How to Win a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident Lawsuit
Slip and fall lawsuits are among the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. But not all of the claims filed against defendants succeed. That’s because there is a specific test under negligence rules that weeds out certain cases. In this article, we’ll discuss how to win a basic slip, trip, and fall lawsuit.
Burden of proof
In any negligence claim, the plaintiff carries the burden of proving liability. In other words, you can’t just allege that you were injured and recover money. Instead, you have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable.
Elements of negligence in a slip and fall claim
Slip and fall claims fall under the general theory of premises liability. A premises owner is liable for an accident when there is a foreseeable risk to an individual who was invited onto the property for the premises owner’s financial benefit. This covers restaurants, hotels, department stores, gas stations, and other similar commercial businesses. Other claims can be filed against homeowner’s insurance policies. To establish that the accident was foreseeable, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the premises owner, or employees of the business, either knew or should have known that there was a slip/trip hazard present on the premises. In many cases, this is established using CCTV surveillance footage.
As an example, let’s say you slip and fall in a gas station. One of the coolers is leaking and there’s a large puddle on the ground. You don’t see it, and you slip and fall, injuring your leg and hip. In this case, you would need to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the employees either knew or reasonably should have known of the puddle and that, had they addressed the puddle earlier, you would not have been injured.
Defenses to slip and fall accident claims
If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll likely be dealing with insurance company claims adjusters and attorneys. Their most commonly used tactic for defending slip and fall suits is to blame the victim for their own injuries. In these cases, insurance companies often try to make it seem like you were at least partly liable for the injuries you suffered. They can say that the dangerous condition (in our example above, the puddle by the cooler) was open and obvious and had you been paying attention, you wouldn’t have slipped and fell.
Nonetheless, the company has a duty of care to ensure that its premises are safe for invitees. If they don’t, then they can be sued for negligence.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Palmer | Lopez helps injured parties file lawsuits against negligent businesses. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.