Bill Easterly & Associates today. Our Tennessee premises liability lawyers take a hands-on approach, attending to all the details and going the extra mile in investigating your claim and gathering evidence in your favor so that you can rest easy and focus on your recovery.
When you suffer injuries that have the potential to impact your physical health and financial security, both now and in the years to come, you need a strong legal advocate on your side, to ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today for help.