If you are injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you want to hold the negligent business or property owner responsible for compensating you. In order to do this, you have to prove your case. While your own statements as to what happened and the injuries you suffered will be helpful—it is often not enough to establish your right to compensation. How do you prove the business or property owner’s negligence?
What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Case?
In order to know what evidence you need, you should understand what you have to prove in a premises liability case. Basically, you will need to show the following:
- That the person or business you claim is responsible for compensating you is the owner or occupier of the property where you were injured.
- That you were injured on the property.
- That your injuries were caused by an unsafe condition on the property.
- That the business or property owner had a duty to either fix the hazardous condition or warn you of the dangers and failed to so.
What Evidence Can Help a Premises Liability Case?
Evidence is the building blocks of your case, and you could need many different types of it, depending on the facts surrounding your accident, your injuries, and the disputes regarding the settlement of your claim. Evidence that can help you settle your case include the following:
- Photographs. You want to take pictures of the accident scene that show the hazard that caused your injury. For example, you would want to document any uneven floors, spills, debris, potholes, or inadequate lighting that caused you to slip and fall. Videos can be extremely useful too. If you hire an attorney soon after the accident, he may want to hire an expert or visit the property himself to take additional pictures before the problem is corrected.
- Accident report. Filling out an accident report is important since it documents that you were involved in an accident. It could also contain a narrative of what happened and witness statements. You should obtain a copy of the report because you will need it when you file a claim with the owner’s insurance company.
- Shoes and other clothing. You want to keep the shoes you were wearing at the time of your accident and stop wearing them. They could be important if the business or property owner claims that you somehow caused your injuries. In addition, torn and bloodied clothing can be powerful evidence for the jury if your case goes to trial.
- Property ownership documents and lease agreements. You will need to obtain documents proving who owned the property and a copy of the lease if the negligent party rented the property. The lease could be essential in establishing who was responsible for maintaining and repairing the property and is liable in your case.
- Insurance policy. The negligent party’s insurance policy will help you establish that your injury is covered under the policy if this is in dispute. In addition, before you settle your claim, you need to know how much insurance coverage is available to compensate you for your losses.
- Medical records and bills. Medical records are crucial to establishing the seriousness of your injuries and the treatments that you received. The medical bills will help establish the medical expenses you incurred.
- Pay stubs and employment records. Your pay stubs and other employment documents can prove the amount of wages and other benefits of your job that you lost while you were off work recovering from your injuries.
- Witness statements. Witnesses who saw your accident can confirm how it happened. Statements and testimony can convince an insurance adjuster and jury of the liability of the negligent party. This is especially true if the witnesses are neutral third parties.
- Expert witnesses. You will need a medical expert to prove your injuries, the needed treatments, and your long-term prognosis. Depending on the disputes in your case and the seriousness of your injuries, you may need a flooring expert, economic expert, physical or occupational therapist, and other expert to prove negligence and your damages.
An experienced premises liability attorney can advise you on the specific types of evidence you should collect and can help you obtain it as part of his investigation of your claim. If you were injured in a premises liability accident, call Brauns Law today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.