Victim Blaming in Slip and Fall Accidents: What You Should Know
Posted January 2nd, 2018 by Anthony Carbone, PC.
Categories: Slip and Falls.
It might seem somewhat shocking to you. Clearly, there was a defect in the sidewalk where you fell. However, it appears that the insurance company feels you share in the blame for your slip and fall accident. You find their contention to be outrageous and downright insulting. So, what should you do?
One of the first things you should consider is contacting an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. Your slip and fall accident needs to be documented to capture the appearance of the accident site as it existed at the time of your fall. At the very least, you should take your own photographs of the dangerous conditions and make sure they are date stamped.
But, what about this idea of blaming the victim? Under the theory of comparative negligence, your award for damages could be lessened when your negligent actions are compared to the property owner. In some circumstances, you could actually be denied any money at all. For this reason, the defense will be looking to place the blame otherwise.
Slip and Fall Accidents: Common Defenses
When it comes down to it, it’s the way that the defense can minimize making payments to you. For example, that uneven sidewalk? For argument’s sake, let’s say it was caused by tree roots protruding from underneath the pavement. More than likely, you will be asked how often you pass by the obstacle in the walkway.
No doubt you’ll be upfront and mention that you’ve avoided falling a few times before. After all, you pass the dangerous condition on a daily basis as you walk to the corner to your bus. Unfortunately, you may have unwittingly made admissions against your own interest.
For example, there is the idea that you knew that the hazard existed. You could have easily walked across the street and circumvented the accident. Notably, you’ve also shared that you managed to escape injury when encountering the same circumstances in the past. Instead, you decided to confront the known risk.
Meanwhile, the defense will cease upon another reason to blame you, the injury victim. All things considered, it’s not just that you knew about the hazardous condition. You’ve managed to navigate around the uneven sidewalk in the past. What did you do differently?
These are just two examples of common defenses on slip and fall accident claims. There’s the chance that the defense will say that the problem was so obvious that you should have known to avoid it. Additionally, they could say that you were careless. They may even ask you if you were busy texting and walking.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the defense might claim that the alleged defect was too minor to cause your fall. Additionally, they could assert that the area was marked off to alert you of the danger and you should have noticed it.
In the long run, your attorney should be prepared to advocate on your behalf. More than likely, an engineering expert will be retained to evaluate the site. Insurance companies are not looking to give away money; therefore, proving negligence is key to your claim.
We Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you. Contact our offices to schedule an appointment, We are here to help you during this difficult time.