Burden of Proof in McKinney Slip and Fall Cases
Bringing a civil claim against a negligent party is not easy. The burden of proof in McKinney slip and fall cases falls to the victims of the accident. Gathering evidence while you are injured posses challenges that could prevent you from making a recovery. Instead, let an attorney shoulder some of the tasks at hand. With the help of a lawyer who could gather evidence, compile the facts of your case, and vie for compensation in court, you could focus on your recovery.
What Victims Need to Prove for a Slip and Fall Claim in McKinney
When someone files a slip and fall claim, they have the burden of proof. If they do not prove each and every element of the claim, they lose. They are required to prove liability which might change depending on who the premises owner is and who the plaintiff is in regard to the premises owner.
Most slip and fall claims involve a business invitee, someone who is invited onto a property for the purpose of doing business. Usually, a plaintiff must show that the premises owner knew or should have known of the problem causing the injury to a business invitee.
In certain situations, the injured party is considered a licensee and not an invitee. When a person on the property is not on the property for the potential economic benefit of the owner or occupier but is on the property with simple permission to be there, that person is known as a licensee. When a licensee is injured, it is the burden of the injured person, the licensee, to prove that the premises owner actually knew of the problem and chose not to correct it or warn about it. It is a higher standard than with a business invitee because the injured person must prove actual knowledge by another regardless of the premises owner or occupier should have known of the dangerous condition. If that is not possible, the case may be disposed of by summary judgment against the injured party without a trial.
Competent lawyers addressing the burden of proof for McKinney slip and fall cases begin working on the case by developing the evidence through discovery and the deposition process. They put together the evidence of knowledge of the dangerous condition first because if they cannot put the evidence together, they lose the case.
With the help of the victim, lawyers could put together a value to the damages the victim has suffered. That involves obtaining medical records, getting doctors testimonies, and sometimes obtaining testimony from an economist when there is a lost earnings capacity. When the amount of future care needs is significant, the lawyer puts together a life care plan with the help of a professional life care planner to show the type of medical care and other assistance the injured party needs.
For instance, when a person is injured in a bad fall and is confined to a wheelchair for many months or even for years, home modifications may be necessary. Sometimes, having a vehicle retrofitted makes it easier for the person to travel and makes them independent. A ramp into the home or expanding a bathroom to be handicap accessible may be needed.
When special accommodations are needed, the lawyer puts the evidence together so the jury is able to establish the value of damages and compensate accordingly. The lawyer also gathers evidence that demonstrates how the accident personally affects the injured party. In Texas and in most other jurisdictions, an injured person could recover what is called non-economic damages, or as some competent lawyers call them, human damages. They are damages for pain, suffering, and impairment. When someone has a severe impairment, they are more at risk of additional danger going forward. The jury could take that into consideration when putting the damages together.
As an example, the lawyer for the injured person obtains testimony to show a jury that because their client is now dependent on a walker or is wheelchair-bound, they are in greater danger if something such as a fire happens in their home. Criminals prey on the weak, and anything that makes somebody look weaker makes them a potential victim of crime. The lawyer assesses what changes can be made in the person’s life to make them safer in those areas and provide the costs for those losses.
Potential Defenses by Wrongdoers
The defense uses different techniques to argue against slip and fall claims. Even still, the burden of proof for McKinney slip and fall cases is on the victim. In Texas, one of the defenses to slip and fall cases is that the danger was open and obvious. When a danger is open and obvious to everyone, that is a defensive issue. A summary judgment could be granted in Texas on that defensive issue as something that most people would consider an issue of fact, what is open and obvious to somebody versus what is not open and obvious.
It is critical in fighting these defenses to show that the defendant knew or should have known of the problem, but the problem was not open and obvious to the person who was injured at the time and place of the injury. In some circumstances, the defect might be open and obvious in the daytime and not open and obvious at night. If the injury happens after dark, the way a premise is designed may enhance the danger at night.
For example, lights focused on trees in a shopping center from a cutout through a sidewalk. The lights shine into people’s eyes after dark and they do not see the cutout because of the light in their eyes. That is a potential premises defect.
Because of the way slip and fall cases are defended, the open and obvious defense is easy to develop when putting the evidence together, but difficult to respond to by the injured person. The plaintiff’s lawyer must deal with the burden of proof in McKinney and show it was obvious to the property owner but was not obvious to the injured party under all of the circumstances surrounding the injury.
Stores are often designed specifically to draw people’s eyes away from the floor to merchandise. Sometimes, the evidence is essential to show that a particular issue on the floor was not open and obvious to the person who was shopping because of the nearby items designed to lift people’s eyes off the floor.
Let an Attorney Help Proove a McKinney Slip and Fall Case
When you decide to hold negligent parties accountable for the injuries you suffered on their property, the burden of proof in McKinney slip and fall cases falls to you. If you are not familiar with the legal proceedings of a civil claim, filing a lawsuit could end in a less-than-favorable verdict. Instead of allowing that to happen, choose to work with an attorney who could hold these negligent parties accountable and obtain the fair compensation you need for your injuries.