An Honest Evaluation of a Slip and Fall Case
Ryan Bradley | August 18, 2023 | Slip and Falls
As a personal injury claim, a slip and fall accident occurs when a dangerous condition on someone’s property causes another person to fall and suffer an injury. In elderly people, the demographic most likely to suffer injury in a slip and fall accident, the results of a slip and fall accident can be fatal.
Perhaps you slipped and fell due to a defective stairway railing in your own home. In all likelihood, however, the accident occurred on someone else’s property. In fact, most slip and fall accidents that result in personal injury claims happen in business establishments.
In any case, the owner or manager of real property has an obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of guests. If they fail to do so, and if you thereby suffer an injury, you probably have a personal injury claim against them.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Common slip and fall injuries include:
- Broken bones;
- Cuts, lacerations, and abrasions;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Soft tissue injuries, including bruises, sprains, and torn ligaments;
- Spinal cord injuries; and
- Traumatic brain injuries,
Seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident, even if you don’t believe you were seriously injured.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Following are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Wet floors with no warning signs;
- Icy or slippery surfaces;
- Uneven surfaces or objects on the floor;
- Loose floorboards, mats, and rugs;
- Loose stairway railings; and
- Missing or uneven steps.
A complete list of slip and fall hazards might include hundreds of possible causes. Even an aggressive dog, for example, might cause you to slip and fall while running away.
Most of the time, proving liability for a slip and fall accident works like any other negligence claim. You must prove four elements to win: duty of care, breach of duty, damages, and causation.
Duty of Care
The duty of care of the owner of premises, discussed above, is the duty to rid their property of known hazards (or warn of them). They must also inspect the property for non-obvious hazards and either remove or warn of them.
Breach of Duty
To breach your duty is to fail to comply with the demands of your duty. It might mean doing something you shouldn’t do, or it might mean not doing something you should do (failing to remove ice from your parking lot, for example).
“Damages” means losses arising from an injury. That could include medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and many other types of losses. You need to prove whatever you are claiming with admissible evidence.
Causation is present if you can say that if the defendant had not breached their duty of care, you would not have suffered the accident. You must also establish proximate causation, which means that it was foreseeable the at-fault party’s conduct could lead to the type of injuries you’ve sustained.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is on you, the injured victim, to prove your claim. You must prove it by a “preponderance of the evidence,” at least a 51% likelihood. This is a lot easier than proving a claim “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as you must do in criminal court.
Suppose that you slip, fall, and break your hip on a wet floor or an icy parking lot. Suppose further that you were intoxicated at the time. If your intoxication contributed to the accident (as it likely did), you could lose some or even most of your compensation under Missouri’s “pure comparative fault” system.
Under this system, a court will calculate your percentage of fault from 0% to 100%. Whatever your percentage of fault, you will lose that percentage of your damages. There is no maximum–even if you were 99% at fault, you are still eligible to collect 1% of your damages.
Legal Assistance Could Be a Necessity
Winning a slip and fall case isn’t necessarily easy. You can be sure the insurance company will fight to deny your claim or reduce it to as little as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know just how to fight back.
Contact Our Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm For Help Today
For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
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1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
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