To win a claim in a slip and fall case, the evidence that you need to gather will depend on the type of accident that happened. They generally fall into the following categories:
1. Slip on ice or snow, or other foreign substance.
2. Fall on stairs Trip or slip on floor or threshold.
Here are some tips on what evidence you will need for each type of case and how to gather them:
Slip on Ice or Snow or Other Foreign Substance
It is important to get pictures of the scene, particularly the condition which caused the accident such as uncleared snow. The image of ice, snow or foreign substance on the scene is crucial to the success of your case. Without such pictures, it would be your word against the owner or manager; proving your case would be difficult. It will become uncertain whether the insurer and the jury will believe you or not when you do not have pictures to prove it. It is always the plaintiff’s burden to prove all of the elements in his/her case. In a slip and fall case, the pictures captured immediately by you or a friend, or even other bystanders would be invaluable.
During litigation, your lawyer will request the owner or manager to provide maintenance and repair policies and records; this will help your lawyer determine whether this condition has arisen before and whether the owner has made actions to resolve it. This type of evidence can be used to prove negligence on the owner’s part but its still secondary to photographs taken during or immediately after your accident.
Fall on Stairs
The evidence you will need after falling on stairs will be different from the previous type. If immediately after the fall, you do not find any water, snow, or foreign substance, then a picture of the scene becomes less important but still advised.
In such cases, your lawyer will focus on the stairs themselves and the flaws in their design. These can include:
1. Only one handrail or no handrail at all
2. Handrails at the wrong height
3. Risers (the height of each step) are the wrong height or are of varying heights
4. The steps are not deep enough
5. The edge of the run (the part your foot lands on) is worn
Your lawyer may hire a construction expert to find design problems and determine whether the staircase meets applicable building codes. Similar to a foreign substance case, the lawyer will ask the owner or manager for maintenance and repair policies and records. If the staircase is in a relatively new building, construction records may be requested to determine how the owner or contractor managed to make these building code violations.
Trip or Slip on Floor or Threshold Presence of Warning Signs
These cases can proceed similar to a staircase accident, but a floor or threshold case may also involve a failure to warn. If a threshold has a lip one inch high, that could be enough for unsuspecting passers to trip. If such a lip is required for functional purposes such as on a doorway, then the owner or manager must provide a warning sign. You must be able to note, and if possible, get photographic evidence of the absence of warning signs in the scene.