If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident related to a facility's poor maintenance, proof of building code violations can be used to support your claim for damages.
Building Code Violations as Evidence in a Slip and Fall Claim
Winning a slip and fall claim requires proving four elements:
- Duty. The defendant was required to provide a reasonably safe environment.
- Breach of duty. The defendant created a safety hazard.
- Causation. The breach of duty caused your slip and fall accident.
- Damages. The slip and fall resulted in injury-related expenses.
Building code violations, assuming they are related to the circumstances that caused your injury, are valuable evidence in a slip and fall claim because they provide proof that the defendant failed to provide a reasonably safe environment for visitors to the property. They can also be used to refute accusations that your own carelessness contributed to your injury.
Examples of building code violations that could lead you to slip and fall include:
- Stairs with missing or defective handrails
- Broken or uneven staircases
- Steps that are too high
- Steps that are too deep
- Blocked or improperly marked exit doors
- Improper handicapped access
Learning About Code Violations for a Specific Property
Building codes regulate how buildings are constructed in the name of protecting public safety. They address issues such as building design and durability, as well as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. They also designate that buildings must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, have emergency escape routes, and hold to practices that reduce the risk of occupant injury.
Building inspectors rely on code books, which are public record and available at your local town hall, city planning department, or records building. In some cases, building codes may also be online. Typically, local building codes are designed to follow the International Building Code (IBC) standard.
In addition to learning of problems via a building inspection, code violations can also come about as the result of complaints from tenants, visitors, and others who have conducted business on the property.
Both citations and convictions for building code violations can be used as evidence in a slip and fall case, although a conviction will be the most beneficial. The building code department and/or local municipal court can provide updates related to specific violations.
Although building code violations can be excellent evidence in a slip and fall claim, they are not enough to build your case on their own. Ideally, you want to provide photos of the accident scene, as well as testimony from witnesses to the accident or others who knew about the unsafe conditions that caused your slip and fall. If you were injured in an establishment monitored with surveillance cameras, this footage can also be used to support your claim.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
Personal injury claims related to slip and fall accidents can include compensation for several types of damages:
- Medical expenses. This includes emergency care and any necessary follow-up visits, as well as the cost of anticipated future medical needs related to your injuries
- Lost wages. You can seek reimbursement for lost wages while you were recovering from your injuries, as well as loss of future earning potential.
- Pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering compensation is intended to reimburse you for both the physical pain and emotional trauma related to the incident.
The best way to protect your right to compensation after a slip and fall accident is to retain the services of a skilled personal injury attorney. An attorney with experience in slip and fall claims can help you assess the value of your case, gather evidence of building code violations to support your claim for damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered slip and fall injuries resolve their personal injury claims. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, so there is no upfront cost to protect your right to compensation. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.