Have you been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident while inside a business? If so, you need to ask yourself some important questions about who exactly is responsible for your injury. Depending on the conditions of your accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the business owner.
When Is A Store Liable For Your Restitution?
While it is very possible to slip and fall inside a business all on your own, some accidents may actually be the legal fault of the owner. Business owners have a responsibility to keep their buildings safe for public entry under the law, so a failure to maintain safe premises can be classified as negligence. If your accident was due to any of the following circumstances, you may be able to build a slip-and-fall compensation case against the business:
- Your injuries resulted from the negligent actions of a business employee, such as accidental shoving, hitting, or injury due to badly operated machinery.
- Dangerous conditions such as bumpy or damaged flooring, poor lighting, wet floors, and other hazards were ignored by the employees and ultimately resulted in your accident.
- The hazardous conditions that caused your injuries existed unknown to the employees and owner when a reasonable person ought to have realized the danger and fixed the situation.
If any of these sound like your situation, your accident may be partially the fault of the business you were visiting. In fact, even when the business employees themselves do not directly cause hazards to form, they can still be held responsible for not addressing them in a timely manner.
What Evidence Is Required To Prove Fault?
Your lawyer can help you identify specific pieces of evidence that will be necessary to prove negligence on the part of the business owner or employees, but in general you can expect to need to prove several basic things about your case:
The Location: In some cases, you may need to prove that the accident took place on the business premises. This can be tricky if your fall occurred just outside of the business's doors, or in the parking lot. Determining responsibility for your accident may also be complex in situations where the business location is a part of a larger privately owned property, such as a mall. Photo evidence and witness testimony are typically sufficient proof of location.
Reasonable Awareness: You must also be able to demonstrate that employees were aware of the hazard or could reasonably be expected to have been aware of it in order to place legal responsibility for your injuries on the business owner. Typically this is accomplished by reviewing surveillance tapes and interviewing witnesses who were present at the scene of your accident.
Sustained Injuries: The business owner may claim that your injuries were not a result of the fall and that you had them previously, which would void your accident compensation. Testimony from your doctor and surveillance footage of the incident can be helpful to proving your previously healthy state, and witness testimony is also useful if you were visibly injured just after falling.
How Can You Ensure Sufficient Compensation Is Awarded?
Once you have proven that the business is liable for your injuries, you still need to prove the amount for which they are liable. Business owners may try to argue you don't need as much compensation as you claim in order to pay as little as possible, so you'll need plenty of evidence to the extent of the damages. Your lawyer can help you assemble the required paperwork, but the court will likely require the following items before it includes relevant expenses in your compensation:
- Hospital bills to prove current medical debt.
- Doctor's testimony as to future medical costs, if any.
- Expert testimony from a psychiatrist as well as witness testimony from family and friends to the extent of pain and suffering, if you choose to include it in your claim.
- Pay stubs and possibly employer testimony to demonstrate the value of lost wages.
- Receipts for any travel or other necessary expenses incurred in the course of your recovery and civil suit.
- Documentation of court fees and other legal costs.
In extreme cases of neglect, when it is obvious a business has gone above and beyond in terms of dangerous conditions, you may also be awarded punitive damages. These damages are not based on any concrete number relevant to your side of the case, but instead serve to punish the business owner, so predicting whether you will receive them and how much they will total is virtually impossible.
If you've been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident and you believe a business owner is liable for your injuries, don't hesitate to get in touch with a legal professional. With the right evidence and a good lawyer, you may be able to get the restitution you need to get back out of debt and continue with your life as normal. Continue for additional info.