Becoming injured is never a fun or favorable experience, especially if it happens on someone else’s property as a result of negligence. Slips and falls are relatively common, but not every slip and fall warrants a lawsuit.
Here are five things you should know about filing a slip and fall lawsuit:
#1 - You’ll need to prove that someone else (typically the property owner) is legally responsible for your injuries.
If you cannot prove that another person is legally responsible for your injuries, then you may not have a case. In order to help determine liability, you should ask the following questions:
- Who are the potentially liable parties?
- Did those parties act negligently?
- Did they cause or fail to prevent the slip and fall accident?
- Did your own carelessness cause or contribute to the accident?
#2 - Your case is only as strong as your evidence (but your attorney can help with this).
In order for someone else to be held responsible for your injuries in a slip and fall accident, you’ll need to prove one of the following:
- The property owner, an employee, or agent of the property owner, should’ve identified a hazardous condition and removed or fixed the possible hazard, but didn’t do so.
- The key element to consider here is whether a reasonable individual would’ve recognized the condition as dangerous and whether the property owner (or another representative thereof) had abundant chances to resolve the situation before the accident happened. OR
- A property owner (or another representative thereof) presented the hazardous element that prompted the slip and fall accident and it was rationally predictable that someone could trip and fall as a result.
#3 - “Reasonable” can be a relative term.
Whether or not the property owner (or another representative thereof) acted in a “reasonable” manner can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. In order to use the theory of negligence to prove liability, you’ll need to show that the property owner (or another representative thereof) failed to behave as a reasonably prudent person would have behaved under similar circumstances.
It’s a good idea to consider the following questions when determining whether the property owner (or another representative thereof) acted reasonably:
- Was the dangerous element or hurdle present for a period of time that would’ve allowed a reasonable property owner or another representative thereof to take action against the dangerous element?
- Did the person overseeing the property have a policy of regularly checking for possible dangers on the property? If so, is there a record of whether the procedural steps were taken just before the accident took place?
- Was there a prudent reason why the possible danger was created? If so, was this reason still in effect when the slip or fall occurred?
- Could preventative measures have been taken to minimize the dangerous element?
- Did poor lighting or limited visibility contribute to the cause of the slip and fall?
#4 - You must prove that you were not the cause of the accident.
The person overseeing the property who you intend to sue may defend their case by saying you are partially or completely responsible for the accident. This defense is possible due to the legal concept, “comparative fault.” New York operates under “pure comparative fault,” which basically means that all parties involved can be held responsible for a portion of the accident.
When determining whether you share a portion of the blame, it’s a good idea to ask the following questions:
- Were you doing something at the time of the accident that could have prevented you from noticing the hazard when an otherwise reasonable person would have become aware of it?
- For example, talking or texting on your cell phone.
- Were you lawfully on the property where you slipped and fell? Or was there a viable reason why you were in a hazardous area?
- Was the proper signage posted? Were other safety systems ignored or unused by the person overseeing the property?
#5 - If your case goes to trial, it’ll likely conclude in 3-5 days.
Depending on how complex your case is and the judge that is selected to try your case, your trial will likely conclude in three to five days. Slip and fall cases are not typically very complicated, so you can expect your trial to conclude by day three.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property as a result of a slip and fall accident, you may be owed compensation. Let our team see if we can help you recover it.
Call the Ozone Park lawyers at The Cassisi Law Firm today at (718) 524-3398 to speak with an experienced attorney about your case.