Establishing Liability in a Slip and Fall Case – Causation
In order to make a defendant liable for your injuries, you must prove that the defendant’s negligent conduct caused your injuries to occur. While this concept appears relatively simple, as your First Coast personal injury attorney will tell you, proving causation is one of the biggest hurdles to negotiate in litigating a slip and fall case.
Hazard Must Be Caused by Defendant’s Negligence
In slip and fall cases, you cannot succeed by showing merely that a hazard caused an injury. You must also show that the defendant’s negligent conduct caused the hazard to be present. In many cases, the causal link between the hazard and your injuries is obvious, but proving the hazard was the result of the defendant’s negligence is far more difficult.
For instance, you may suffer a broken ankle after slipping on a wet substance on the floor at the supermarket and file a lawsuit against the owner of the supermarket. In all likelihood, your First Coast personal injury attorney will have little difficulty proving that you broke your ankle in the fall—that is, that the wet floor caused you to fall and break your ankle.
However, this fact, on its own, is not enough to establish liability. Your First Coast personal injury attorney must also show that the wet spot on the floor was present because of the owner’s negligence. To do this, he or she must show that the owner had a duty to maintain the store in a safe condition, and he or she failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure that there were no hazards present. Further, he or she must show that the owner’s failure to take reasonable precautions caused the wet spot to exist, thereby causing your fall.
How a First Coast Personal Injury Attorney Gathers Evidence
If you retain a First Coast personal injury attorney, he or she will conduct investigation and gather evidence aimed at establishing the defendant’s negligence caused your injury. He or she will conduct witness interviews, obtain video tape of the accident, and review any documents relating to the defendant’s maintenance records and procedures for maintaining the premises in a safe condition. If your attorney can establish that the defendant did not have adequate inspection procedures in place, you will probably be able to show the defendant’s conduct created the hazard, thereby causing your injury.
If you need representation in your slip and fall case, please contact First Coast personal injury attorney John Fagan today for a free initial consultation.