Current statistics establish that slip & fall injuries are one of the leading reasons for you, or a family member, to visit the hospital emergency room. In many instances, you or a family member are injured in a slip & fall accident on someone else’s property, and the cause is due to the fault of another. In these cases, it’s vitally important that you fully understand your legal rights.
There are times that your injuries are minor, but many accidents cause broken bones, disabling back injuries, and even TBIs (traumatic brain injuries). Your medical bills can skyrocket into thousands of dollars, and you may even need treatment for the rest of your life. In many of these slip & fall cases, you are rightfully and legally entitled to fair compensation to recover the money for medical treatment, recovery, lost wages, and more. You also may require these funds to recover and get your life back fully.
One of the first things you and your Raleigh slip and fall lawyer need to prove is precisely who is at fault for your accident. Commonly, to establish a valid negligence claim for your slip and fall case, you must demonstrate that:
- The business or property owner owed you a duty and failed to fulfill the obligation.
- Failure to satisfy the obligation caused or contributed to your injuries.
- You suffered measurable damages due to their negligence, which caused your injury.
If you, and your lawyer, file a lawsuit, there is always the chance that it may be settled before going to trial. If not, and your lawyer doesn’t feel you are being treated fairly, then your case will go to trial, and a judge or jury will determine fault.
The fault must be proven by using evidence such as employees’ statements, witness statements, video recordings, or photographs of the scene.
To prove fault in a slip and fall claim, you will need to show that the property owner was negligent regarding their duty to maintain the safety of their property. Your evidence will show that the owner should have known about the physical hazard or dangerous situation on the property and taken steps to correct it promptly.
It’s important to note that slip and fall accidents can affect you temporarily or for the rest of your life. Medical treatment, recovery of lost wages, and even the inability to work can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consulting with an experienced, empathetic Raleigh slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible helps to protect your legal rights and financial future.
What Should I Do To Help Prove Who Is At Fault in My Slip & Fall Case?
The following are a few essential things you must do to obtain compensation for the treatment you need to recover and thrive. If you cannot do these things, then enlist the help needed the best you can.
- Identify exactly what happened and caused your accident – Write down your thoughts (or, if needed, have someone document them) as soon as possible and do this at the scene. Accurate and firsthand information is invaluable and can aid the medical team in treating you and providing valuable information to your lawyer.
- Take photos and get the names and contact information of witnesses – These accounts could also help in your treatment and help you to prove exactly what occurred. Again, you may not do this yourself, so have a friend or someone at the scene help the best they can.
- If you are outside, note the weather and lighting conditions – These conditions may have contributed to you having the accident, and they need to be documented.
- Make notations of any dangerous circumstances at the scene – Examples of these would be water puddles, broken or uneven pavement, debris, etc.
- Warning signs for hazardous conditions or the absence of warning signs – If unsafe conditions did contribute or even cause your accident, it’s significant to note whether the hazards are marked or not.
It’s very important to note that North Carolina is a “Contributory Negligence State,” so your slip & fall lawyer must have the “ammunition” or evidence they need to prove your case.
What Is a Contributory Negligence State, & How Does That Affect My Case?
Proving fault in North Carolina is critical because this is a contributory negligence state.
In almost all other states, you may be able to recover partial damages for your accident if you were even partially at fault. However, North Carolina is one of the very few states in which a defendant can completely deny you damages if you were even slightly responsible for your accident.
So, the experience of your Raleigh slip & fall lawyer takes on even more importance if you want to receive what you rightfully deserve. All accident and personal injury cases are different, and so are the specifics of your case. However, you will likely be required to defend yourself against claims that your negligence contributed to the accident. This is an extraordinarily complex personal injury law legal area in North Carolina. Still, your knowledgeable slip & fall lawyer will know how to navigate it, giving you the best outcome possible.
Are There Any Exceptions To the Contributory Negligence Rule?
Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, and your lawyer will make sure to seek them out and apply them. After analyzing your case, and its details, exceptions to the rule may be applied.
An example of an exception would be “gross negligence or willful and wanton conduct” on the property or business owner.
Gross negligence would occur when the property or business owner acts with a conscious disregard for the safety of others. “Willful and wanton conduct” means they consciously and intentionally disregarded the safety of others in a way that they knew (or should have known) would likely result in injury.
I Do Need To File a Slip & Fall Lawsuit; How Should I Proceed?
Even a simple slip & fall accident could end up having long-term effects on your life. If you’ve suffered from a slip and fall, accurate, professional legal insight is vital in determining your next move. The Raleigh Law Offices of Laura S. Jenkins has the experience, negotiation skills, and legal team to help make sure you get back on the right path to secure your health and obtain the finances to do so. Consult with them immediately and accept the legal representation you and your family deserve.