If you have sustained a slip and fall injury, you might be considering filing a slip and fall lawsuit. A lot of people do file these suits, especially considering the fact that there is a statute of limitations on these slip and fall cases. However, you should be aware that not every slip and fall case is a slam dunk in the courts. There are multiple variables that can affect your case and its outcome.
When You Fell and What Caused the Fall
If you fell last winter on a patch of ice outside the business, you may no longer have a case. Likewise, if something tripped you up inside the business and it’s past the point where you can sue, it is futile to file. During the time between your fall and your filing with the courts, the defendant (a.k.a., the business) can argue that you fell somewhere else and you were injured there and not at the business you are suing. This argument can make it especially difficult to win your case because the defendant isn’t wrong. Nobody but you knows if you fell somewhere else in between time, or if you fell at a business at all.
Likewise, the cause of your fall can be nixed. If you fell on ice but there was none to be seen, that’s a problem. If you fell on a wet floor (as is common with a slip and fall injury), the defendant can argue that a sign was posted and you should have been more careful. If a cord or rope tripped you up, pictures attesting to the fact that you did not fall as a result of one of these objects can cause your case to deflate before it begins. Be sure to get pictures of where you fell, how you fell, and note when you fell.
Biomechanics and Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
If you frequently trip, have a medical condition that causes you to lose your balance, or your body structure is such that it makes it difficult for you to move freely (e.g., overweight/obese, one foot or leg several inches shorter than the other, etc.,) this impacts your case. The defendant can argue that you fell not because of anything they did or didn’t do, but because of your body mechanics or pre-existing conditions. Make sure your lawyer is made aware of anything that could be used against you in your case so that he/she can build an adequate defense.
Examples of Slip and Fall Cases That Usually Win
If you slipped and fell at a business, but the worst you got was some scrapes and/or bruises, it’s unlikely that you could win your case. Examples of cases that typically win include:
- Brain injury cases where you were knocked unconscious and/or suffered head trauma that was either visible (open skull) or invisible (closed skull). These injuries may also be referred to as TBI, or traumatic brain injury cases.
- Spinal cord injuries that resulted in temporary or permanent paralysis of one or more limbs or sections of the body. The medical records that clearly prove that these injuries were inflicted on a specific date and time support your claim to compensation and the long-term effects this injury has on your life.
- Wrongful deaths, in which case a living relative is suing on behalf of a deceased slip and fall victim.
Broken bones and open wounds that require medical attention after a serious fall may also win in slip and fall cases, but it’s based on a case by case situation.
Proving Negligence on the Part of the Business
Perhaps the hardest part of any slip and fall case is proving that negligence was involved. You have to show that your accident (or the deceased’s accident) is or was directly tied to a negligent action of the business. Negligence means that the business failed to protect its consumers and left things laying around or left things as-is that caused your fall.
For example, you slip on ice because the business refused to melt the ice with salt or other ice melting product. You slipped because a giant puddle of liquid was left on the floor and no one cleaned it up for hours. Cords or ropes that are directly laying or crossing through common pathways and are not removed or signed may also be considered negligence. The circumstances surrounding your particular accident will help determine if any negligence was involved and how to proceed.
Do You Have a Case?
After reading the above, you might be wondering if you even have a case. The truth is, there is only one way to find out for sure. A free consultation on your case and your injuries that resulted from slipping (or tripping) and falling is the only real way to determine if you have a legitimate case. Contact Law Offices of Steven Ibarra in Whittier, CA, if you are a Californian resident, and schedule a consult today.