If You Have Been in a Car Accident or Slip and Fall, Take These Points into Consideration
When you’ve been involved in a car accident or a slip and fall, you may be thinking of filing a lawsuit to recover your damages.
Although a lot of people’s initial thinking may be to sue someone for the accident, it may not always be the case that a lawsuit is necessary or that you have a valid claim. It is important to think about the issues talked about in this article before filing any lawsuit.
Is There Any Liability for My Accident?
The first thing to consider is if there is any liability for your accident. When we talk about “liability” we mean showing who was at fault or responsible for the accident. Even though you may have been injured, the other party involved may not always be liable for the accident.
Car Accident Liability
If it is a car accident for example, the other driver may not have been at fault for the accident. The easiest case to think about is if you were stopped at a red light or stop sign, and you were rear ended by another driver. Liability seems clear in that kind of an accident. You were stopped at a light or stop sign, and the other driver should have stopped behind you. When they fail to do so, they are likely liable and negligent in rear-ending you.
But liability may not always be that clear, and sometimes liability may be against you. If you rear-ended someone that was stopped, or if you ran a red light, it may be obvious that liability is against you. These are common sense scenarios. You likely will not have much success bringing a lawsuit in these instances.
The less obvious cases are when there is a dispute as to who did what in the accident. In other words, who is at fault or liable for the accident. Some examples include:
- Sideswipe or Lane Change – this is when two cars hit each other on the side. This may happen when cars are changing lanes or trying to pass by each other. Liability comes down to which driver stayed in their lane, or was in a lane first, and which driver then tried coming into their lane.
- Red Light Dispute – this is when both cars claim to have had the green light, and that the other driver was the one who ran a red light. An accident then ends up happening in the intersection. Liability here depends on which driver actually ran the red light.
- Stop Sign Dispute – this is similar to the red light dispute, except the drivers are disputing who came to a stop first at a stop sign and had the right-of-way, or which driver ran a stop sign. Liability again depends on who made the stop first and had the right-of-way.
- Turn Dispute – this is when one car turns in front of another car. Sometimes this could be that a car is turning from one street onto another. Other times, a car turns in front of another car without yielding. Liability comes down to whether the car should have turned or waited to turn. Oftentimes, the person turning will claim that the other vehicle was speeding or going too fast as they were turning, and the accident happened because of the other vehicle’s speed.
These are the scenarios that we see more often, and liability can be in dispute in each one of these situations. Who actually ran the red light or stop sign, or who was changing lanes and caused the accident? Did the driver that was turning make a turn directly in front of someone, or was the car that hit them speeding? All these are questions that will need to be determined in order to establish liability.
Sometimes you may have some evidence that can help determine liability. For example, you may have witnesses on your side who are willing to make a statement or testify on your behalf. Even skid marks or debris from the vehicles may help show how the accident happened. Nowadays, cars even tend to have dashboard cameras that may have videotaped the whole accident. Photographs and any other evidence may help you too. A police report may also have some clues. All of these things may help determine liability in an accident that is not so straightforward.
Slip and Fall Liability
Liability is an even bigger issue in a slip and fall case potentially. Victims often think that a store or restaurant is automatically liable anytime they slip and fall in the store or restaurant. Unfortunately, the laws work differently.
Instead, like a car accident, you have to actually show that the store or restaurant is liable for your slip and fall accident. The store or restaurant must have done something wrong (or been negligent) for there to be liability. This includes that the store knew about the spill that caused you to slip and fall, but then failed to clean it. Or, if you can show that the spill existed for a long enough time for the store or restaurant to have known about it, but they failed to conduct inspections or cleanings to have prevented the slip and fall. Another way may be that the store or restaurant failed to provide warnings (like a cone) for a spill when they should have.
In some way or another, you have to show that the store or restaurant is liable for the slip and fall. It’s not enough that you slipped and fell while at the store or restaurant, you have to show liability (or some sort of wrongdoing) by the store or restaurant like some of the ways mentioned above.
Again, having evidence may help show liability in your slip and fall accident. This includes a store surveillance video, photographs, cleaning logs, inspection logs, witness statements, employee statements, and an incident report.
Why You Need to Show Liability for Your Personal Injury Case
We have talked at length about liability. The reason it is important is because you need liability to make a good case. Without liability, even if you were in an accident, the person or party that was involved in your accident isn’t necessarily responsible for your injuries or damages. You need to show liability (that the other person caused the accident or was responsible for it), in order to have them pay for your injuries and damages.
Liability thereby needs to be the first thing to consider. If you are going to have issues showing liability, you are going to have problems proving your case. As the victim in the case, it’ll be your burden to prove liability in order to be able to collect on your injuries or damages.
Sometimes an experienced lawyer can help you argue liability on your behalf, even if your claim is denied based on liability. Other times, even the best lawyer may not be able to budge a stubborn opponent who is insistent on denying your claim. So first, take liability into consideration before you proceed.
What Are Your Injuries and Damages?
Another thing to keep in mind is what injuries and damages you suffered in an accident.
Sometimes people are involved in an accident, but they may not have any significant injuries or damages. You may have been involved in a car accident, but there is only slight damage to your vehicle. If your car only has cosmetic damages that won’t cost much to fix, and you or your passengers weren’t injured, then you may not have much damages.
Once you show liability, your damages will be the other biggest driving factor on what your claim or lawsuit is valued at. If you have minimal or no damages, then the other person or party will generally not value your case as much. You likely will not receive as high of a settlement offer, and if the case goes to trial, you may not get as much of a damages award from a jury or trial.
On the other hand, if you have high damages, then your claim or case may be viewed as something more significant. For instance, if you have been in a car accident or slip and fall, and you had to go to the emergency room or a doctor, then your accident may be seen as something more significant.
What happens is that victims are sometimes involved in an accident, but they don’t have any real injuries or damages. That’s when it may be a lot harder to get any significant money for your accident. If that happens, you may wonder if you should proceed or not in making a claim or filing a case. It can be especially shaky if liability is also a problem as discussed above.
Find A Top Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Case
The best thing to do is to hire an experienced lawyer to help you in your personal injury case. A top attorney can help navigate you through these issues.
A lawyer can help you determine if you have liability issues. They can also help you collect the evidence you may need to prove liability. Most importantly, they can potentially help argue on your behalf to help establish liability.
A lawyer can also help you figure out your damages. They can even refer you to doctors and help you show your damages to make a case.
Without an experienced attorney acting on your behalf, you may have issues with showing liability and damages to make a case. Getting an expert attorney is the best way to help your accident case.
What Should You Do if You Have a Personal Injury Case?
If you’ve been in a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury case, make sure to keep these issues in mind. Since this article can only cover so much, it is very important that you do not solely rely on this information. You should consult with an experienced attorney to make sure you take the best steps to help in your case.
Local San Diego Personal Injury for Car Accident, Slip and Fall, and Personal Injury Cases
At The Nalan Law Firm, PC, we know firsthand the issues you’re dealing with after car accident, slip and fall, and personal injury cases; and in having to fight against the insurance company to recover your damages. That is why our lawyer is here to help with your car accident, slip and fall, and personal injury case. If you have a question or are considering filing a car accident claim or lawsuit, please contact us to discuss with one of our experienced accident attorneys at (619) 736-0080 for a free consultation.
Any content and information provided by this website and/or The Nalan Law Firm, PC is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice or a substitute for competent legal counsel. Any exchange of information contained in this website, is not intended, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.