Establishing Responsibility in DC Slip and Fall Cases
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in DC two of the most important factors when filing a claim are finding out who the responsible party is and then proving that their breach of duty is what led to the accident. Below, a DC slip and fall lawyer discusses each of these and how they can lead to a successful claim.
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How Do You Go About Establishing Responsibility In a Slip and Fall Case?
In order to establish responsibility, it’s important to determine who is responsible: either the owner or whomever the owner has contracted to be responsible for the maintenance of the property. It is crucial that you have the right parties.
Next, identifying any witnesses that can corroborate what occurred is extremely important in these cases. Just as important is evidence of the actual defect: this could include photos of the hazard as well as any evidence about how long has that defect been there that will assist in establishing that the owner or landlord had notice of the hazard.
Sometimes, by the very nature of the defect, you can determine that it was caused by wear and tear over a period of time. In this situation, an attorney will investigate whoever is responsible for the maintenance of the property to determine whether, by proper inspection, they would have noticed the hazard and therefore had actual notice of knowledge of it, and whether they should have been inspecting the area where the hazard is located.
An attorney will investigate whether there are maintenance or inspection logs in order to try to obtain the records. Those are the kinds of things that you look at to establish liability. As for establishing damages, you look to the medical treatment, the medical records, the medical bills and everything associated with the treatment.
What Has To Be Proven In a Slip and Fall Case?
First, you have to prove that the defendant has ownership of and/or responsibility for the maintenance of the premises. Next you have to prove that there was a dangerous condition, and that the property owner had known or should have known of it. Finally, you have to prove that there were injuries caused by the dangerous condition.
Generally speaking, in any personal injury case you have to prove the existence of a duty, that the duty was breached, that a person was injured, and that the breach of the duty was the cause of the injury. In premises liabilities cases, the duty is to maintain the premises in a safe condition, free from hazards, and to maintain the property so that it doesn’t present an unreasonable risk of harm to those who are lawfully on the premises. Then you have to prove a breach of that duty, such as a dangerous condition that the property knew of, should have known of, or should have discovered. Then you have to show that the breach of the duty caused your injury.