Many people do not know the details of what needs to be proven to have a successful slip and fall claim. Slip and fall fraud is more common in Nevada because we have large casinos that scammers think are easy targets. In a true slip and fall case several things have to be established for liability, and you need a professional personal injury lawyer who has the expert knowledge to navigate the burden of proof and insurance companies to get to a successful settlement.
What Needs to be Proven in a Slip and Fall Case
Slip and falls are unique personal injury cases because you do not just have to prove negligence by an individual, you also have to establish “premise liability”. This means that under Nevada law property owners and/or operators have an obligation to keep their premises safe and free from hazards. To establish premise liability, the injured person and their personal injury lawyer have to establish the following:
- The defendant (person being sued) owns, leases or otherwise occupies the property and therefore has a duty to keep the premises free from potentially dangerous conditions
- The defendant failed to fulfill this obligation and that failure directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries
- The plaintiff suffered special and general damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence
In a slip and fall case, it must be proven that a victim’s injuries and subsequent losses are a direct result of the defendant’s failure to maintain a safe environment. For a case to be worth pursuing, the plaintiff has to incur significant damages such as medical bills, lost wages and/or pain and suffering. It is not advised to pursue a lawsuit over minor injuries such as soreness, bruises or scrapes.
“Open and Obvious” Law in Nevada
The “open and obvious defense” in Nevada premises liability laws applies when a hazardous condition on the defendant’s property is so obvious that any reasonable person would notice and avoid the hazard. Therefore, a property owner is not liable for failing to fix or warn about the condition. In effect, the property owner would argue that the hazard was readily knowable and that therefore the fault lies with the victim for not being careful enough around the hazard.
Some examples of open and obvious conditions include:
- Moving walkways like you see in large airports
It may seem like a tumble down a staircase is grounds for a slip and fall, but if there were no obstructions or maintenance needed on the staircase, then the property owner usually has no duty to warn people about them. Stairs are considered “open and obvious” and a person should be careful when using them.
The open and obvious law does not apply if there is an open and obvious area with hidden hazards. As mentioned before, if the stairs had needed maintenance, not had a hand rail, were not up to code, etc. then you may have a slip and fall claim citing that the property owner was negligent and did not provide adequate signage or restrict the area.
If the property meets the standards for premise liability and the area was not open and obvious, then you have to prove negligence. In Nevada, there are several elements of a negligence case you must prove in court in order for your negligence claim to be successful:
- The property owner should have known of the dangerous or hazardous condition
- The owner or employee knew of the condition but did not fix it
- The owner caused the dangerous condition
Evidence You Need in a Slip and Fall Case
To win fair compensation in a slip and fall claim, you will have to provide clear and compelling evidence of a property owner’s negligence, as well as evidence of your injuries and financial losses. Some of the required evidence can include:
- Your medical records
- Medical bills
- Receipts of any out-of-pocket costs
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Security camera footage
- Photographs of the hazardous condition
An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you gather and organize this information to ensure your best chances at a settlement that can make you whole.
If you feel that you have a legitimate slip and fall case where there was negligence on behalf of the business or their employees and you were being conscientious about your surroundings, then it is time to discuss your case with a slip and fall lawyer. At Matt Dion & Associates, we employ a tenacious, professional approach to help our clients seek full and fair compensation for their past and future medical bills, lost income, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.