Were you injured on someone else’s premises due to a property owner’s negligence? You are not alone. In fact, over 53,000 personal injury cases were filed in a single year. These cases included slip and fall incidents and premises liability claims. Before you start filing a claim, it is important to have a plan. By gathering evidence for your premises liability case, you can prove the property owner’s negligence. Otherwise, your case could get thrown out before you even head to trial. What evidence do you need when filing a claim for premise liability? Keep reading to find out. In this guide, we will review everything you need to know. Start gathering evidence and building your case today.
Before you start gathering evidence, it helps to know a little more about proving fault in premises liability cases.
It is important to gather strong, solid evidence that proves the property owner was negligent and at fault. This evidence will need to convince a judge and jury of the owner’s negligence without a doubt. Unfortunately, proving fault is often a complicated endeavor, regardless of the specifics of your case.
First, you will need to prove that you were injured. You will also have to prove a hazard located on someone else’s property was the cause of your injuries. In order to prove the property owner’s negligence, you will need evidence of both claims.
It is a property owner’s responsibility to keep a safe, hazard-free property. However, defining a reasonable standard of care can depend on certain factors.
- What is the property’s intended use?
- Could someone have anticipated the accident?
- What circumstances lead you to enter the property?
- What circumstances led to your injury?
The judge and jury might determine the property owner is liable for the incident. In some cases, however, your behavior could indicate you were negligent, too.
The Right Circumstances
When can you file a premises liability claim? You can file a lawsuit if you suffered an injury on a property that granted you access. For example, maybe you sustained a slip-and-fall injury that fractured your hip after a relator invited you to an open house.
You could also sustain an injury while at a hotel, store, restaurant, or business that is open to the public.
Were you trespassing on someone’s closed, private property? You might want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney. They can help you build a strong case that still proves the premise owner was liable.
To prove your case, you will need to prove that the owner had knowledge of the dangerous conditions that led to your accident. You will also need to prove that they failed to take action to prevent an accident or injury. For example, did the owner put up a “Wet Floor” or “Caution” sign around the area?
How long did the dangerous condition exist? Do accidents happen as a result regularly? How long did the owner have to make a change?
You will need to keep these factors in mind before filing a claim.
Building Your Case
Now that you understand more about premises liability cases, let us discuss gathering evidence. Your evidence will help prove:
- There was a hazard on the premises
- You sustained a serious injury
- The owner failed to take action to prevent the hazard on their property
If you struggle to gather the evidence you need to prove your case, consider consulting a personal injury attorney. Look for someone who specializes in cases similar to yours. For example, if you slipped and fell, look for a slip-and-fall lawyer.
Falls account for over 8 million emergency room visits every year. In fact, they are the leading cause of visits. Slip-and-fall incidents, on the other hand, account for 1 million annual visits.
When people slip and fall, fractures are the most common injury. About 22% of these incidents result in more than 31 days of lost work.
The compensation and medical costs cause about $70 billion every year.
Your lawyer will help you gather the evidence you need. They will also rely on their prior experience with similar cases to build your lawsuit. Having an experienced, qualified attorney on your side can increase your chances of winning your case.
There are over 135,221 personal injury lawyers and attorneys in the US. Before you start gathering evidence, consider hiring an experienced attorney. They will help you build your case before filing your claim.
Otherwise, you could miss a step or make a mistake in the paperwork that could cost you your case. If you fail to win your case, you will have to cover the cost of your losses alone. Your lawyer can also help you calculate your losses (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) to ensure you receive proper compensation.
Here is some of the evidence your personal injury attorney can help you gather for your premises liability claim.
A talented lawyer knows how to communicate concisely to paint a picture in the jury’s minds. Even their communication skills cannot replace a photo of the premises, though. When gathering evidence, try to take photos of the hazard that causes your injury.
Was the parking lot covered in ice? Maybe there was a puddle on the floor. Perhaps you slipped over a loose wire.
Regardless of the circumstances, try to take photos of the obstruction that causes your injuries. It helps to take these photos immediately following your accident. The timestamp can prove the conditions caused your injuries the day you were injured.
Otherwise, the jury might have doubts. They could think the photos were falsified.
Taking photos immediately will also ensure you have evidence before the premises owner has time to fix the situation. If you wait too long to take photos, their lawyer might claim there was never a hazard there.
2. Accident Reports
After you sustain your injury, make sure to contact the property owner or police. Let them know you were injured. Filing an official report will show people that you are serious about the situation.
Make sure to obtain your own copy of the report the day it is filed.
Did you let the business owner know you were injured? Did they fail to file a report? If you do not have an official report on hand, make sure to write down what happened as soon as possible.
Otherwise, you might forget certain details. Make note of the time and day the accident happened. Keep a record of the property owner’s name and position, too.
Gathering official accident reports will help you keep track of the details specific to your case.
3. Medical Records
If you were in a slip-and-fall or sustained a personal injury, make sure to visit a physician right away. Medical records and bills will help prove the severity of your injuries. Your personal injury attorney might also call on your doctor when building your case.
Your doctor can indicate the seriousness of your injuries and outline the treatments you needed to heal.
Your medical bills are essential for your premises liability case, too. Your lawyer will use your medical bills and treatment plans to determine how much the accident cost you out-of-pocket. This total will help determine the amount of compensation you need to fully recover from the incident.
Failing to gather medical records might hurt your case. The opposing counsel might claim you are faking your injuries. Using your medical records and bills when gathering evidence can help you avoid reasonable doubt.
4. Property Records
Your lawyer can help you gather lease agreements and property records for your case, too. These documents are essential for proving the defendant owned the property where you were injured. You will need these property records to show the judge that you are filing a claim against the right parties.
Did someone see you slip-and-fall or get injured on someone else’s property? Gather eyewitness accounts can help build your case. Their testimony can indicate the conditions at the place and time of your accident.
They can also verify what caused the injury.
Immediately after your accident, look around. If someone witnessed the incident, make sure to get their name and contact information. You should also let the police know that someone witnessed the incident when filing your police report.
Your lawyer might also use your friends, coworkers, and family members as witnesses. They can testify that the injury impacted your quality of life.
6. Expert Witnesses
In addition to witnesses, your lawyer might also call on expert witnesses to build your case. These witnesses can include doctors or engineers who can describe how the circumstances led to your injuries.
7. Insurance Policies
Try to get information regarding the property owner’s insurance policy as well. This information will show the policy should cover your injuries.
8. Pay Stubs
Are you unable to work as a result of your injuries? Make sure to get copies of your pay stubs and tax returns. These documents can prove how much your injury could cause you in lost work.
Building Your Premises Liability Case: It Is Time to Start Gathering Evidence
Ready to build your premise liability case? With this guide, you can start gathering evidence to support your claim. Remember, you do not have to go through this process alone.
Instead, consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. They can guide you through the process of acquiring evidence and filing a claim.
We are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.