Sometimes in movies and TV shows, actors are shown to fake a slip and fall accident in order to collect monetary damages from a business owner. In truth, it is difficult to fake an accident like this because both sides will investigate the claim, and true negligence is more challenging to prove than you might think.
If you have been legitimately injured on another person’s property, your personal injury attorney will still have to establish that the owner of the property is liable for an unsafe situation that caused your injuries. If your attorney has evidence to prove this, he or she may be able to reach a settlement with the property owner’s insurance company. If a settlement is not reached, your case may go to trial and a judge or jury will make the final determination.
What if the owner of the business was nowhere near the premises when you were injured, but an employee or agent of the property owner was present? Then this person’s actions (or lack of preventive action) could make the owner liable for your injuries.
The best accident attorneys will investigate these questions:
- Who are all the parties who may be liable for your injuries?
- Did actions by these parties cause your injuries?
- Did actions the parties failed to take cause your injuries?
Your attorney will need to be prepared to counter a defense that asserts your actions or carelessness caused the injuries.
Understanding liability and negligence
Suppose you were injured when you stumbled due to an uneven walking surface when attempting to enter a business. The property owner could be held liable for the injuries if a reasonable person would have realized this was an unsafe condition, and the property owner had enough time to fix the unsafe condition
If both of these conditions are met, the property owner could be considered to be negligent, and thus liable for monetary damages to the injured person. It seems simple, but it is not always so straightforward. Suppose also that the uneven surface was not easy to recognize, or perhaps the condition causing the uneven surface happened just last night. These questions will arise when determining liability.
Another issue that will be raised is whether you caused the injury through your own behavior. If the property owner or employee posted a warning sign saying the surface was uneven, and you ignored the sign and walked on the surface anyway, you may be accused of causing your own injuries.
According to the American Bar Association, states have varying rules that say how long you can wait to file your personal injury claim. For instance, Pennsylvania has a two-year “statute of limitations.”
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should:
- Take photos of the area where you were injured, showing the hazards that caused your injuries
- Do not describe your injuries to an insurance representative or the property owner until after you have been examined by a doctor
As quickly as you can after the accident, contact experienced PI attorneys like those at Perna & Abracht LLC, who will advise you about the next steps to take in obtaining compensation for your injuries.