It may surprise you to learn that slip and fall cases can be difficult to win. Yet some slip and fall victims walk away empty handed, because these cases are not as simple as may people imagine.
Here are the hurdles that must be overcome in order to make a slip and fall case viable.
You Must Prove Negligence
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In order for you to win a slip and fall case you must prove there was a “defective” or unsafe condition that the owner failed to address. According to the 1997 case Trincere v. County of Suffolk, “trivial” defects are not counted as negligence.
Of course, what constitutes a trivial defect is open to a great deal of interpretation, and much will depend on your attorney’s skill at making the argument that the hazard was anything but trivial.
Personal injury cases do not exist to compensate people for every bad thing that might happen to them. If no negligence existed, the owner can essentially wash their hands of responsibility.
One hurdle in these cases is evidence-based: if there is no evidence that a defect was the actual cause of a slip and fall, or that a slip and fall happened in the first place, or that the injury occurred on the owner’s property, then you may have trouble recovering compensation.
You Must Prove the Owner Was Aware of the Hazardous Condition, or Created It
The owner must be responsible for the defective condition in some form or fashion. They must either have created the problem, or had actual knowledge or constructive notice of the defect.
If there’s laundry soap on the floor for less than a minute when you come along and slip on it then the owner might be able to successfully claim they didn’t have constructive notice of the defect, especially if you are talking about a store that has regular cleaning and inspection procedures in place.
Here in New York City, ice and snow storms often lead to slip and fall cases, and constructive notice can become a big issue in those cases. First, the storm must end before a property owner has any duty to do anything about it (Mazella v. City of New York), and second the property owner has a reasonable amount of time to address the condition after the storm ends.
If You’re Suing the City, You Must Move Quickly
Don’t forget that if you’re suing the city you must report the incident within 90 days. We recommend moving a lot faster than that.
Get Expert Help
While it’s true that your case may be hard to win, we don’t advocate giving up. If you have a legitimate slip and fall claim, then you have every right to pursue that claim. You just need an attorney who has extensive experience with slip and fall cases.
We know how to find and develop evidence that can help your case, and we know how to use the settlement process to get you paid.
Reaching out to our office as soon as you are medically capable of doing so is one way to strengthen your case. Contact us to schedule your free case review today.