Posted on: 25 June 2020Share
When you meet with a slip and fall attorney, you're going to hear a fair amount of legal language thrown around. You'll be able to make better use of the time if you have some understanding of the following 5 concepts that are involved in most cases.
This is the core concept that makes a slip and fall claim possible. In American law, a property owner has a responsibility to keep their location safe for other people. That especially applies if the location is a business that invites members of the public to visit. A business is responsible for tasks like mopping up spills and keeping objects out of walkways to prevent potential hazards from harming people.
Failing to do the previously described preventative work may be interpreted as negligence. Several things have to be true for negligence to have occurred. First, the at-fault party must have had a reasonable amount of time to address the problem. Second, they must have known there was an issue. Third, they must have been in a position where a reasonable person would have addressed the situation.
The legal term for financial compensation tied to injuries is damages. When a slip and fall lawyer files a claim, they will request damages based on the medical costs associated with treating the client's injuries. Pain and suffering are also recoverable as damages. Emotional trauma is, too, in some states. Note that quantifiable damages must have occurred. If you simply bruised your knee and didn't need medical attention, then you won't be able to recover damages.
Some situations involve powers that are beyond a party's control, a phenomenon in the law calls force majeure, a greater force. If you fell on a sidewalk during a heavy rainstorm, for example, the defense might invoke force majeure. Bear in mind a defendant isn't automatically off the hook due to things like weather. Whatever force triggered the incident must have been overwhelming and close to impossible to anticipate in a way that would have allowed the business to take appropriate preventative measures. If a concert was held during a storm that everyone knew for days in advance, for example, it would be hard for them to claim force majeure.
Settlements and Judgments
The ultimate goal of a case is to reach an agreement where the defendant, usually through their insurance company, pays for your injuries. If a settlement can't be reached, you might have to sue. If you win, the money paid out will be part of a judgment.