Recovering financial compensation for a slip and fall accident requires proof of negligence in most cases. Unless your accident was the result of a product defect (i.e., you slipped and fell on a defective flooring surface), you will need proof of negligence to hold the property owner or tenant legally responsible. So, how can you prove negligence in a slip and fall case?
The Bakersfield slip and fall accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Mickey Fine have been helping victims of negligence for decades. The injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident can change your life forever. We can fight on your behalf to recover the maximum compensation you need to move forward.
Negligence: A Breach of the Property Owner’s or Tenant’s Duty of Care
Under California law, all property owners and tenants owe a duty of care to their visitors and guests. Section 1714(a) of the California Civil Code states, in part:
“Everyone is responsible . . . for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property . . . .”
If a property owner or tenant breaches the duty to exercise “ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property,” this breach of duty constitutes negligence. If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident that is the result of a property owner’s or tenant’s negligence, you can hire a Bakersfield slip and fall accident lawyer to help you seek just compensation.
Negligence in slip and fall accident cases can take many different forms. Some examples of negligence that may entitle you to seek just compensation for your injuries include:
- Failure to clean up a spill
- Failure to replace worn carpet, tile, or wood
- Failure to install anti-skid protection on stairs
- Failure to install or maintain handrails
- Failure to remove obstructions that force visitors or guests to walk in dangerous areas
Again, these are just examples. If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property due to any factor that was beyond your control, you should discuss your legal rights with an injury lawyer promptly.
Using Evidence to Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
When seeking financial compensation for a slip and fall accident, simply knowing that the property owner or tenant was negligent is not enough. Rather, you must be able to prove that both: (i) the property owner or tenant breached the duty of care imposed by Section 1714(a), and (ii) the property owner’s or tenant’s breach caused you to suffer injuries in a slip and fall.
1. Proving that the Property Owner or Tenant Breached the Duty of Care
Proving that the property owner or tenant breached the duty of care typically requires evidence from the scene of the accident. For example, let’s say you slipped on a spill in a supermarket. Some examples of evidence a lawyer may be able to use to prove negligence include:
- Any photos or videos you took with your phone
- Any photos or videos that witnesses recorded at the scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Evidence obtained during a subsequent on-scene investigation
In addition to evidence from the scene of the accident, your lawyer may be able to collect and use other forms of evidence as well. For example, depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer may be able to prove negligence using evidence such as:
- Surveillance camera footage
- The accident report (if you reported your accident and/or an employee prepared a report)
- Emails or text messages showing that the property owner or tenant was aware of the slip and fall hazard
- Property maintenance records
2. Proving that the Breach Caused You to Suffer Injuries in a Slip and Fall
Recovering financial compensation for a slip and fall accident also requires proof that the property owner’s or tenant’s breach caused your injuries. Oftentimes, insurance companies will defend against premises liability claims by disputing victims’ claims that their injuries are accident-related.
One of the best ways to prove that you suffered your injuries in an accident is to seek medical treatment as soon after the accident as possible. If you seek treatment right away, and if your medical records indicate that your injuries are consistent with a recent slip and fall, this can go a long way toward establishing your right to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Were you injured in a slip and fall accident in Bakersfield? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To discuss your legal rights with Bakersfield slip and fall accident lawyer Mickey Fine in confidence, call (661) 333-3333 or send us your contact information online now.