This week on Legal Break, Gary Bruce discusses what to if you are involved in a slip and fall. First priority is to make sure you’re physically ok. It is helpful to get a report of the incident completed to document everything, including witnesses. Photographs are best, particularly if you can see the cause of the accident, or a lack of warning signs in the area. It is also important to try and determine the specific cause your fall and document the evidence which supports that conclusion.
In order to establish a cause of action, your lawyer will have to prove, more likely than not, that the injured party fell due to a lack of diligence of the store – that is, prove that the store owner knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to warn its customers. An exception exists if warning signs were placed around the hazard and a customer falls after knowing of the hazard. That is not always a defense, but it can be a defense to liability. Facts are important in slip & fall cases and can they can be tricky. We advise against giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster without consulting a lawyer. To see common questions other people have about slip & fall accidents, read our Slip & Fall FAQs.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident or have questions about your options, please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-576-1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a confidential meeting and free consultation.
Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues this is legal break with attorney Gary Bruce.
Maureen: Hello there Maureen Akers here with Gary today. Gary thank you so much for joining us.
Gary: It’s good to be here again, thank you!
Maureen: We’re here to talk about topics that we see out there in the news. I think this has been in the news some, slip-and-fall. What should I do if a slip and falls happened to me?
Gary: If you do fall, of course, make sure you’re okay before you get up. After that, make sure you do a report. We see sometimes people leave and have to come back and there’s some confusion maybe about where it happened or what happened. Like everything these days, take a photograph. Here’s the deal, figure out why you fell because sometimes I hear from people “I don’t really know why, I had something wet on me” but look around see if there might have been some flowers being stopped or a cart down the way that that dripped – if there’s some reason, all of that really matters. I mean you don’t just get a recovery, you don’t get your medical bills paid, you don’t have a case unless you meet certain legal requirements.
Maureen: Okay and speaking of that, what do I need to prove that I might have a case?
Gary: You need to prove that the owner of the property knew or should have known of a hazard that they failed to warn you of. Okay so what does that mean? Well if there’s yellow signs everywhere and they’ve been mopping, well you’re not probably not going to have a case, I mean you’re being warned of a problem that they created. Right but if they’re mopping and there’s no warning, then that’s when people fall and then there is liability on the on the owner or the operator of the store or property.
So here’s the best case liability wise I think I ever had was years ago, the store is out of business, but these kids went into a store and poured STP on the floor. The manager saw them pour the STP on the floor and went out with a mop and tried to clean it up. She just took what was a problem this big and made it this big and then left with no signs and my client fell in it. They not only knew about the problem but made it worse and failed to warn – that was a good case.
Bad cases would be a baby drips his bottle while sitting in the cart. You know the store doesn’t have any real way to know that’s happening, so unless somebody’s in the area and sees it happen, there’s probably not liability for that kind of situation. So, facts are very important – find out who the witnesses are, take photographs, document things, and then you know get well.
Maureen: Yeah absolutely and possibly contact an attorney then if you need that extra help right
Gary: If you need a lawyer, calling early on is better so we can preserve videos to make sure evidence doesn’t get destroyed that might be useful later on.
Maureen: Wonderful, thank you so much Gary we’ll see on the very next legal break!
To learn more information on when you have a case after a fall, read our most frequently asked questions.