Slips, trips and falls are all too common, often resulting in injuries. But how do you know if your slip and fall injury will hold up as a case? Every personal injury case is unique and involves specific case factors that come into play, but you can get a pretty good idea of how strong your case is by asking these four questions.
1. Was the Property in an Unsafe Condition?
After a slip and fall accident, you should always look for the cause of the fall. Once you locate the cause, take a picture to document it. If you cannot do so because of your injuries, ask a friend or family member to take some photos, ideally before anything has changed. A slip and fall attorney can use this as evidence to strengthen your case.
Wisconsin has a “safe-place statute,” which says that owners of public buildings or places of employment, not including farms or homes, must construct, repair and maintain the premises to be as free from danger to others as possible.
Safe-place cases recognize two broad categories of unsafe property conditions:
- Structural defects
- Unsafe conditions
Safe procedures include taking steps to eliminate the risk, and if it cannot be eliminated, place a guard or barrier around it. If it cannot be eliminated or guarded against, then provide appropriate warnings. In the context of a grocery store, for example, the store should prevent a freezer from leaking, and if it cannot do that, place barrier around the wet area, and if it cannot barricade the area, then place warning signs.
Liability for injuries caused by structural defects or unsafe conditions are often, but not always, imposed regardless if the owner is aware of them or not.
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2. Was the area Closed to Customers, and Was There a Warning Posted?
Not all structural defects and unsafe conditions can be fixed or barricaded within a short time period, even if a property owner immediately notices of the problem. A property owner should do everything in their power to notify and protect those on the property, including barricading off the hazardous area. If they cannot do so in a timely fashion, they should put up signs or caution tape. If they do so and someone still gets injured, then that owner is less likely to be at fault.
3. Were you Showing Ordinary Care?
Ordinary care is the term used to describe the care that a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances they are presented with. In the case of a slip and fall injury, both parties are responsible for showing ordinary care to keep themselves, and those on their property, safe.
Ordinary care responsibilities for a property owner includes, but is not limited to:
- Shoveling snow
- Salting icy spots
- Putting signs in clear view that alert people to risks
- Quickly cleaning up spils
- Fixing leaks as soon as possible
- Fixing structural damages
Ordinary care responsibilities for an individual includes, but is not limited to:
- Watching where they are walking
- Avoiding known dangerous conditions if possible
- Taking precautions if known dangerous conditions are unavoidable
If a person is found negligent for failing to exercise ordinary care for their own safety, the amount they are awarded for in damages can be reduced or or entirely eliminated.
4. What is the Resulting Slip and Fall Injury?
Minor scrapes and bruises may not be worth the trouble, but slips, trips and falls can often lead to serious injuries, complications and even death. The value of your slip and fall case will depend on how the accident affects your quality of life. To have a strong slip and fall case, you need the evidence to back it up.
Evidence to help win your slip and fall lawsuit:
- Accident/incident report
- Surveillance video
- Witness information
- Pictures of the unsafe area
- Medical bills
- Evidence that shows you needed time off work
- Wages you lost from not working
- Pictures of your injury
For more information on what you should do after a slip and fall accident, read this blog.
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How our Slip and Fall Lawyers Can Help
The slip and fall attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser prepare every case like it’s going to trial. We are here to help you, and that means going over every bit of information available to successfully negotiate a settlement in your favor. If a settlement cannot be reached, we will put your case into suit, which means we will be ready to fight for your fair compensation in a jury trial.
Our team can help you:
- Determine negligence and fault
- Manage witnesses and evidence for you case
- Deal with the insurance companies
- Manage medical bills
- Recover lost wages
- Recover for the injuries you may have sustained
- Receive compensation for pain and suffering
There is no charge for a phone or in-person meeting with a Murphy & Prachthauser attorney.
At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.
If you have a case you would like to speak to a Milwaukee slip and fall lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced team working on your behalf.