This is the next post in my series on the handling of premises liability cases in Peoria, Illinois. My last article discussed how comparative fault can impact a slip and fall case. It is important for victims to understand that they can still possibly recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, some victims make the mistake of thinking there is nothing they can do if they were partially at fault. Discussing your situation with an attorney will help you to fully understand your options. In this article I will discuss how the discovery process can be used to establish a property owner’s negligence after a fall. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with an injury lawyer.
I have previously discussed the use of discovery in trucking accident cases. The same tools are available to the victim of a slip and fall. Discovery, the process by which information is gained from the other side, allows a victim to take the sworn testimony of witnesses, to require that the defendant(s) provide written answers to written questions, or that records or other important documents be provided. In the context of a slip and fall, these tools can be used to obtain security footage which can show that a hazardous condition existed. They can also be used to obtain the property manager’s written policies in regard to procedures used to keep the property safe for the public. Finally, the process can be used to take testimony from employees, management, and other witnesses who have relevant information.
The use of discovery after a fall is best explained through example. Suppose an individual is walking down the aisle of a grocery store. Now suppose that a gallon of water spilled on the floor and there is a large puddle. The individual slips, falls, and suffers a serious neck injury. The victim’s attorney uses a Request for Production to obtain the store policies for checking the aisles. These policies state that they are to be checked every hour and that the person checking them is to sign a form stating that they have done so. The security footage, which is also obtained through a request, shows that the puddle had been there for hours. Counsel for the Plaintiff can also request the maintenance forms showing that the aisle was checked. They can also depose the employee who was responsible for cleaning the aisle. The maintenance form proves to be unsigned and the employee testifies, under oath, that their manager had told them to focus on other tasks. This evidence may then be presented at trial. Given these facts, the victim would likely have a strong case. How the jury will rule, however, is always going to depend on the specific facts of a situation.
A point that cannot be stressed enough is the need to hire an experienced attorney if you have been injured on another’s property. Contrary to what is shown in movies and television, trials are won through the presentation of evidence which is collected through a methodical process. Given that no two cases are the same, the type of information requested through the discovery process will vary from situation to situation. By retaining counsel with experience in such matters, you help to improve the chances that your case will be handled correctly.
If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria slip and fall lawyer. My office believes in protecting the rights of people, as opposed to corporations. We are proud of the level of service which we provide and we will ensure you know what to expect as your case moves forward. Contact us online or by telephone today. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.