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Establishing Fault In Slip-and-fall Accidents

By Author: David Drexler
Total Articles: 13

Falls due to an uneven sidewalk or a greasy floor can cause serious injury. Negligent building maintenance may be to blame; hire a lawyer to investigate it.

While pratfalls have been the stuff of slapstick humor for generations, real life slip-and-fall accidents are no joke in real life. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that falls on the job account for five percent of workplace fatalities for women and 11 percent for men. Hospital ER visits count eight million due to slip-fall incidents per year, and that five percent of all falls involve a bone fracture. Of note, slip-falls are the single leading cause of lost days from work.

Whether a slip and fall accident occurs at the work place or public place, it is vital to contact a slip and fall lawyer who specializes in premises liability cases, especially if there is serious injury. Not all personal injury attorneys handle slip and fall cases and ones that do are also called "premises liability attorneys" or even "trip and fall lawyers".

When such accidents occur in the workplace, it is typically easier to identify the cause and know where to place blame thanwhen this type of accident happens in a public place. Regardless of whether a premises is maintained by a private or public entity, tracing the cause of a fall may be a bit more challenging than in the controlled environment of a factory floor or office building.

Identifying the cause of the accident is very important: It can affect the ability of the injured person to seek compensation for the cost and pain of injuries. Medical expenses (including long-term therapeutic care), lost time from work and chronic pain can significantly impact a person’s life and that of their dependents. The litigation process requires establishing fault for injuries, which is not always easy to do.

There are at least three key factors that can help the injured party establish that the trip and fall was due to negligence on the part of property owners or managers:

Document the details - The most convincing evidence is where the hazard is plainly evident. If, for example, a walkway was poorly maintained such that a pedestrian could easily catch a foot on an irregular rise or drop in a paver, a judge or jury can see it was a hazardous condition through photos, videos and measurements.

Obtain witness testimony - If there is a person or persons who witnessed the accident, or who knew of property owner negligence in addressing the hazard, this can strengthen your case.

Identify prior complaints - If others previously cited the physical features believed to have caused your accident, it serves to further document that the hazard existed and that your accident was not due to anything you did.

Once fault is established, the slip and fall lawyer working on behalf of the injured individual must then tie the accident to the physical injury and to the costs from that injury. Because establishing fault depends on finding the cause and fault - before the hazard is rectified - it is wise to contact a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.

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