4 Legal Elements Needed to Prove a Winning Slip and Fall Case
If you have sustained an injury due to falling on a slippery surface, you may think that you are automatically entitled to compensation from the property owner on which the fall occurred. However, this may not always be the case. In fact, you are required by law to prove the following legal elements are present in your case in order to receive any damages.
Element #1: There must be existing proof that the defendant was aware of the hazard that caused the fall.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident and would like to be compensated for it, you must be able to prove that the defendant (property owner) knew or should have reasonably known that the hazard or condition that caused you to fall existed. Furthermore, you will need to prove that the defendant, aware of such a condition, did nothing to ensure that it was fixed. If this cannot be proven, then the defendant cannot be held responsible for your injuries.
Element #2: The condition that caused you to fall must be proven as “unreasonably dangerous.”
People slip and fall every day for many different reasons. Some have poor balance and lose their footing, while others have bad eyesight and cannot see an obstacle in their way, causing them to stumble and fall. In these situations, there is not much hope for compensation because the factors effecting the fall were not the defendant’s fault. However, if you can prove that the condition which caused you to fall was unreasonably dangerous, such as a wet floor with no “wet floor” sign or warning, then you have a much better chance of winning your case.
Element #3: It must be proven that the condition itself caused the injury, and not an outside factor.
If you were to trip from a protruding floorboard and injure your ankle to the point of needing surgery, you would have to prove in a court of law that the floorboard was the primary factor that caused you to need the surgery. If, however, you had injured your ankle two weeks before while jogging, you would have a slim to no chance of receiving any damages from the defendant. In other words, the defendant cannot be held accountable for something that was out of his or her control, such as you falling of your own accord. Therefore, You must be able to prove that your fall was in direct correlation to the defendant’s actions.
Element #4: Ensuing damages from the fall must be proven.
If you experience a slip and fall injury, you must be able to show the court that it caused you to have a need for compensation. Examples of damages resulting from a slip and fall accident can include current and future medical expenses, current and future lost wages, pain and suffering, and a loss of enjoyment of life. If you are able to prove that such damages have ensued from your injury, then you are likely to be awarded compensation for them. However, if there is no apparent need for compensation, such as a visible injury or documented medical bills, then the court is probably not going to see a reason to make the defendant compensate you.
Slip and fall injuries occur on a daily basis, and sadly, many people aren’t aware that they can seek compensation from the property owner. If you are such a victim and want to be awarded damages for your injuries, then make sure the above four legal elements can be proven in your case and you may have a strong slip and fall case.