The Difference Between Slip And Fall Cases And Personal Injury Cases
Interviewer: How do slip and fall cases differ from any other kind premise of liability cases or personal injury cases?
Richard Sailer: Slip and fall cases differ from personal injury cases in terms of public opinion. There are a lot of people out there who feel that you need to be responsible for yourself. You need to watch where you’re walking, and that individuals are responsible for their own safety. Knowing that your case doesn’t settle, a lawsuit is filed and ultimately you’ll end up in front of a jury of 12 people that don’t know you. There’s the likelihood that you’ll get people on the jury that feel that it’s the victims fault that they fell because they weren’t paying attention and it’s hard to overcome that.
If a Store Places Warning Signs, It’ll be More Difficult to Litigate a Slip and Fall Case
Interviewer: Would a case be more difficult to litigate if you had a slip and fall in a store that put out warning signs?
Richard Sailer: Yes, it definitely makes it more difficult to litigate but it wouldn’t necessarily make it impossible. Moreover, it would depend on where the signs were posted, when the signs were posted, and who posted them. Were the signs visible or not? What was the height of these signs? What color(s) were they? It’s all a factual thing resulting in each case being different.
The Warning Signs Placed in the Store May Not be Clearly Visible
Interviewer: Could one argue that warning signs in the store were not able to be seen because they blended into the environment?
Richard Sailer: That’s where it comes down to the specifics of the case. Is the sign the same color as the background or flooring? Do you have an orange sign in front of a display of orange soda? The nuances in colors may not be there to draw your attention to the warning signs. Furthermore, each case is unique and you may not have the expected outcome. Talk to an attorney and get a professional opinion on it.
A Previous Injury May Not Have a Very Significant Impact on a Premises Liability Case
Interviewer: Would a knee problem such as a torn ACL or recurring problems with my ankle hurt my case?
Richard Sailer: It may not hurt the case because a pre-existing condition would give the defense something to talk about. Was there additional damage? Was a pre-existing condition made worse? Was a previous condition exacerbated? Furthermore, you may get questioned by the medical experts to sort out what was pre-existing, what existed post loss, and what the future prognosis is.
The Role of Expert Witnesses in Slip and Fall Cases
Interviewer: Have you ever used expert witnesses for slip and fall cases?
Richard Sailer: The first hurdle you need to overcome is establishing if there was a dangerous condition on a property and expert witnesses play a pivotal role in identifying that. We usually require experts for something as simple as polishing the floors to determine if the store owners were using the proper type of wax, if the friction co-efficient is significant, or if they used anti-skid concrete. Those are things where an expert can go in, take a look at a floor, and immediately let us know whether or not the owners use the proper type of flooring, the proper type of wax, or the proper cleaning products.