You may not know it, but when you enter a restaurant, grocery store, or other premises, you are entering into a type of social contract that the establishment will not purposely injure you. According to Cornell University School of Law, this is known as the “Duty of Care” and proving that a public establishment violated this duty of care is essential to proving your slip and fall case.
In the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area, it is necessary to determine that the property owner or other trusted official broke their duty of care and that your slip and fall injuries are a direct result of this broken contract. This is why it is so important to speak with a lawyer that specializes in slip and fall cases, because they have extensive knowledge and experience in proving these types of cases.
A property owner or business isn’t liable every time a person slips or falls on their property. For a property owner to be liable for a slip and fall injury, there usually must be some evidence of a dangerous condition or defect on the property that caused the slip and fall and the property owner must have known or should have known of this dangerous condition. This can be any kind of condition that is unsafe or poses a risk of harm to a person who is legally on the property.
In legal terms, it is important for the strength of your case to be able to “prove negligence.” What this means is that the owner or employee in charge of the establishment either caused the dangerous situation that led to your accident, or knew about its cause. An example of this might look like if an owner of a grocery store saw there was a large puddle of water and did nothing to clean it up. The owner was negligent in their duty of care, and might thus be liable for any damages sustained to someone who was injured as a result of that lapse in duty of care.
Another aspect that can help substantiate your case is how long the hazardous condition existed. There might have been witnesses to the hazardous condition and that the property owner or other responsible party likely knew about it and took no action to make the area safer.
For proving your case, witnesses, or any other documentation you can provide will be extremely important because anything your lawyer can do to help show that the owner or another party broke their duty of care will help prove negligence. Another example of documentation you can produce would be a video surveillance camera or photographs. Additionally, medical records, such as notes from a doctor and medical bills can also help prove negligence because they show that your injuries escalated to the level where you needed to seek medical care.
The last important thing to note is where your slip and fall accident occurred within the Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia area. DC, Maryland and Virginia are states that have strict “contributory negligence” laws. This means it may be more difficult to award you financial compensation for your injuries if you are found to be partially at fault for those injuries. Even if you are found only 1% at fault you may not be entitled to any compensation due to your contribution to the accident.
Proving negligence in a slip and fall cause has its nuances. Speak with a skilled attorney as soon as you are able. It is important to work with a team that has an excellent track record for proving slip and fall cases in the Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia area so you can focus on your healing and your recovery. With over 30 years of experience in personal injury litigation, Regan Zambri Long PLLC can advise you on your legal options.