Evidence in Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners in California may be held accountable if dangerous property conditions cause injuries to visitors. Among the dangerous conditions that are often found in retail stores, gas stations, and other places where customers enter are substances on the floor like spilled water or juice, melted ice, oil, or cracks. In order to recover compensation for injuries on someone else's property in Southern California, you will need to present evidence in your slip and fall case. It is important to gather evidence and consult a Los Angeles slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to make sure that no crucial evidence is destroyed. At Sharifi Firm, our premises liability attorneys may be able to help you recover damages after a slip and fall.Evidence in Slip and Fall Cases
In a slip and fall lawsuit in California, you will need to prove that you were harmed due to the way that a defendant managed property. This means that you will need to show that the defendant owned or controlled the property, the defendant failed to use reasonable care in operating or maintaining the property, you were harmed as a result, and the failure to use reasonable care was a substantial factor in your being hurt. You must prove each of these elements by a "preponderance of the evidence." This is known as the burden of proof in a civil personal injury case.
A burden of proof is the threshold that a plaintiff trying to prove a fact in court must attain in order to have that fact established in court. The burden of proof in criminal cases is higher than in civil cases—guilt needs to be established "beyond a reasonable doubt." Preponderance of the evidence is a lower standard, which requires you to show that events happened more likely than not in the way that you say. Still, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible in support of your slip and fall case. If the defendant's version of events seems equally plausible as your version of events, you will not be awarded compensation.
Slip and falls may be especially difficult to prove because the evidence of the spill is likely transitory and may be cleaned up rather quickly after the accident. Property owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably clean, but if the substance that caused a slip and fall was only there for a brief while, it may be hard to show that the owner knew or should have known about it.
You should take photographs after a slip and fall if you see the reason why you slipped. For example, if you see water on the ground in a grocery store, you should take a picture. In some cases, you may use your own clothes to prove the spill. The substance that caused your fall may be on the bottom of your shoes and clothes. If there is any way to keep what you were wearing at the time in the same condition, this may be useful evidence to prove that you fell due to a substance.
Similarly, if you see an oil slick at a gas station, for example, you should take a picture of it. To prove constructive notice in most cases, you will need to show that the substance was there for a long enough time that the owner should have noticed it in the exercise of reasonable care. Often, you can establish constructive notice through surveillance footage. However, not all stores and other businesses retain surveillance footage for very long. Many keep surveillance footage only when theft is at issue and destroy this footage in the ordinary course of business by recording over it within a short window of time, such as a week or two. This makes it especially important to pursue legal action without delay.Retain an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney in Los Angeles
At Sharifi Firm, APC, our experienced Los Angeles lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation by gathering a wide range of evidence in your slip and fall case. We can determine a logical strategy to seek your damages and take an aggressive approach against a negligent property owner. Contact us online or call us at (866) 422-7222 for a free appointment with an injury lawyer. Our firm also represents victims in Southern California cities such as Riverside, Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and San Bernardino.