Can I Sue After a Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall personal injury claims fall under the umbrella of “premises liability” lawsuits and can be one of the most complex types of claims to file. It can be very difficult to prove a slip and fall injury was due to someone else’s negligence because you must prove there was a defect on the property (ice, a hole, a defective floor or stairway, debris, or water), that the party that owned or managed the property knew about (or reasonably should have known about) that defect, and that the defect existed for sufficient time for it to have taken steps to repair or warn people, and that the defect caused your injury.
All of those elements must be in place in order to have a viable premises liability claim. Despite the prevalence of slip and fall claims and despite the fact that slips and falls often result in serious injuries, slip and fall cases are difficult to win.
Why Are Slip and Fall Cases So Difficult to Win?
Although it seems pretty clear-cut that after a fall on a slippery floor in a store, a spill on someone’s icy sidewalk, or a trip over debris not swept up in a city park, you should be able to sue the negligent party, it’s more involved than that. Any personal injury case relies on the victim’s ability to prove negligence on the part of the defendant whether that’s a storeowner, a homeowner, or a government entity.
The plaintiff of a slip and fall claim must also prove all elements of a negligence claim, which include proving that the defendant owed the plaintiff what’s referred to as a “duty of care,” that the victim suffered physical or monetary damages (or both), and that the damages were caused by the defendants’ negligence. All of those elements must be present or there is no valid premises liability claim. Only an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer like Adam Smith can tell you if all the necessary elements exist.
What makes these cases more difficult than motor vehicle accidents, which have the assistance of police reports, car technology, and eyewitness accounts, slip and fall cases often must rely solely on first-hand accounts. With so many security cameras being in place today, some slip and fall claims may also be supported by photographic or video evidence, but with no cameras to aid your case, your lawyer must often depend solely on your account of the incident to fight for you. Many injury attorneys will decline taking a slip and fall claim if there is no hard evidence from camera footage or eyewitnesses (besides yourself) to corroborate what happened.
Slip and fall victims must prove that the property owner (or manager) had reasonable knowledge of a potential hazard and had a reasonable amount of time to repair or remove it but failed to take appropriate action to remedy the problem or the danger. With only your account of what happened, even the best premises liability attorney will not have the supporting evidence to prove your injury was due to someone’s negligence.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall in the Las Vegas area, and you feel you have a strong case, please contact attorney Adam Smith for a free initial claim evaluation.