How Do I Prove Damages for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you obtain an injury in a slip and fall accident, it can affect many aspects of your life. Your injuries can prevent you from working, incur extensive medical bills, hinder your ability to do things you enjoy and cause physical pain and mental anguish.
When a hazardous situation causes you to fall and suffer bodily harm, you may be able to recover monetary compensation from the negligent person or entity. To help your chances of getting the financial damages you deserve, you must first prove the various components of your claim.
When you sustain injuries due to negligence as defined by Connecticut law, you have a right to seek compensation for your damages. Negligence is a legal argument you must prove to hold a business or person responsible for your suffering. Your slip and fall case claiming carelessness or oversight needs to establish four elements in court: a breach of duty, duty of care, causation and damages.
Breach of Duty
To prove a breach of duty, you must show the court that the defendant failed to behave how a “reasonable person” would act in a similar situation. The reasonable person standard is a legal measure the court applies to people accused of negligent actions to determine liabilty.
Everyone has a duty to act responsibly within the community. When people fail to behave rationally and cause harm to another person, the law may hold them liable for the damages. Often, a jury decides whether the defendant meets the reasonable person standard. If they feel an average person would have chosen a different course of action in your situation, it proves a breach of duty occurred in your case.
Duty of Care
Business owners have a legal obligation to maintain the safety of their properties for visitors, customers and guests. Owners must ensure that maintenance, inspections and necessary repairs occur regularly to prevent defective equipment, dangerous situations and potential hazards on site. Companies must also warn clients of any known dangers to avoid potential accidents.
Typically, people or organizations owe you a duty of reasonable care if they can logically expect mishaps resulting from their actions or lack of attention. You need to prove to the court it is reasonable that an accident would occur, given the conditions of your incident.
Next, you must provide evidence that the defendant’s actions or lack of care directly caused your slip and fall incident and bodily damages. Proving causation requires demonstrating how the business could have predicted a possible accident resulting from its actions. You need to show the court that your mishap would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the defendant’s behavior.
The fourth element you must prove involves your injuries. The defendant’s negligence must result in physical harm for the court to find the person liable. Typically, cases involve two kinds of damages: economic and non-economic.
- Economic damages include expenses such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages and rehabilitation therapies.
- Non-economic losses involve things like mental anguish, emotional pain and diminished quality of life.
To verify your negligence claim, you need to offer sufficient evidence to the court. You can prepare your case by gathering several types of proof.
Keep the medical bills of any relevant doctor visits, treatments and prescriptions. Even when people admit liability for your injuries, they may still dispute the amount they need to pay. You must add all of your relevant medical expenses plus any lost wages to show the court the exact amount of money you need to recover for your accident.
Suppose you successfully prove the other party was negligent using the four elements mentioned above. In that case, you will likely receive the money you need to cover the expenses resulting from their actions. You must come to court with the proper documentation to avoid a settlement that does not cover your bills. It does not matter if you pay the bills ahead of time or not. If the other person was legally negligent, you have a right to compensation either way.
Expert Witness Testimony
Typically courts consider witnesses unreliable because people tend to forget details or do not have a clear memory of the incident’s events. However, doctors have the knowledge, experience and professional reputation to back your claim with reliable evidence. When a doctor testifies in court on your behalf, the facts relayed can help prove your case.
The more tangible evidence you have, the better your chances are of getting the outcome you desire. Some types of proof you may want to offer in your claim include:
- Pictures of the location: If you can take photos of the scene showing factors contributing to your accident, this can help your case. Ask a witness to take the pictures if you cannot do so.
- National and local building code documentation: Look up building codes to see if the property owner violated the legal safety requirements.
- The clothing you wore when you fell: This can show signs of the injuries you sustained, like visible rips, blood or other noticeable damage. Your clothes can help prove the events you described in your slip and fall claim.
- Testimony from people who witnessed the event: People who saw what happened can help your case. Although these statements do not bear the same weight as expert witnesses, they still serve a purpose in corroborating your recollection of the events that led to your injuries.
- Any police reports filed about your injury case: These reports are admissible in your court case and may help establish your claim.
Slip and fall cases can have complex issues that require knowledge of personal injury laws in your state. With the experience of Gould Injury Law on your side, you will get help navigating the court process, meeting the legal deadlines and presenting the facts of your case. We aim to settle your case quickly so you can get paid as soon as possible. Call us today at 888-WIN-FAST for a free consultation.