Arizona

How to Prove Fault in a Slip and Fall Case

Your Guide To Filing a Slip & Fall Lawsuit in Arizona

Slip and fall accidents are often regarded as relatively minor incidents. However, the reality is that a slip and fall incident can lead to significant injuries for the person affected.

Not only do slip and fall accident victims have to deal with immense pain and suffering while they recover, but they also have to contend with incoming medical expenses, lost income, and various other expenses that many people do not consider. Here, our team of Phoenix premises liability lawyers want to talk about how to prove fault for a slip and fall incident while also providing pertinent information for victims of these incidents.

How do You Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall?

Proving negligence in a slip and fall accident can be difficult. First, we should look at a brief list of some of the most common causes of slip and fall incidents in and around this area:

  • Failure to clean up spilled food or drinks
  • Recently mopped or waxed floors with no “wet floor” sign present
  • Electrical cords running across walkways
  • Low lying obstacles in walkways
  • Uneven flooring or pavement inside or outside of a building
  • Loose or wobbly stairs
  • Stairs lacking handrails
  • Loose pavement or potholes in a parking lot
  • Loose floormats or other loose flooring material on walkways

Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of those who have a right to be on their premises. This includes regularly inspecting and maintaining all pedestrian walkways to ensure there are no slip and fall hazards like the ones mentioned above.

In order to prove a slip and fall incident was caused by the negligent or careless actions of a property owner, an injury victim or their attorney will need to gather various types of evidence. Often, this evidence gathering begins as soon as the incident occurs. This can include the following:

  • Photographs taken showing the cause of the slip and fall
  • Statements from eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Any accident reports completed by the property owner or employees

Additionally, an attorney can use their resources to conduct a more thorough investigation in the days and weeks that follow. This can include working with the court system to obtain video surveillance that may have captured the incident on footage, inspection and maintenance records of the property, and a history of similar incidents happening on the property.

What’s the Average Payout for a Slip and Fall?

It is important to point out that there is no set amount of money paid out to victims of slip and fall incidents. No two slip and fall cases in Arizona are exactly alike, and the total amount of money awarded to an injury victim will vary depending on the facts and circumstances related to their particular situation. Most of the compensation for these claims will revolve around the total amount of medical care an injury victim requires. Depending on the severity of the injury, a slip and fall payout could result in anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

A skilled slip and fall injury attorney in Arizona will work with trusted medical and economic experts to properly calculate the total compensation that the victim should receive.

How do you win a Slip and Fall Settlement?

Most slip and fall accident cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, but securing an adequate compensation amount can be challenging. The key to “winning” these cases is clearly establishing the elements of negligence:

  • Duty. It is necessary to establish that the property owner owed the injury victim a duty of care. In general, property owners owe a duty of care to any guests or invitees on their property. So long as the injury victim was in an area where they were allowed to be and not trespassing, then the property owner likely owed them a duty of care.
  • Breach of duty. The next step in determining negligence is showing that the property owner breached their duty of care in some way. In these cases, this often means showing that the property owner failed to take the steps necessary to ensure there were no slip and fall hazards present.
  • Causation. If the breach of duty has been established, the next step will be determining whether or not that breach directly caused the injuries to the plaintiff. For example, just because a property owner failed to put down a “wet floor” sign does not necessarily mean that their breach of duty caused the injuries.
  • Damages. Finally, if it is shown that a property owner’s breach of duty directly caused a plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff needs to show that they sustained some sort of monetary loss.

In order to properly show all four elements of negligence in a slip and fall case, it is crucial for victims to work with a skilled Phoenix slip and fall attorney who has experience handling these situations.

Can you sue for a Slip and Fall Accident?

There are times when slip and fall accident cases cannot be resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. Unfortunately, and may be necessary for the victim to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party so they can recover the compensation they need. When filing a personal injury lawsuit, this officially brings the case into the civil court system.

However, even after a lawsuit has been filed, slip and fall cases are typically resolved before the case goes all the way to trial. Attorneys from both sides will negotiate with one another throughout the discovery process and will likely reach a settlement before a trial becomes necessary. However, if neither side can reach an agreement, a trial will need to be scheduled so the case can be heard before a jury.

It is important to note that the personal injury statute of limitations in Arizona is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that slip and fall accident victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party or they will lose the ability to recover the compensation they deserve.