Slipping on a banana peel may be an old sight gag that's done for laughs, but real-life slips, trips, and falls are no laughing matter. They can leave people with shattered bones and fractured lives.
If you're ever the victim of a slip and fall that's been caused by someone's negligence, you'll probably eventually find yourself in an attorney's office. Before you do, it's helpful to know what kind of evidence a case needs to be successful. Here's what you should know.
Courts Need To See Evidence Of Negligence
One of the biggest things that will help your case is evidence that the store or homeowner had either actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard that caused your fall. Actual knowledge means evidence that someone working in the store or the homeowner knew about the dropped fruit, broken step, or other danger. Constructive knowledge means that the hazard had been there long enough that someone certainly should have known about the danger—if they were taking reasonable care of the place.
This is such an important issue that it can literally make or break your case. For example, an Indiana Walgreens was able to successfully defend against a slip-and-fall case by a woman who allegedly slipped on some water on the floor. The court found that the woman was unable to prove if the water had been there long enough for the store employees to have any actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. On the other hand, an Alabama man was able to win his case against a Walmart because security footage showed that the danger that caused his fall had been there a while and even already endangered others!
Things like witness statements and security footage are so important to a case that it's impossible to overstate it. However, those things can be difficult—or impossible—o get weeks and months after an accident. They're also hard for a layperson to get on their own. That makes it important to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer sooner, rather than later.
You're Probably Wearing Other Important Evidence
The other most important evidence you'll need is probably right on your body. It's helpful if someone—a friend or relative that's with you when you fall—can take photos of the scene with you in it so that you have proof of what you were wearing. Your clothing may contain smears of whatever caused your fall—especially if it was something like oil, spilled syrup, or crushed fruit.
Your shoes are also important. If you're alleging that the store or homeowner was solely at fault for your slip, you may need to show that you were wearing footwear that was appropriate for the occasion.
Keep in mind that physical evidence is only one part of a good case, however. An experienced attorney can help you with the rest. Contact a law firm like Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA for additional information.