Proving Damages in a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit: What You Need To Know

Slip and Fall Accident in New York

If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident, your expenses are likely piling up. Taking legal action may be necessary to recover your economic and non-economic expenses. You and your attorney must provide extensive evidence showing that the defendant is liable for your damages and owes you money.

As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proof. A lack of sufficient evidence could compromise your case, preventing you from securing compensation. Therefore, one can’t afford to be unscrupulous in this situation.

Read ahead to learn how to prove damages in a slip-and-fall lawsuit and what to do with that information once you have it. Then, contact a slip-and-fall lawyer in NYC for assistance with your case. 

Proving the Four Elements of Negligence 

To have grounds for a slip-and-fall lawsuit, you must provide evidence showing that your case contains the four basic elements of negligence:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care. 
  • The defendant breached their duty of care. 
  • An accident resulted from the breach of duty of care. 
  • You experienced damages from the accident. 

Proving these elements with the help of NYC slip-and-fall lawyers will show the judge that the defendant owes you damages for your slip-and-fall accident. 

The Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care

“Duty of care” is a legal term for the responsibility people have to prevent accidents and generally promote visitor, customer, and pedestrian safety. Property owners automatically owe a duty of care to people who are lawfully on their premises. 

As a result, the first element you’ll need to prove is that you were lawfully on the property where your slip-and-fall accident occurred. Property owners owe a duty of care to the following types of visitors:

  • Invitees: People invited onto a property, such as customers at a grocery store or contractors performing work on a house
  • Licensees: People who are lawfully on a property for their benefit, such as someone entering a convenience store to use the restroom and not make a purchase 

The duty of care is stronger for invitees and licensees. Property owners must scan their properties for hazards and dangerous conditions that might injure invitees. Meanwhile, they must assume the presence of licensees and warn them of hazards that are not clearly visible, but they do not need to actively seek out hazards that are not evident.

The property owner would not owe you a duty of care if you were trespassing on the property. 

A slip-and-fall attorney in Brooklyn can help prove that you were lawfully on the property by reviewing the business’s hours or highlighting details of your interactions with the property owner. 

The Defendant Breached Their Duty of Care

Property owners breach their duty of care to invitees and licensees when they fail to maintain a reasonably safe, hazard-free environment. 

As part of your slip-and-fall lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to prove that:

  • The property had a dangerous condition before the accident
  • The property owner was aware of the hazard or reasonably should have been aware of it
  • The owner had time to remove or mitigate the hazard yet failed to do so

As many as two million fall injuries each year occur from issues with floors and flooring materials, but many other types of hazards can cause these accidents. Examples of foreseeable hazards that lead to slip-and-fall accidents may include:

  • A wet floor in a recently cleaned bathroom where no wet floor sign is present
  • A puddle from a spilled gallon of milk in a grocery store that has been sitting there for over an hour
  • A broken sidewalk outside a business that has been damaged for some time

Meanwhile, hazards that may not warrant a slip-and-fall case include:

  • A slick sidewalk due to active rainfall 
  • A puddle in the store that just formed when a patron dropped a bottle of soda
  • Merchandise in the middle of the aisleway that just accumulated when a patron knocked over a display

The property owner must have had adequate time to become aware of and mitigate a hazard to be liable in slip-and-fall cases.

An Accident Resulted (Causation) 

A hazard may have been present on the property, and you may have experienced an injury. But these two elements do not necessarily establish causation, which is the idea that the hazard caused your accident. 

Proving causation involves gathering as much evidence as possible detailing the events leading up to and during the accident. Your attorney can help you gather the following types of evidence linking the accident to the property owner’s breach of duty of care: 

  • Photos and videos of the accident
  • Testimonies from witnesses
  • Accident reports from the business or a police officer
  • Photos showing that the hazard was present before the accident

Your slip-and-fall lawyer in NYC will take time during the investigation phase of the lawsuit to uncover all available evidence pointing to causation.

You Experienced Damages

Finally, you must show that the accident led to damages or losses. You can prove that your injuries resulted from the accident through medical records and physician testimony.

You can also provide receipts of all expenses related to the accident to prove your economic damages, which may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Physical damage
  • Time off work
  • Loss of ability to work 

Through a lawsuit, you also have the opportunity to seek non-economic damages, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Your attorney can help you collect evidence showing the emotional toll the accident has taken on your life in support of your non-economic damages. 

Slip And Fall Accidents

Ross & Hill: Your Manhattan Slip-and-Fall Lawyers 

Slip-and-fall cases often involve serious injuries. In 2020, more than 6.8 million people visited the emergency room for fall-related injuries, highlighting the severity of these accidents. The resulting injuries can be expensive, but seeking compensation from the property owner could help relieve the financial burden. 

At Ross & Hill, we’re dedicated to helping victims of slip-and-fall accidents seek maximum compensation and begin moving forward. We can help you collect evidence to support your slip-and-fall lawsuit, increasing the chances that you will receive fair compensation after a slip-and-fall accident

Contact us today at 718-855-2324 for your 100% free consultation with a slip-and-fall lawyer in NYC. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the statute of limitations for slip-and-fall lawsuits in New York? 

The statute of limitations for slip-and-fall lawsuits in New York is three years from the accident date. You must file your lawsuit by this deadline or risk losing your opportunity to seek compensation from the at-fault party. 

What are common injuries in slip-and-fall cases? 

Slip-and-fall accidents often produce bruises, lacerations, fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. Fractures occur in approximately 5% of people who fall and are often the severest consequences of slips and falls. 

How much compensation can you secure for a slip and fall? 

The amount of compensation you can secure after a slip-and-fall accident depends on the extent of your injuries, the property owner’s negligence in the accident, and the economic and non-economic damages that resulted. Your attorney can review the details of your case and calculate a fair amount to request as part of your slip-and-fall lawsuit. 

Do you need an attorney for a slip-and-fall case? 

You need an attorney for a slip-and-fall case if you’re pursuing legal action, your injuries are extensive, or you simply need assistance navigating the compensation process. Your slip-and-fall lawyer in NYC can guide you through this process and improve your chances of securing maximum compensation from the defendant. 

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