Slip and fall claims are some of the most common types of claims brought to civil court. However, that does not make them the most successful.
Slip and fall claims are difficult to prove, and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an insurance adjuster or a court to decide that the accident was the result of the victim’s own negligence.
That said, if a plaintiff can prove that the property owner was negligent and that his or her injuries caused life-altering damages, a personal injury claim can end up being very lucrative.
If you want to know what type of case you have—a throw-away case or a lucrative one—reach out to the experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., to schedule a claim assessment today.
Establishing Duty of Care
Before your slip and fall claim can proceed, you need to be able to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. “Duty of Care” is a legal term that refers to a person’s obligation to another person or persons. In New Jersey, a person’s duty includes his or her relationship to the injured party, the nature of the attendant risk, the opportunity and ability to exercise care, and public policy. The law also takes into consideration whether an injured party was an invitee, licensee, or trespasser of a property.
For instance, if an adult trespasser becomes injured on a property he or she had no right to enter, the trespasser may be liable for his or her own injuries. However, the law stipulates that a property owner must refrain from willfully injuring a trespasser.
Slipping and falling on a land on which a person trespassed is not grounds for a slip and fall claim. But, if an adult person becomes injured on a property with an invite and not warned of a slip and fall hazard, then he or she might have a claim.
Once duty of care becomes established, you must establish negligence. This may prove to be the most challenging part of your claim. For instance, it is not enough to show that a spill caused your slip and fall; you must also show that the property owner knew of the spill and did not clean it up in a timely fashion. To establish negligence, you need to to show that one of the following three conditions :
- The property owner knew about the safety hazard but did not take efforts to remedy it in a timely fashion;
- The property owner created the safety hazard but did nothing to fix it; or
- The property owner should have known about the safety hazard, as any other reasonable party would have known about it.
If you can establish negligence, you must then be able to show how the negligence led directly to your injuries.
Finally, you must be able to prove damages. If you can show that the property owner was negligent and that he or she owed you a duty of care, but you cannot show how your injuries impacted your life, you do not have a case. Damages can be proven in the form of medical records, medical bills, proof of lost wages, and personal documentation.
A Skilled Attorney Can Turn Your Accident Into a Claim
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, reach out to an experienced New Jersey slip and fall attorney as soon after your accident as possible. The right attorney can help you gather evidence and do what is necessary to build a strong case. Call The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., to schedule a case assessment today.