Car accidents and fall down cases would be the most common types of lawsuit for personal injuries. The legal maxims involved with these two types of cases differ greatly. I examine here the hurdles that really must be overcome in order to receive fair compensation for injuries suffered as the result of a fall.
Generally, the most difficult problem involves the question of notice. The injured victim must prove that the defendant either created the hazard which caused the injury, or that the defendant knew or needs to have known of the hazard long enough before the accident to have removed or repaired it.
For example , when a pedestrian trips on a crack in a sidewalk, the P. I. attorney hopes to find someone who lives in the region of the accident who knows that the crack existed for a long time. Or photos may show that the crack was not of recent origin. It is then simple to show that the property owner should have known of it and should have had the crack repaired. The city where the accident happened may also have liability in sidewalk cases for failure to enforce the municipal requirements that side walks be kept in good repair. This is particularly crucial when the property owner carries no insurance on the property. In this situation, the government may be the only defendant against whom a money judgment can be collected. The city becomes the “deep pocket” or “target” defendant.
The next issue that typically comes up in these cases is the victim’s own failure to be mindful. This is called “comparative negligence. ” (See Chapter 9 of the complete book for a discussion of comparative negligence. ) Defendants argue that the claimant needs to have seen the hazard and avoided it. While this argument often reduces the amount of compensation received, it often does not defeat the claim outright. There may be valid reasoned explanations why the hazard was not seen. For example , when a customer in a grocery store slips on grapes, the customer’s attention may have been drawn by a catchy advertisement or display set up by the store. It is a reasonable explanation which, if believed, should enable you to receive full compensation.
A thorough and prompt investigation can make most of the difference in the outcome of fall down cases. Witness statements must be obtained and photographs of the hazard must certanly be taken. Even short delays can hurt the case since memories fade rapidly and hazards get repaired quickly when injuries occur.