Ultimately, recovering compensation for the damages you have sustained in a slip and fall accident comes down to proving negligence on the part of the property owner or another individual responsible for keeping the premises safe. Proving negligence, however, is not always simple.
The fact that you were hurt by a dangerous condition on someone’s property also does not automatically entitle you to compensation under the law. Hazardous conditions by themselves do not automatically mean a property owner was negligent.
Instead, you must prove that the property owner failed to uphold their duties to you as a visitor to the property, and that this failure directly led to your injuries. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to seek qualified legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can investigate on your behalf and pursue fair compensation from the negligent party or parties.
Was the Property Owner Negligent?
To understand how a lawyer proves negligence in a slip and fall case, it is important to understand what is legally considered “negligence.” Property owners have a duty of care under the law to keep their properties reasonably safe. This duty generally includes:
- Inspecting the property regularly
- Resolving hazards quickly
- Addressing potential risks
- Warning visitors who are on the property of hazards that are not cleaned up, repaired, or removed promptly
The presence of a hazard on a property does not automatically constitute negligence. Whether it’s a wet floor, a broken step, a slippery parking lot, or a burned out lightbulb, dangerous conditions can develop through no fault of the property owner. Generally, it is not reasonable to expect that a property owner can fully mitigate risks or rectify them immediately.
That said, property owners must be diligent in how they manage hazards and risks. If they are careless, and that carelessness leads to accidents and injuries, they could be held liable.
Did Negligence Result in a Hazardous Condition?
There are a few different ways negligence can result in a hazardous condition:
- If the owner or an employee created the hazard
- If the owner or an employee knew about the hazard but did nothing
- If the owner or an employee should have known about the hazard but did nothing
While some slip and falls are clearly caused by negligence, this is not always the case – especially when considering what an owner or employee should have known. In this situation, your lawyer will need to investigate and present evidence that the property owner or occupant should have reasonably foreseen the hazard or condition that led to the accident.
Timely investigation is crucial for building a strong slip and fall case. It is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The following steps can also help you protect your right to compensation from a negligent property owner:
What to Do After a Slip and Fall
After any serious accident, the first thing you should always do is receive the appropriate medical treatment for your injuries. Not only is this important for your health and well being, but it is also crucial for pursuing compensation.
Your medical records will document the nature and extent of your injuries, which your lawyer can use to build your claim. In addition, if you attempt to recover compensation for injuries that you didn’t have treated right away, the property owner’s insurance company may argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
It is also important to report the accident to the property owner as soon as possible. The owner or manager of a residential building, commercial business, or government property may ask you to fill out a form describing the slip and fall. Stick to the facts when completing this form, as you do not want to offer information that may undermine your injury claim.
You should also begin working with an attorney to start building your case as soon as possible. The sooner an attorney can begin investigating the slip and fall, the better the chance of collecting crucial evidence and building a strong case.
After receiving notice of the slip and fall, the property owner may fix the hazard. Without evidence to the contrary, they may claim that the hazard did not exist or you contributed to the accident.
The statute of limitations in Nebraska for slip and falls and other injury claims is four years from the date of the incident. It is important, however, to take action as soon as possible to preserve your rights and recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Slip and Fall Lawyers Today
Due to the complexity of slip and fall cases, accident victims need to work with experienced attorneys with a proven track record. At Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop, our team of attorneys has over 233 years of combined experience representing accident victims. We believe property owners should be held responsible when they are negligent, and we quickly and aggressively pursue maximum compensation for the damages in your case.
Please call (402) 241-5020 today for a free consultation. Our slip and fall lawyers serve clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and all of Nebraska and nearby Iowa