Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries, and these accidents are often caused by negligent maintenance. However, you must be able to prove liability for your injuries before you will be awarded compensation.
Elements of a Successful Slip and Fall Claim
You are not automatically entitled to compensation if you are injured in a slip and fall accident. To win your case, you must be able to prove the following four key elements:
- You were lawfully on the property.
- You suffered an injury caused by an accident on the property.
- A dangerous condition on the property caused your injury.
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition.
Additionally, you must follow Louisiana's statute of limitations laws. In most cases, you have one year from the time you were injured to file your personal injury claim.
About Negligent Maintenance
Negligent maintenance refers to a property owner failing to repair a condition that would reasonably be expected to create a safety hazard. Some examples of negligent maintenance would include:
- Broken light fixtures or switches
- Loose handrails on stairs
- Torn or ripped carpeting
- Wood floors with missing boards
- Warped or uneven floor tiles
- Exposed wires on the floor
- Cluttered areas that haven’t been cleared properly
- Spilled liquids or slippery foods that haven’t been cleaned up
- Potholes in driveways and parking lots
- Cracked cement steps
- Weeds that block the view of an outdoor hazard
Evidence Used to Prove Negligent Maintenance
To receive compensation for your injuries, you need to prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining the area. Some types of evidence that may be helpful for this task include:
- Photographs. Photos taken after your accident can document the condition of the area where you fell. Ideally, you want your photos to be taken from a variety of angles and immediately after your fall. If you wait too long to photograph the scene, the property owner may clean the area and fix the hazard.
- Witness testimony. Someone who witnessed your accident can testify as to what happened before you fell and what the conditions in the area were like. Witnesses can also establish that you weren't partially at fault due to running, engaging in horseplay, ignoring posted warning signs, or taking other actions that show a disregard for your own safety.
- Video surveillance. If you were injured in a building monitored by a video surveillance system, the footage can show precisely how the accident happened.
- Building code violations. Building code violations may be used to establish negligent maintenance. However, even if there was no building code violation, it’s still possible that negligence occurred.
Other types of evidence that might help your case include:
- Your clothing. Your clothing from the accident can establish that your injuries weren't caused by inappropriate footwear or tripping on pants or a skirt that was too long.
- Medical records. Your medical records document your injuries and establish that your condition is consistent with a fall.
- Journal entries. Your own journal entries can document how your injuries have affected your life, which may help you negotiate pain and suffering compensation.
Evidence becomes more difficult to locate as time passes, so it's important to start the process of filing your claim as soon as possible.
Types of Compensation Available
A personal injury claim can include compensation for the damages you've suffered due to your slip and fall accident. These include:
- Immediate medical needs, such as an emergency room visit, surgery, and a necessary hospital stay
- Anticipated future medical needs, if the injuries suffered in the accident led to a brain injury, paralysis, nerve damage, or other form of permanent disability
- Lost wages while you were recovering from your slip and fall injuries
- Loss of future earning potential, if your injuries have left you with a permanent disability that will prevent you from returning to work, force you to reduce your hours, or have you working in a lower-paying profession
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain and the emotional stress or trauma associated with your injuries
To learn more about protecting your right to compensation, call to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with the Neblett, Beard & Arsenault legal team.