What Type of Evidence Should I Gather for a Slip and Fall Claim? 

Lever & Ecker, PLLC September 7, 2021 Slip Trip & Fall

If you had to file a lawsuit if you or someone else were injured in a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence, would you know what type of evidence to gather?

Slip and fall injuries are personal injuries resulting from the failure of a property owner or municipality to properly maintain their property. Premises liability pertains to the legal duty of a property owner or municipality to maintain their property in safe condition. If the property owner or municipality does not maintain their property, and an individual sustains injuries, then the owner or municipality may be liable to the victim for their injuries. 

Slips and falls are the top causes of adult accident injuries, with almost 6.4 million people over the age of 25 injured in these accidents every year, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). Further, more than 8 million hospital ER visits, or 21.3% of ER visits, are from falls, with slip and falls accounting for more than one million of those visits.

Slip-and-fall Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries

Slip and fall accidents cause more than 300,000 disabling injuries per year in North America, according to OSHA. These accidents can cause every type of injury imaginable, including back injuries, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis and even death.

Spinal cord injuries – including where the spinal cord is severed, compressed or otherwise injured – are almost always significant, and sometimes even life-threatening, and they require immediate medical care as well as ongoing treatment.

According to the CDC, falls often cause traumatic brain injuries, which also require immediate medical care. While minor concussions often resolve on their own, more serious traumatic brain injuries can permanently alter a person’s ability to function. 

Broken bones, another common injury from slip and fall accidents, can be severe and require surgery. Tissue surrounding a broken bone may also be damaged, necessitating long-term therapy to prevent chronic pain and neuromuscular dysfunction.

Depending on the severity of the injury from a fall, the victim may suffer long-term pain, requiring surgery or other care and treatment, temporary or permanent disability, lost income/wages and earning capacity, and mental health issues. Thus, the victim may suffer physically, emotionally, and financially from a severe injury.

Our New York slip and fall accident lawyers are dedicated to recovering compensation for our clients suffering from injuries resulting from accidents in New York.

Who can be held liable for a slip, trip, or fall accident?

Fifty-five percent of all slip and fall accidents are caused by hazardous walking surfaces, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. According to the National Retail Federation, the most common are:

  • Liquids spilled on the floor 
  • Aisle obstructions
  • Faulty staircases, elevators, and escalators
  • Merchandise falling from shelves
  • Worn down or uneven walking surfaces
  • Wet, snowy, or icy sidewalks
  • Revolving and slamming door breakdowns
  • Insufficient lighting in parking lots

Most businesses carry liability insurance to cover injuries that happen upon their premises. In most cases, it is the insurance company that ultimately pays compensation to the accident victim. 

Evidence of negligence

The majority of slip and fall accident and premises liability suits are based on whether the property owner or municipality was aware there was a hazard, or should have been aware of the hazard, and was not sufficiently diligent in remedying it before someone was injured.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 9 out of 10 customer accidents result from some form of negligence.

To be successful in a slip and fall personal injury suit, you will need evidence to prove: 

Duty. The defendant had a duty of care. Were you on the business, store, or restaurant premises as a customer? You can be considered an invitee because the property owner invited you in. Property owners have a duty of care to invitees to regularly inspect the property for hazardous conditions and maintain their premises so that no dangerous conditions exist. If there are hazardous conditions that could cause an injury, they should remedy those hazards and/or warn you of their existence.

Breach of duty. The defendant breached their duty of care. Did an employee or staff member know about the hazardous condition? Were there any witnesses that saw you fall that could describe the state of the dangerous condition? Was a manager notified of the incident? An attorney may determine from witness and employee testimony whether they knew about the hazard and whether any steps were taken to remedy it.

Responsibility or Fault. The breach of duty, or negligence on the defendant’s part, was a significant factor in causing your injuries. If you identify the cause of your slip and fall accident, it will serve as the substantial evidence of your claim.  Your attorney will try to gather:

  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Incident reports
  • Surveillance recordings
  • Photos of the hazardous area and your injuries
  • Copies of the operations, cleaning, and training policies of the business, store, or restaurant
  • Medical records regarding your injuries
  • Expert testimony

If you suffer a slip and fall accident in New York, you could be entitled to financial compensation under New York premises liability law. You will require the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who has a long track record of winning cases against negligent property owners and their insurance companies.

Talk to a White Plains Slip-and-Fall Lawyer

Owners of property in New York have a legal obligation to make sure their property is safe and, in turn, adequately warn people when hazardous walking conditions are present. When ice, cracked pavement, and other hazards cause injuries to a person, compensation could be available through the help of one of the premises liability lawyers at Lever & Ecker, PLLC.

Slip and fall accidents often happen without warning, and the consequences they bring are often too much for you to handle. You should concentrate on healing from your injury and let us take on the burden of negotiating with opposing insurance companies and handling your case. Contact us today at (914) 350-6328  or fill out our contact form  for a free case evaluation.