Don’t lose your shoes…or your slip & fall claim could follow
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries in the United States, accounting for 15% of all accidental deaths, 25% of all workplace accidents and the majority of traumatic brain injuries. If you are the victim of a slip and fall, your ability to recover for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering will come down to whether you can prove:
- That a dangerous condition existed on the property;
- That the property owner knew, or should have known, about this defect;
- That the dangerous condition caused you to fall; and
- That you sustained injuries as a direct result of the fall.
In the event you file a claim, the insurance company will try everything possible to deflect blame for the fall. They will blame you for not looking where you were going, claim that they did not/could not have known about the condition on their property, and they will even claim that your shoes were the real cause of your fall.
This last defense is the most important to be aware of because it requires you to provide your shoes to the insurance company (through your lawyer) so that they have the opportunity to have them examined by their expert. That expert will want to claim that the shoes were torn, were the wrong size or even lacked sufficient traction in an effort to shift the blame from their client. Of course, these defenses are normally nonsense and therefore if you provide the shoes for examination they will almost always go away.
However, if you have lost or discarded your shoes before the insurance company gets a chance to look at them,they will automatically assume that there was something wrong with them, and they could use that as a reason to deny your claim. Even worse, if your claim goes later goes to court, the Judge could instruct the jury that your failure to provide the shoes for inspection is grounds for them to assume that the footwear was defective in some way.
Therefore, if you are involved in a slip and fall incident it is vitally important that you preserve your shoes until your lawyer tells you that they are no longer necessary.
Josh Ferraro works primarily out of the firm’s Stuart office, and assists clients throughout the Treasure Coast with claims arising from personal injury and wrongful death as well as those involved in intra-family disputes involving a contested will or trust. In addition to his litigation practice, Josh continues to advise family law lawyers throughout the State on the process of distributing retirement benefits in compliance with federal law.