In a slip and fall case, fault or liability is determined by the court based on the evidence presented by the plaintiff (the person bringing the claim) and the defendant (the property owner or occupier).
This may sound simple but there’s much more involved such as:
Evidence Must be Provided
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a legal duty to maintain the property in a safe condition and that this duty was breached, causing the plaintiff’s injuries.
The plaintiff must also prove that the injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s negligence.
To prove a slip and fall case, the plaintiff must provide evidence that:
- The property owner or occupier had a legal duty to maintain the property in a safe condition
- The property owner or occupier breached this duty by failing to address a hazardous condition or warning of the danger
- The hazardous condition was the cause of the plaintiff’s fall and injuries
The Type of Evidence Used
Some types of evidence that may be used to prove these elements include:
- Photos or videos of the hazardous condition and the surrounding area, taken as soon as possible after the incident
- Medical records and bills related to the injuries sustained in the fall
- Eyewitness testimony of the fall and the hazardous condition
- Maintenance records or other documents that may show when the property owner was aware of the hazardous condition and when it was fixed
It is important to note that the standard of proof and the specific elements required to prove a slip and fall case may vary depending on the jurisdiction. A slip and fall lawyer can help you understand the laws and requirements in your state and help you build a strong case.
Determination of Fault
The court will consider the evidence presented by both parties and make a determination of fault based on the law and the facts of the case. In some cases, the court may find that both parties were at fault, which can affect the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff.
It is important to note that depending on the jurisdiction and the facts of the case, the property owner’s insurance company can also be involved in determining fault.
Insurance Company Involvement
When a claim is made, the insurance company will investigate the incident by gathering information about the fall and the condition of the property at the time of the incident. This may include taking statements from the parties involved, interviewing witnesses, reviewing any available surveillance footage, and inspecting the property.
The insurance company will use the information gathered during the investigation to determine whether the property owner was negligent and whether the claim is covered under the policy.
If the insurance company determines that the property owner was negligent and the claim is covered, they will typically offer to settle the case by paying a certain amount of money to the plaintiff to compensate for the injuries and damages sustained. However, if the insurance company determines that the property owner was not negligent or that the claim is not covered, they will deny the claim.
It is important to note that an insurance company’s primary goal is to minimize their payout, so they may try to challenge the claim or offer a low settlement. This is why it is important to have a good legal representation when dealing with a slip and fall case and insurance company.