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How to Win a Slip and Fall Case: Information from a Columbia, SC Lawyer

January 17, 2022

: Criminal Defense

“Slip and fall” is the legal term used for a personal injury case where someone trips, slips, or falls and is injured on someone else’s property. Usually falling under the broad category of premises liability claims, slip and fall cases claim that an at-fault party (usually the property owner or lessee) is responsible for injuries caused, due to negligent care of their property.

If you’ve suffered an injury on someone else’s property, and it was the result of an at-fault party’s negligence, you may be entitled to legal compensation. That said, slip and fall cases can be tricky to win, so it’s important that you know what information you need to prove your claim. Here’s some useful information from our trusted, experienced Columbia, SC lawyers. 

2 Key Factors In Winning a Slip and Fall Case

Slip and fall cases can be tough, but they’re by no means impossible to win. In order to get the results you want and the compensation you deserve, you need to accomplish two things:

  1. Prove that another party was negligent, and therefore liable for your injury
  2. Prove that you didn’t cause or contribute to the accident with your own actions or carelessness

By keeping these things top-of-mind, you’ll have a higher likelihood of winning your case. We’ll break down each of them a little further below. 

How to Prove Negligence and Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

In order to hold another party responsible for your injuries in a slip and fall accident, you must prove that either 1) a reasonable person would have, or should have, noticed the hazardous condition and repaired it, but the party failed to do so, or 2) the party actually caused the hazardous condition leading to the accident, and it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would be injured because of it. 

The term “reasonable” is important here, as it comes up in many stages of a slip and fall case. In order to be held negligent, and therefore liable, the party must have failed to act as a reasonable person would have acted under similar circumstances. It’s a bit of a subjective concept, but most juries and judges consider the following questions in their decision-making process:

  • Did the dangerous condition exist long enough for a reasonable person to take action and eliminate it?
  • Did the owner or operator have actual or constructive notice of the hazard?
  • Was there a reasonable justification for the creation of the potential hazard?
  • Could the dangerous condition have been made less dangerous through preventative measures like relocation, signage, or access prevention?
  • Were any warnings provided?
How to Prove You Didn’t Cause or Contribute to the Accident

In many slip and fall cases, the defendant (property owner or operator) will argue that you are partially responsible for the accident and your injuries. This argument is made under the legal term “comparative fault”, which is codified into each state’s comparative negligence and contributory negligence laws. 

In South Carolina, the legal doctrine “modified comparative negligence” applies to all shared fault situations in a personal injury case. Under this law, your own shared fault doesn’t act as a barrier to recovery, so you can still get compensation from other at-fault parties — as long as your own negligence isn’t more than their combined negligence. Your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your share of the fault. 

For example, if the court or jury sets your damages at $50,000, but finds you 50% responsible, you’ll only receive $25,000 from other involved parties. 

In order to avoid losing any of your entitled damages, you need to prove that you didn’t contribute to or cause the accident in any way. Here are some things juries and judges will look for when determining this:

  • Did you engage in an activity that may have prevented you from noticing the hazard, when an otherwise reasonable person would have noticed it?
  • Did you have lawful access to the location where the accident occurred?
  • Did you ignore or fail to notice adequate signage or safety measures that were utilized?
  • Was the hazard open and obvious?
Work With a Columbia, SC Lawyer to Win Your Slip and Fall Case

Ready to win your slip and fall case? Bernstein & Berstein is your source for thorough and responsive legal action from some of the best attorneys in Columbia, SC. We handle each case personally to ensure that you’re taken care of — throughout the legal process and after. Contact our team to get started today. 

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