When property owners fail to maintain their properties, they might be liable for accidents on the premises. Proving negligence in a slip and fall case can be challenging, but the chances of recovery can improve significantly with experienced lawyers who know how to present the case.
In a slip and fall accident, the owner of the property where the accident happened may be held liable by proving they were negligent. Negligence involves four important elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. All four elements must be sufficiently established to prove the defendant was negligent. A property owner’s negligence often stems from a lack of safety precautions or a failure to repair or remove hazards from the premises. Important evidence in your case might include photos and videos from the accident scene, eyewitness testimony, analysis by safety engineers and architectural experts, and your medical records.
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property because they failed to keep it safe, our Indiana slip and fall accident lawyers can help you sue for damages. For a free case assessment, call the offices of Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.
Proving negligence requires establishing the four legal elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages. Our Fort Wayne slip and fall accident attorneys have previously handled these kinds of cases and are prepared to help you now.
Duty refers to the defendant’s legal obligation toward the plaintiff. In slip and fall accident cases, the defendant’s duty is based on property ownership. As the owner, the defendant is legally obligated to maintain their property and keep it safe for guests and visitors. This involves repairing or removing known hazards and making reasonable inspections for unknown hazards.
For example, the defendant’s duty might include removing snow and ice from the walkway in front of their home. If they failed to do this and a guest slipped and fell on the icy walkway, the property owner may be deemed negligent and held liable.
Even if there are no known hazards, a property owner must make reasonable inspections for possible unknown hazards. This might involve something as simple as checking the area for spills, uneven surfaces, or other tripping hazards. However, only reasonable inspections are necessary.
The element of breach consists of the actions or inaction by the defendant that caused the accident. In many slip and fall accidents, the breach is likely a failure to act. This failure to act typically involves neglecting to inspect for hazards or failing to remove known hazards. There might be various ways to breach a legal duty of care, and our Indianapolis slip and fall accident lawyers can help you figure out what kind of breach is involved in your case.
One example of a breach would be failing to repair uneven stairs in a stairwell. Even if the defendant did not repair the stairs, simply placing a clear warning sign may be enough to fulfill their duty. If a hazard was not removed or repaired, or if the defendant failed to adequately warn you about the hazard, they have breached their duty of care.
Causation is the connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the accident. The breach must be the direct and proximate cause of your slip and fall accident. Simply proving that a breach occurred does not necessarily establish that the breach caused the accident. The defendant might argue that some other independent force caused the accident, and we must be prepared to prove otherwise.
For example, a defendant might have been negligent in failing to clear their icy walkway, but that does not mean their negligence caused the accident. Instead, the plaintiff might have fallen because of a medical condition that affects balance, alcohol intoxication, or because they were behaving carelessly. Our South Bend slip and fall accident lawyers can help you prove that the defendant was negligent and that their negligence is the direct cause of your accident.
Your damages are the injuries, losses, and expenses you incurred from the slip and fall accident. Your damages are the fourth and final legal element we must establish to prove the defendant was negligent. The bottom line is that your damages must be real. You cannot sue for damages that might have happened if things had been worse. Close calls and near misses are not grounds for a lawsuit. Our Indiana slip and fall accident lawyers can help you gather evidence to prove your damages are real.
A property owner may be negligent if they fail to keep their property safe for guests and visitors. Many kinds of property owners can be liable for slip and fall accidents. Private homeowners, business owners, or government entities can be liable for their negligence.
Typically, a property owner may be negligent if they fail to main their property for expected guests. Expected guests may include social guests invited onto private property, customers in a store, mail carriers, or other people who might show up on your doorstep. A guest does not have to be explicitly invited for a property owner to be held liable for their negligence. Uninvited guests who should be reasonably expected (e.g., customers, mail carriers, door-to-door solicitors) are also owed a duty of care.
Unknown trespassers are typically not owed a duty of care by property owners. Even if a trespasser is injured because a property owner failed to maintain the premise, the property owner likely would not be deemed liable.
Proving the defendant in your case is liable requires as much evidence as we can gather. Our Milwaukee slip and fall accident lawyers can help you find any evidence that might exist in your case.
Photos and videos taken immediately after you were injured might significantly help your case. These recordings show what your injuries were like immediately after the accident, and they might show what the property looked like. The property owner will probably clean up the accident scene as soon as possible, eliminating evidence of their negligence. Your photos and videos help preserve the scene as it was when the accident happened.
We can also find witnesses who can testify about the defendant’s negligence. Eyewitnesses are people who saw you slip and fall, and they can testify about how your injuries happened. Other witnesses might not have seen the accident unfold, but they might be familiar with the defendant and the property. For example, a long-term neighbor of the defendant can testify about the defendant’s negligence because they have never seen the defendant repair known hazards on the property.
Additionally, we will frequently use experts in the field of safety engineering, architectural standards, and biomechanics to help prove your case. Safety engineers are able to testify regarding the foreseeability of risks presented by safety hazards and industry standards that a prudent business uses to prevent those risks. Architectural experts often testify regarding defects in conditions of the property itself, while biomechanical experts are able to analyze a person’s injuries in relation to the defective condition and analyze exactly how a fall took place and the injury was caused.
If you were hurt on someone else’s property, our Indiana personal injury lawyers can help you prove the defendant was negligent. For a free case review, call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.