Millions of people are harmed in slip and fall accidents each year in the U.S. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), these incidents necessitate over 1 million (12%) emergency room visits annually. Cases that occurred inside someone else’s property can be relatively straightforward. Yet, falls that occur in public areas, such as sidewalks, are a bit trickier to address. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk, know that you do have legal rights to compensation and most importantly you can file suit for negligence against the responsible party for not properly maintaining the sidewalk.
Proving Fault in a Sidewalk Slip and Fall Lawsuit
One of the most important things you will need to prove in your slip and fall claim is that a property owner had the responsibility to maintain the safety of the sidewalk. This responsibility is known as their “duty of care,” wherein the property owner is legally obligated to provide a safe walking area where visitors are not exposed to preventable dangers. Further, you will be tasked with proving the following:
- The property owner violated their duty of care.
- This violation directly resulted in your injuries and related expenses.
Know that a property owner may only be the one to blame in cases where the fall occurred in front of a private residence or a business. Yet, this may not always apply. For instance, if they left a bike out in the path or neglected to shovel snow from the sidewalk, they can be held liable for your fall. On the other hand, you may need to sue the city if any of the following led to your accident:
- Tree roots were growing through the cement, presenting a tripping hazard.
- The pavement was cracked or otherwise uneven.
- There were several loose stones or bricks included on a cobblestone path.
Construction companies can also be responsible for slip and fall incidents. For example, suppose they leave a project site in such a state that it introduces hazards to a pedestrian sidewalk (i.e., cracks, holes, slippery or unstable surfaces, etc.). If so, they may be accountable for any civilian injuries caused by their equipment or modifications to the site.
As you can see, numerous parties may be held accountable in these cases. If you are unsure of who is liable for your injuries, consult with your slip and fall accident lawyer. Once you’ve determined fault, you can begin filing your claim and progress toward earning your rightful compensation.
What You Need to Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
Your lawyer will help you gather the necessary evidence for proving the appropriate party’s fault in your case. Yet, there are some records you must gather immediately after the incident to boost your chances of a successful lawsuit:
- Report the incident to the property owner, municipality, or another relevant authority. Obtain a copy of the report.
- Take photos and videos of the area where you fell.
- Gather medical documentation.
To put all these documents to use for your case, and get closer to receiving compensation, call a slip and fall accident lawyer today.