Our Philadelphia slip and fall law firm often get calls from people who are injured in a fall and they all want to know: Do I have a good slip and fall case? and let’s face it, most people have no idea whether or not they have a viable slip and fall case. There are 3 main factors in answering this question, they are as follows:
- Duty and Breach – Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the injured person, and if they owed a duty to the person, was that duty breached. For example, a supermarket has a duty to its patrons to reasonably make sure the aisles are clean and free from defect. Keeping sweep logs is one way a supermarket tries to make sure this duty is upheld – but many times careless employees may see a spill and leave it there until someone falls, this is a perfect example of a duty and breach.
- Causation – Did the defendant’s negligence cause the injuries that occurred? This factor is important because even if there was a duty and breach, the damages complained of have to be causaly related tot the slip and fall. For example, if someone has a slip and fall accident in an icy non-shoveled parking lot, they fall down severely injuring their back, but nothing else – then they sue the defendant and allege injury to their knee that no doctor could causally relate to the fall, there is no causation.
- Damages – Are the injuries consistent with the slip and fall accident? Again this relates to the causation of the injury as stated in the paragraph above. The damages from the slip and fall need to be related to the accident, they cannot be something that was a pre-existing injury. That said if the slip and fall accident caused exacerbation of the pre-existing injury then it would be part of the damages claimed. For example, if the person who fell had a pre-existing issue with a herniation in their back and the fall caused this to worsen, this would be included in damages claimed from the slip and fall.
The formula for determining whether you have a good slip and fall case is the following:
Was there a DUTY? Was that duty BREACHED? Was the breach CAUSE the injuries? Are the DAMAGES consistent with the injuries?
This is the formula that I use as a personal injury lawyer to determine whether a person has (or doesn’t have) a viable slip and fall case. Sometimes these questions cannot be answered easily – in instances like those we will use all of the tools at our disposal to get to the bottom of your personal injury case. What do I mean by tools? With the advances of technology many times we are able to obtain video of a slip and fall, we can send an investigator out to take witness statements, and/or send out an engineering expert to determine whether a defect should have been rectified – these are only a few of the tools we use to help us win your slip and fall case.
If you have a slip and fall, remember the 3 factors outlined above when evaluating whether you have a case.
My best piece of advice, even after you have gone over the 3 factors discussed, contact our slip and fall injury lawyers to get an opinion as to your case. Our consultations are always 100% free, our reviews and results speak for themselves, and even if we feel that we can’t help you with your slip and fall case there is no down-side to having a personal injury lawyer take a look.