We will begin by mentioning that there is no question that there is a stigma associated with Slip and Fall injuries. Young people today may be shocked to learn that many years ago, we all lived in a world with far fewer cameras. There were no cameras in our phones. No cameras in our cars. No cameras in our laptop computers. Some of us even remember a time before laptop computers. Gasp! There was even a time going way back when stores did not have several dozen cameras pointed at all angles of the interior and exterior extents of their property. But, those times are in a far away past. Nowadays, most stores and other businesses do have video security for theft prevention, among many other reasons. Certainly, another outcome of this increase in video surveillance is the increase in instances of a business’ ability to question slip and fall claims.
Before the age of video, cases like this came down to photographs of the scene, descriptions of weather conditions as well as witness testimony. With the advent of surveillance, we began to see how many people were “staging” accidents in stores, having zero awareness of cameras rolling all the while. Hence, the stigma. There are more than enough stories of people trying to make a living as professional accident victims.
Video surveillance does not fix everything for property owners, however. First of all, there have been cases in which the video shows a genuine accident, and property owners may still insist that the injured party is exaggerating an injury on film by laying on the ground or flailing about. Some store operators have even gone so far as to delete tape! This does not look good in the eyes of the Court, by the way.
One way or another, property owners, business owners, insurance companies and yes, attorneys want to make sure that Slip and Fall claims are real and reasonable. It is important to know that the laws are different for incidents on the property of a homeowner as opposed to those on the property of a commercial business. For example local municipal regulations might dictate how much time a homeowner has to clear a sidewalk after a snow storm. A store owner may be given reasonable consideration under the law as it pertains the time taken to clean up spilled liquid and/or block off access to an area where a spill occurred. Laws also generally state that courts must recognize if the injured party could have taken more reasonable action to avoid the area that lead to the slip or fall. If someone goes out of their way to find spilled juice in a supermarket when their is an abundance of clearance around the spill, they are going to have a hard time seeking damages in a court of law.
All of that said, if a person is injured due to the clear negligence of another party, it is fair for the injured party to pursue compensation for injuries. If you have been hurt in an accident and feel you have a case, please contact our offices to learn your options for gaining restitution through legal means.