How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Case
Research shows millions of people are injured in slip, trip, and fall accidents every year across the United States. CDC data indicate more than 10 million people nationwide went to the ER for fall injuries in a single year. Many of these injuries result from slip and fall accidents caused by negligent property owners. However, proving fault in a slip and fall case can be a challenge if you don’t have the help of an experienced Colorado Springs slip and fall lawyer.
I, Jeff Lasswell, want to help if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Colorado. As a former insurance company defense attorney, I know the tactics property owners and their insurance companies use to deny accident victims fair compensation after a slip and fall. For 18 years, I have put that knowledge to work on my clients’ behalf. I am the sole attorney at my firm, which means you get personal and individual attention. If you want to know more about how I can help prove fault in a slip and fall case, contact my office for a free initial consultation.
Slip and Fall Laws in Colorado
Like most personal injury cases, slip and fall accident claims in Colorado are based on the legal concept of negligence. Essentially, negligence is the notion that if someone failed to take reasonable steps to avoid causing you injuries, you might be able to hold them financially liable for an accident.
That said, proving a property owner is liable for a slip and fall accident takes experience and knowledge about Colorado law. The law states property owners owe people a different duty of care depending on the person’s relationship to the property owner. The injured party falls under one of these three categories:
- Trespasser — A trespasser is someone who does not have the owner’s permission or a legal right to be on the property. Property owners owe a minimal duty of care to trespassers. If a trespasser is injured on someone else’s property, they can only hold the property owner liable for injuries caused by the owner’s willful or deliberate actions.
- Licensee — A licensee is anyone who has implicit permission to be on someone else’s property, generally for a purpose that is not business-related, such as a party guest. When it comes to licensees, property owners can only be held liable for injuries caused by hazards that they knew about.
- Invitee — An invitee is someone who has been explicitly invited onto someone else’s property, usually for some type of business purpose. For example, customers visiting a business are invitees. Invitees enjoy the greatest protection under Colorado’s slip and fall laws, as property owners can be held liable both for known hazards and for hazards that they reasonably should’ve known about.
How to Prove Fault
Proving fault in a slip and fall accident case will depend on the evidence available to support your claim. A slip and fall attorney may be able to present evidence such as:
- Photos from the accident scene — If you have photos of whatever hazard caused your injuries, such as a spill that wasn’t cleaned up or a broken chunk of sidewalk, you can use those photos to show how the accident happened.
- Surveillance camera photos or video — Many businesses and other properties have surveillance cameras to watch for trespassers. These cameras may have recorded your accident, and that footage may support your claim.
- Eyewitness accounts — If someone saw you slip and fall, they can testify about what hazard on the property caused the accident.
- Accident reports — It’s a good idea to make a written report to the property owner or the authorities after a slip and fall, as this report can help support your case.
- Medical records — To hold property owners liable for a slip and fall, you generally need to have proof of your injuries. Your medical records can help show the injuries you suffered in the accident.
- Expert testimony — Medical experts and others can examine your records and the other evidence to help determine what caused your injuries and why the property owner should be held liable.
Types of Damages
People involved in trip and fall accidents often suffer severe injuries and other losses. With help from an experienced slip and fall accident attorney, you can seek compensation for your losses, including:
- Your various medical expenses, including doctor’s appointments, prescription drugs, hospital stays, physical therapy, and future care
- Your lost wages while you were recovering from the accident or attending doctor’s appointments
- Your diminished future earning potential if your injuries left you with a long-term disability
- Your physical pain and suffering as a result of your injuries
- Your psychological distress
- Your damaged personal property
Factors That Impact a Slip and Fall Settlement
The potential value of a slip and fall settlement cannot be determined until your case has been thoroughly reviewed. Some of the factors that can affect the value of a settlement include:
- The available evidence — The more evidence you have to establish fault and document your injuries, the greater the value of a settlement is likely to be.
- Your own actions — Under Colorado law, you can still recover compensation for your injuries in a slip and fall accident if your own actions played a role, as long as you are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. However, if you are found partly liable for an accident, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
- The injuries you suffered — The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you can generally seek as part of a personal injury claim.
How is Compensation Calculated in a Slip and Fall Case?
The value of a slip and fall settlement is based on the sum of all the different losses you suffered. This includes losses with a specific dollar amount, such as your medical bills and lost wages, as well as the pain from your injuries and other factors that are harder to assign a precise value. As your legal counsel, I can open negotiations with the property owner’s insurance company and try to reach a settlement that balances what the insurance company will pay with what you are willing to accept. If a fair settlement can’t be reached, we may need to go to court to prove your case.
How I, Jeff Lasswell, Can Help You
You do not want to try to handle a slip and fall accident claim on your own. As an experienced Colorado Springs injury lawyer, I can organize the evidence you need while you focus on recovering from your injuries. I can take care of filing your claim, gathering your medical records, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. However, I am fully prepared to bring your claim to court and make a strong case on your behalf, if necessary. As a sole practitioner, you can expect to receive the focus and attention you deserve.
Do you have more questions about slip and fall claims? Contact my office today to schedule a free case consultation.