Proving Fault in Work Accidents or Slip and Fall Injuries
It can be hard to focus on the measures that need to be taken in order to prove that someone else is at fault. Accidents are scary and, if you have been injured, getting the proper medical attention is your first priority. After a slip and fall incident or work accident, you surely have a lot of things on your mind. It’s important to know, however, that in a personal injury case, the person seeking compensation is responsible for showing proof of fault.
If you are considering filing a personal injury suit, help your attorney build a winning case by collecting the right evidence.
Why Evidence Is Important in Personal Injury Cases
Collecting and preserving evidence from the accident is key to proving fault. Unfortunately, the injured person has the burden of proof when filing a suit against the person at fault. And insurance companies know this. You must demonstrate what happened, how another person or business was responsible, and how it negatively affected you. Your lawyer will need evidence in order to prove that a person or business was liable or negligent and is, therefore, responsible for paying for any related injury or damage.
General Personal Injury Cases
In order to meet the burden of proof in a personal injury case, your attorney will need proof:
- Supporting your version of the work accident or fall, AND
- Showing that your physical injury or psychological suffering is real and was not a pre-existing condition, AND/OR
- Demonstrating that wages or income has been lost as a result of the accident.
More specifically, for personal injury cases involving work-related accidents, the case will be stronger if your attorney can prove that:
- You weren’t in a restricted area or somewhere you weren’t supposed to be when the accident happened.
- You couldn’t have reasonably expected what caused the accident.
- You weren’t being careless when the accident occurred at work.
- You were engaged in normal work activities when the accident happened.
- The property owner, employer or another employee was negligent in some way that caused the accident.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Similarly, for personal injury cases involving slip and fall accidents, the case will be stronger if your attorney can prove that:
- You weren’t in a restricted area or somewhere you weren’t supposed to be when the fall happened.
- You couldn’t have reasonably expected the flooring to be slippery.
- You weren’t careless or distracted when he/she fell.
- The dangerous area was not adequately marked or that no warning signs were posted.
- Standard safety measures were not followed.
- The property owner or employer could have reasonably recognized a dangerous condition.
- The property owner or employer failed to prevent injury by fixing or restricting access to the dangerous area or by posting signage about the risk.
Signs of Negligence & Liability
A key factor in personal injury civil suits is the question of ‘reasonability.’ The goal in these types of cases is to show that they were responsible for the accident because they failed to act “reasonably.” By not taking the reasonable precautions an owner or employer was negligent in causing a fall or an injury sustained at work. And, therefore, they are responsible for the related damages and expenses.
To prove this, an injured person and his/her attorney must show how a particular property owner or employer was negligent and liable. Signs of this may include the following.
Failure to Prevent Injury
Property owners and employers must take precautions to prevent injury caused by any reasonably identifiable hazards. This may include removing or fixing the problem. It may require preventing access or setting up a barrier around the dangerous area to prevent people from falling or otherwise getting hurt. If there was enough time, and these steps weren’t taken, it could be a sign of negligence.
Lack of Warning
Preventing workplace injury and slip and fall accidents may also include posting signs to warn others of the potential risk. If there was ample time to put up warning signs, and it wasn’t done, this could be a sign of negligence.
Poor Building Maintenance
Hazardous conditions resulting from a lack of reasonable upkeep could be a sign of negligence which caused injury or a fall.
Factors that may have contributed to an unsafe environment where the injury occurred can be a sign of negligence. These include, icy pavement, spilled liquids, bad lighting, as well as tripping hazards like chords, uneven flooring, potholes, trash and clutter.
If an employee is injured because the equipment used on the job is damaged or not reasonably maintained, the owner or employer may have been negligent.
Property owner or their employees may be found liable for general carelessness. For example, if hazardous materials or equipment are left out in the open, it would be reasonable to say that they should have foreseen an accident.
Have you been injured in an accident or at work? Find out When You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney.
Types of Evidence to Collect in Personal Injury Cases
In order to prove fault in a personal injury case, you – as the person seeking damages – will need strong evidence. This can include things like medical records, doctors’ bills, pictures of the accident and damages and witness testimony.
To support a work accident or fall injury claim, it’s smart to collect all the related medical documentation. First, seek medical attention right away to verify the date of injury and onset of pain. In court, you may need to prove that it was not a pre-existing condition, but health complications from the injury or fall.
Then, keep your subsequent bills for doctors, x-rays, test results and medical records. You should also keep documentation of any necessary physical therapy, home nursing assistance, medical devices and mobility aids.
Physical evidence such as photographs can help prove fault in personal injury cases. If it’s possible, take pictures of the hazard and context which caused the accident or fall. You can also take photographs of any physical injury or marks on your body to use as evidence.
A passerby or fellow employee who saw the dangerous situation or your accident can help support your case. If there were witnesses around when you got hurt, ask for their contact information. You or your lawyer can contact them shortly after the fall or injury to ask for their version of the events.
Any record written up by an employee regarding the accident would be considered witness testimony in a personal injury suit.
Workplace Controls and Reports
Most businesses have a policy regarding routine checks, maintenance and reports. Written documentation of the problem and failure to address could help prove fault.
Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Property owners and employers must ensure the safety of a building used by employees and the public. If someone’s negligence has caused you to get injured or loose work, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Find an experienced personal injury lawyer who will fight for fair compensation. Call Amourgis & Associates at (800) 444-1967 or contact us online.