What Do You Need to Prove in a Virginia Slip and Fall Case?

Just like any other negligence case, you’re going to have to show that the defendant had a duty, that there was a breach of that duty, that the plaintiff was harmed or injured because of it and suffered damages, and that there was a causation to connect the breach of the duty to the damages, to bridge that gap. You’ve got to show all those things, which makes contact with a Virginia slip and fall lawyer important.


Now, depending on the situation, whether you’re a business owner, whether you’re hosting social guests, the duty can change, but you’re going to need to show all those things, and you also normally will need to show notice.

If you can’t show that there’s anything that could have been done to prevent a fall, then it’s going to be really tough to show that a reasonable person would have done something differently. Basically just look back to the principles of the duty, the breach, the causation, and the damages, so you’ve got to have liability, causation and damages.

How Do You Prove Your Case in Virginia Cases?

In slip and fall cases, witnesses are very helpful for proving parts of your case.

It helps to have a witness that says “yeah, I saw this person walking, they were doing everything they should have been, they took a step and then, all of a sudden, their hands are up in the air and they’re laying on the ground, and they stood up and they were soaking wet, and you know, I couldn’t see a puddle, but once they got up, I saw it.”

That’s going to be really helpful testimony, so witnesses can be very helpful.

Another thing that can be extremely helpful is security footage. Basically every retail store these days has surveillance cameras.  Part of the reason that it’s important to talk to an attorney shortly after you’re injured is that an attorney can send a request to preserve evidence, and if they do that, it’s the at-fault party’s (or the landowner, occupier, or whatever their identity may be) obligation to preserve that evidence.

Attorneys may request to preserve evidence, which could be their video footage or it could be request to preserve something that broke when someone fell or landed on something that caused injuries or something like that. If the at-fault party receives a request to preserve evidence and failed to do so, then if the matter goes to trial  the attorney can seek a jury instruction on either spoliation of evidence or missing evidence. That basically means that the judge can instruct the jury that an inference can be drawn against the other party as a result of their failure to preserve the evidence. So requests to preserve evidence is really helpful in that regard, one of the tools that we have as attorneys to gather evidence like:

  • Witness testimony,
  • Surveillance footage,
  • Logs (like sweep logs at a store)

These are all helpful. They might be able to show the area in question hadn’t been inspected for 6 hours before somebody slip and fell, or they might show that someone typically on most nights comes by every 15 minutes, but they only came by every 45 minutes on the night someone was hurt.

Things like that really give you a better picture of what’s going on, what should have happened, what normally happens, and what happened in the incident in question. Those can all help toward proving a case. If there are industry standards, for example if it’s a retail store and there are industry standards that every store is supposed to follow or policies and procedures that the individual company might have, those can also help as far as proving up the case.