Trip and Fall Hazards

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 What are Slip, Trip, and Fall Cases?

Slip, trip, and fall cases are a specific category of personal injury claims. In these cases, a plaintiff alleges they suffered physical or emotional harm due to a defendant’s negligence.

There are two primary types of slip, trip, and fall cases: slip and fall cases, where a plaintiff slips on a wet, greasy, or slippery surface and subsequently falls and injures themselves; and trip and fall cases, where a plaintiff trips on an object, a stair, or some obstruction on a walking surface, such as a hole, causing them to fall and sustain injuries.

To successfully pursue a slip, trip, and fall lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the accident occurred due to the defendant’s negligence in maintaining the surface. If the plaintiff can prove negligence and injury, they may be awarded monetary damages for their injuries.

Who Can Be Sued in a Slip, Trip, and Fall Case?

Property owners can be held liable for injuries sustained by visitors on their premises in slip, trip, and fall cases.

Property owners must exercise a duty of care to ensure the safety of individuals who are reasonably foreseeable to encounter potential hazards on their property. This duty of care, which involves maintaining walking surfaces, stairs, or parking lots free of defects, debris, or foreign objects, is owed to individuals who visit the owner’s premises.

If the owner fails to remove or minimize hazards and injury occurs, the owner has acted negligently and can be sued.

What Must a Plaintiff Demonstrate to Prove Negligence?

To establish negligence in a slip, trip, and fall case, a plaintiff must prove four elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant had to exercise reasonable care towards the plaintiff. For example, a store owner must regularly inspect and maintain their property to ensure that there are no hazards that could cause harm to customers.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that duty through action or inaction. For example, a store owner fails to mop up a spill in the aisle for several hours, despite knowing about the hazard, which causes a customer to slip and fall.
  3. Causation: The breach resulted in injury to the plaintiff. For example, a customer slips and falls on the spill in the aisle, causing them to sustain a broken arm and requiring medical treatment.
  4. Damages: The plaintiff sustained verifiable damages. For example, the injured customer incurs medical expenses for treatment of their broken arm, has to take time off work to recover, and experiences pain and suffering due to the injury.

To succeed in a slip, trip, and fall claim, the plaintiff must prove all four of these elements. An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist in gathering evidence and presenting a compelling case to establish each element.

Even if the plaintiff proves the first three elements, they will not be able to recover damages unless they can also prove that the defendant’s breach led to an actual, verifiable injury.

How Does a Plaintiff Prove They Incurred Damages?

To receive monetary compensation for their injuries, a plaintiff must demonstrate that they are entitled to compensatory damages. These damages can be awarded for expenses incurred as a result of the injury, such as:

  • Medical or hospital treatment;
  • Prescription medication and medical equipment;
  • Home health care or nursing home care;
  • Lost income or lost wages;
  • Transportation expenses, such as ambulance fees; or
  • Physical or rehabilitative therapy.

A plaintiff must provide proof of these expenses through medical bills, receipts, pay stubs, and other relevant documentation.

There are several ways for you to obtain the necessary documentation to prove damages, including:

  1. Gathering Medical Bills and Records: You can request copies of your medical bills and records from your healthcare providers or hospitals where you received treatment. This documentation will provide evidence of the costs associated with medical treatment and any ongoing care required.
  2. Requesting Pay Stubs and Tax Returns: To demonstrate lost wages, you can request copies of your employer’s pay stubs or tax returns. This documentation will show the income you would have earned if not for the injury.
  3. Obtaining Receipts: If you have incurred out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury, such as transportation costs or home health care, you should keep all receipts and invoices related to these expenses. These documents can prove the expenses incurred and the need for compensation.

What Other Damages Can a Plaintiff Be Awarded?

In addition to compensatory damages, a plaintiff may be awarded non-economic damages, also known as general damages. These damages include compensation for emotional pain and suffering.

Expert medical testimony from a psychologist or psychiatrist is employed to establish the amount of damages for pain and suffering by providing a professional assessment of the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological condition.

This process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Evaluation: The psychologist or psychiatrist conducts a thorough evaluation of the plaintiff, which may include a clinical interview, psychological testing, and review of the plaintiff’s medical records. This evaluation aims to understand the extent and nature of the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological injuries resulting from the slip, trip, or fall incident.
  2. Diagnosis: Based on the evaluation, the expert will determine if the plaintiff suffers from any psychological disorders or conditions, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or adjustment disorders. These diagnoses help illustrate the severity of the plaintiff’s emotional distress.
  3. Causation: The expert must establish a causal link between the slip, trip, or fall incident and the plaintiff’s psychological injuries. They must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence directly led to the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological suffering.
  4. Impact on Daily Life: The psychologist or psychiatrist will describe how the plaintiff’s psychological injuries have affected their daily life, including their ability to work, engage in social activities, and maintain relationships. This helps to demonstrate the extent of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.
  5. Prognosis and Treatment: The expert will provide information on the plaintiff’s prognosis, which may include the need for ongoing therapy, medication, or other treatments. This helps to outline the expected duration and cost of the plaintiff’s psychological recovery.
  6. Expert Testimony: The psychologist or psychiatrist will present their findings in court, providing a detailed explanation of the plaintiff’s emotional and psychological condition, as well as the impact of the slip, trip, or fall incident on the plaintiff’s life. This testimony can be a powerful tool in establishing the value of non-economic damages for pain and suffering.

By utilizing expert medical testimony, a plaintiff can more effectively demonstrate the extent of their emotional pain and suffering, allowing the court to understand better and assess the appropriate amount of non-economic damages to be awarded.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Slip, Trip, and Fall Claims?

If you are involved in a slip, trip, and fall claim, it is advisable to consult with a qualified slip and fall attorney. An experienced slip-and-fall lawyer can review the details of your case, advise you on your rights and options, and represent you in hearings and court proceedings.

LegalMatch is an online legal matching service connecting clients with attorneys who can handle their specific legal issues.

If you require a slip and fall attorney, you can submit your case details to LegalMatch, and the platform will match you with attorneys in your area who have experience handling slip and fall claims. This service allows you to compare attorneys based on their qualifications, experience, and fees and choose the best fit for your needs.

Additionally, LegalMatch provides helpful resources and information to help you understand the legal process and navigate your slip-and-fall claim.

Use LegalMatch to find a lawyer for your claim today.

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