How Can I Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case?
To have a strong valid claim in a slip and fall case, you need to prove that the property owner (or someone the property owner is responsible for) was negligent. That person either failed to make the area safe for visitors or did something to create a hazard that made the area unsafe.
You’ll need clear evidence that demonstrates the action or inaction that led to your slip and fall accident. You also need evidence that shows who was negligent and which parties are liable for your damages.
Fortunately, you don’t have to handle these tasks on your own. A Nevada personal injury lawyer can help you gather this evidence and use it to build a strong claim against all liable parties. Contact our firm today for help with your slip and fall accident case.
What Negligence Looks Like in a Slip and Fall Case
Negligence is defined as the failure to behave reasonably in a situation to prevent damage or harm to another. Someone can commit negligence by acting carelessly or recklessly, or by failing to act with the same level of “reasonable care” that another person in their situation would have.
In slip and fall cases, negligence may include:
- A property owner not putting up warning signs to indicate a hazard in a walking area
- An employee causing a spill and failing to clean it up completely or in a timely manner
- A maintenance worker failing to put up a “wet floor” sign in a just-mopped area
- A homeowner not fixing a broken step on their deck
- A landlord not clearing a walking path at an apartment building
Elements of Negligence
There are three main elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care: In a slip and fall case, the duty of care refers to a property owner’s responsibility to maintain a hazard-free property or do due diligence to warn visitors of hazards.
- Breached Duty of Care: When a property owner fails to keep their property safe or warn visitors of unavoidable hazards, they breach their duty of care and can be found negligent.
- Causation: This negligence led to your slip and fall accident, the injuries you sustained, and the economic and non-economic damages you’ve suffered.
Negligence vs. Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
In general, you must prove that the property owner failed to uphold their duty of care to you in your slip and fall case. But what if the property owner did not directly commit negligence themselves in your case? You likely still have a negligence claim for your slip and fall accident if you can prove the following parties directly caused your accident:
- Other patrons or visitors
- Third-party contractors
In most cases where an employee or another guest caused a hazard and that hazard caused a slip and fall accident, the employee or guest would not be liable. The business owner would. That’s because a business owner is generally responsible for the actions of their employees.
When it comes to third-party contractors like landscapers or maintenance workers that a property owner has paid as a service provider and not as an employee, the property owner may not be liable or may share liability with the third-party contract business. This depends on what the hazard was and whether it was also the property owner’s responsibility.
A Las Vegas slip and fall attorney can help you determine all the liable parties in your slip and fall case.
Potential Liable Parties
You may be able to prove that one or more of these parties are liable for your slip and fall accident:
- Property owners, like an office building owner, retail building owner, landlord, superintendent, or homeowner
- Tenants, such as residential renters or a business renting a retail space
- Third-party businesses, like a landscaping company or maintenance service provider
- Third-party manufacturers that designed, made, and distributed defective features of a building, like stairs, railings, and flooring
Theories of Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
There are two general theories of liability that you can use to prove negligence and liability in a slip and fall case:
- A responsible party knew or should have known about the hazard and thus should have adequately addressed or fixed the hazard before the injury occurred.
- A responsible party caused the hazard and failed to adequately address or fix the hazard before the injury occurred.
Why You Have to Prove Negligence for a Successful Slip and Fall Claim
A slip and fall case involves holding negligent property owners and other liable parties accountable for their careless actions (or inaction). But not every slip and fall accident is the result of a property owner’s (or other liable party’s) negligence. These accidents don’t fall under premises liability and don’t have strong claims against a property owner.
For instance, if someone trips on their shoelaces, falls, and gets injured while walking in the mall, they likely don’t have a strong claim because there were no hazards within the property owner’s control.
On the other hand, if someone wearing properly tied shoes slips on a puddle or trips on a cord while walking in the mall, they may have a valid slip and fall injury claim against the property owner because the injury was caused by a hazard within the owner’s control.
How to Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
These three steps can help prove negligence in your slip and fall case:
- Seek medical attention: Document your injuries from the accident so you can better link your damages to the slip and fall accident. Keep copies of medical reports.
- Gather evidence of the hazard that caused your accident: Take photos or video of the area where your slip and fall accident occurred, making sure to show that the hazard existed, whether there was signage, the quality of lighting, and other important environmental factors. Ask witnesses for their contact information so you can get their statements later. Obtain closed-circuit TV footage of the accident if you can.
- Determine whether the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard: Were there warning signs around the hazard? Had an employee been dispatched to address the hazard? Were there precautions taken to warn and divert visitors away from the hazard? Was the hazard the result of a maintenance issue that would have been spotted with reasonable care?
A personal injury lawyer practicing in premises liability law can gather all the evidence, reconstruct your accident, and fight to prove negligence in your case.
We Can Help You Prove Negligence in Your Slip and Fall Case
At De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers, we know how challenging it can be to gather the evidence you need to make a strong claim in a slip and fall case. We understand the premises liability laws in Nevada and the kinds of evidence you need for a strong claim.
We’re dedicated to handling the complex and time-consuming process on behalf of victims and their families so they can focus on healing. Let our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers take the stress of your legal claim right off your shoulders. Contact our office today to schedule your confidential case evaluation with a member of our team.