3 Ways To Prove Breach Of Duty In Slip And Fall Cases

When an injured person wants compensation from a defendant in a slip and fall case, they and their attorney have to prove two things. First, they have to show that the defendant had a duty of care to prevent what happened. Second, they have to prove the defendant breached this duty. 

How do you prove such a break, though? A slip and fall lawyer will usually look at one or more of these three arguments.

Regulatory or Industry Standards  

One of the simplest arguments if that the defendant broke the law. This doesn't necessarily mean the defendant committed a crime. Instead, it typically means they violated a regulatory standard. Suppose local regulations require a store to keep a textured surface in any entryway that might become slick due to rain, ice, or snow. Failing to obey that standard would be strong evidence that the store breached its duty to protect customers from falls. You can also try to apply a similar approach to breaches of widely known industry standards.

A slip and fall attorney would want to show available evidence of this sort of breach. For example, a lawyer might seek the discovery of store surveillance tapes to show that someone had removed a carpet from the entryway without shutting the area down.

Lack of Warning Signs

Parties also have a duty of care to post warning signs in dangerous areas. Suppose you went to a hardware shop and someone had spilled motor oil on the floor. An employee should identify the problem, mark off the affected area, and then post signs warning customers of the hazard.

Generally, businesses need some knowledge that a hazard is present. It is hard to post warning signs within a minute of an accident in most cases, after all. However, if employees knew about the spill and did nothing for a while, a slip and fall victim would likely have a strong argument for a breach of duty.

Accident Patterns

A pattern of accidents can also serve as a compelling argument. If a residence or business has been the scenes of several accidents, there's an argument that the property owner should have done something. Suppose the sidewalk in front of a house has several heaves that have tripped multiple people in the past. A subsequent victim might tell their slip and fall lawyer about the pattern. Counsel can then show this as part of a claim or lawsuit to show that the owner has repeatedly ignored the harm the property has caused.

For more info, contact a slip and fall lawyer.