Slip and fall cases can be very reliant on physical evidence. Sometimes the identification of a hazard may rest on the type of shoes the person was wearing at the time they slipped and fell or tripped and fell. Examining the actual shoes worn at the time of the accident could be significantly more helpful than testing a similar shoe from the manufacturer. Preserving the shoes and the clothing worn at the time of the accident immediately preceding it can make your attorney’s argument a lot more effective.
This information is of most use to people who have recently sustained a slip and fall injury, however if you happen to come across this post after being injured some time ago, you may still be able to take advantage of these tips:
1. Preserve the Shoes
All too often a slip and fall injury goes unreported for some time. When the injured person realizes the injuries, the evidence could be long gone. If you haven’t already been advised by an attorney, preserve the shoes worn at the time of the incident right away. Do not wear them again! Instead, put them in a clean plastic bag and place inside a shoe box. Do not throw away the shoes or attempt to clean them. By preserving the shoes you allow the attorney to obtain proper surface testing reports from experts who now have access to the actual shoes in question.
2. Preserve Your Clothing
In many cases, liquids responsible for the slip are cleaned up by the defendant to avoid further hazard or to temper with evidence. If you were unable to photograph the scene or remember what you slipped on, it may be possible to recover evidence from your clothing. Stains on your clothing may help identify the substance responsible for the slippery conditions, which in turn helps establish that a dangerous condition existed. Remember, dangerous condition is one of the four elements that must be proven in a slip and fall case. If it’s not too late, stop wearing the clothes you had on at the time of the accident and preserve them in a clean plastic bag right away. Stained and torn clothing can also help establish the very important mechanics of the fall. If you haven’t already contacted an attorney, do so as soon as possible. Although it is still possible to determine the surface conditions and or the liquids present at the time by questioning the injured person, having physical evidence is much more conclusive than verbal testimony from memory.
Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
The reason injury attorneys will tell you to get in touch with one as soon as possible after a slip and fall injury is not so they can have your business. The time between the injury and when it is reported is critical. If contacted early enough, an attorney will send a photographer to the scene of the accident to document important evidence that will aid your case. By hiring an attorney right away, you benefit from his or her knowledgeable advice and help establish a proper procedure for careful gathering of evidence, testimony and documentation critical to your slip and fall claim.
Do you have questions about lost or destroyed evidence after a slip and fall injury?
We’d like to hear from you. Contact our Los Angeles slip and fall attorney to see how we can help.