When you must file a claim following a premises liability accident, your right to obtain compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company is not automatic. You must prove the property owner’s negligence caused your accident and that you suffered injuries as a result. While your testimony will be helpful, you will need additional types of evidence if you want to build a strong case against the negligent party.
What Types of Evidence Should Be Collected in a Premises Liability Case?
Evidence can take many forms, and the types of evidence you will need will depend in part on the unique facts surrounding your accident and the disputes in your case. However, these are some helpful types of evidence in premises liability cases:
- Photographs. You want to take pictures of the hazardous condition that caused your accident, such as a puddle of water on a store floor, debris left in an aisle, or a pothole or crack in a parking lot. You want to take these pictures as soon as possible before the owner can remove or repair the hazard or put up warning signs. In addition, you want to take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible after your accident when they are most vividly apparent.
- Accident report. It is always a good idea to make an accident report after a slip and fall or other premises liability accident to notify the owner of your claim. If you made a report, you will want to obtain a copy of it. It may include valuable information about your accident and contact information for the owner, its insurance company, and witnesses.
- Lease and property ownership documents. To determine who the property owner was and which party was responsible for repairs, you need to review the negligent party’s lease agreement, deed, and any other ownership documents.
- Insurance policies. Your attorney will want to obtain and review insurance policies of the negligent party. If the owner is a different party or there are other potentially liable parties, your attorney would want to review the policies as well.
- Medical records and bills. Because your injuries are the basis of your claim, medical records regarding your injuries and bills for your medical treatments are essential pieces of evidence. They will help your attorney prove the seriousness of your injuries and the amount of compensation you should receive for medical expenses.
- Pay stubs and other employment records. You will need to provide copies of pay stubs and other employment records that document other wage losses that you suffered, such as lost vacation and sick time, bonuses, commissions, promotions, and additional perks of your job.
- Witness statements. Witness statements should be obtained soon after your accident while the witness’ memories are fresh and the witnesses can be located. Third-party neutral witnesses who do not know you and have no stake in your claim can be powerful witnesses if they support your case.
- Expert witnesses. Depending on the disputes in your case, you could need a variety of expert witnesses. Medical experts are almost always needed to verify the extent of your injuries, treatments that will be necessary, and your final prognosis. If the cause of the accident is in dispute, you may need to hire an accident reconstruction expert. Economic experts, engineers, and physical and vocational rehabilitation counselors are a few of the other experts that could help strengthen your claim.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what evidence is needed and can collect it for you as part of his investigation of your claim. To discuss your situation and your rights to compensation, call our office to schedule your free consultation.