You will need more than your own word to recover damages after a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property.
A successful slip and fall case requires you to prove that the property owner or manager was negligent and that you were hurt because of that negligence. Typically, this means that a dangerous condition existed on the property that the property owner or manager knew about or should have known about, that you were not warned of the condition, and that you were injured.
Evidence to Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
First, you need to prove that the property owner or manager knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, did not fix the condition before you were hurt, and did not provide you with a reasonable warning about the risk. Some of the different types of evidence that could help you prove this include:
Photos and Videos
Date stamped photos and videos, often taken on cell phones or security cameras, provide essential evidence in slip and fall cases. If you are physically able to take pictures right after your fall, then it is important to take pictures of the accident scene from various angles and make sure that any surveillance video is preserved.
When a dangerous condition exists that causes a slip and fall resulting in an injury, the first instinct of the property owner or manager is to fix the condition so that it no longer exists. In a way, this action is good since it prevents someone else from being hurt. However, it can also be bad for your claim because the evidence of the dangerous condition is destroyed the moment the property owner fixes the problem.
If you cannot take the photographs yourself, have a friend or family member take them as soon as possible. Make sure to capture the exact spot where the accident took place, as well as a shot of the whole building or location, including the address for reference if possible.
Written Accounts of Your Injuries
Write down precisely what happened as soon as you can after your fall so that all of the details stay fresh in your mind. Additionally, you may keep a journal about your pain and how your injuries impact your activities.
Witnesses may include people who:
- Saw you fall or who were on the property shortly before or after your fall
- Built, repaired, or maintained the property
- Are often on the property, such as owners, employees, volunteers, guests, or customers
You may begin collecting witness information at the scene of the accident by taking down names and contact information from anyone who saw you fall. After your fall, your slip and fall injury lawyer can locate other witnesses who may be relevant to your claim.
Property or Business Records
These records may show when the property was inspected and how it was maintained. During the legal discovery process, your fall injury lawyer may request copies of the inspection, maintenance, and cleaning policies and logs to determine whether the property owner or manager took appropriate action to maintain a reasonably safe property.
Evidence to Prove Damages in a Slip and Fall Case
Evidence will prove both liability and the value of your injuries. If someone else caused your slip and fall injury and you have the evidence to prove it, you may be able to recover damages for your past and future:
Healthcare costs such as hospital bills, doctor bills, physical therapy bills, pharmacy bills, and other medical bills will need to be provided. Additionally, your doctor or expert witnesses may need to provide testimony or written evidence about your likely future medical bills.
Evidence of lost income may include tax returns, pay stubs, invoices, witness testimony related to anticipated raises or future income, and other evidence of what you haven’t been able to earn or will likely be unable to earn because of your injuries.
Pain and Suffering
Did you miss weddings, your kids’ activities, your long-planned vacation trip, visits with family and friends, or other events because of your injuries? You may need to prove that you participated in such things prior to your injury and evidence from your doctor that you could not participate in them after your injury.
Additionally, your medical records and personal diary may establish the value of your physical pain.
If you incurred any expenses such as property damage, transportation costs, or other damages, then you can provide the bills as evidence.
How to Preserve Evidence in a Slip and Fall Case
The business or property owner who caused your fall has some of the evidence you need to make a strong slip and fall claim. For example, you do not have easy access to the security camera footage or business records that could help you prove your case, but you can get the evidence you need even when it is in someone else’s control.
Your lawyer will identify the evidence and request it through the legal discovery process. The discovery process may include requests for the production of documents, depositions, and interrogatories.
Additionally, your lawyer may send a spoliation letter to prevent the defendant from deleting or getting rid of relevant evidence. Once a business or individual receives this letter, they have a legal duty to preserve evidence for potential litigation, and they may face legal consequences for destroying it.
How Much Evidence Do You Need After a Fall?
In Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, you have the burden of proof. You must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. You do not have to prove to the court that the defendant in your lawsuit was responsible for your injury with 100% certainty. Instead, you need to prove that the evidence establishes a greater than 50% likelihood that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury.
If you fail to provide sufficient evidence, then you may not get the fair recovery you deserve.
Don’t Let This Happen to You
Don’t let a preventable mistake keep you from getting fair compensation for your slip and fall injuries. Instead, learn how to protect your rights in a slip and fall case by providing evidence of your claim. You can start by contacting our experienced Midwest slip and fall lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation.