Filing A Slip And Fall Lawsuit? Preserve The Videotape!
Our office receives numerous calls every year from people that have been injured after slipping and falling at a business, or tripping and falling at a business. Because many of these businesses are owned by large corporations – Wal Mart, Publix, Winn Dixie, Sears, McDonalds, hospitals, etc. – most of the people that call are upset because the corporation refuses to accept responsibility for the accident, or for the person’s emergency room bills, or just treats the person rudely when they call the corporation to ask about getting medical treatment for injuries suffered in the fall. Once they are treated rudely by the corporation, the only option the injured person feels is left is to file a slip and fall lawsuit.
The simplest and most effective method to get satisfaction in a slip and fall lawsuit is to request the business to preserve it’s in store videotape surveillance. However, this needs to be done immediately after the accident, and should be done in writing so the request cannot be disputed later on. If a slip and fall lawsuit is filed, the business will eventually be required to produce the videotape.
Keep in mind, a business is not responsible for every slip and fall or trip and fall that occurs at the business simply because it happened at the business. In Florida, a business owes two duties to people that are lawfully at the business – 1. To maintain the business in a reasonable safe condition; and, 2. To warn people at the business of dangerous conditions that the business actually knows about, or should have known about. This standard has to be proven in every slip and fall lawsuit or the judge can dismiss the lawsuit.
The easiest way to prove a slip and fall lawsuit, or a trip and fall lawsuit, is to get the in-store videotape surveillance for the time period immediately before the slip and fall or trip and fall accident. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and if a puddle of water, or a piece of vegetable or fruit on the floor of a store, shows up in the store surveillance video, it will be impossible for the business to deny it was there and caused the fall. The in-store video surveillance video will also show how long the dangerous condition existed before the fall, and how it got to be on the floor. Although not all businesses have in-store videotape surveillance cameras, most large business chains – Home Depot, Publix, Winn Dixie, McDonalds, Wal Mart – all have cameras throughout their stores. These cameras run 24 hours a day/7 days a week and should capture most accidents involving trip and fall or slip and fall. Lawsuits can be won or lost simply by having the in-store surveillance video.
If you have been injured at a business, and are considering making a slip and fall lawsuit, or trip and fall lawsuit, make sure you request in writing that the business preserve all in-store videotape from its cameras for a period of one hour prior to the time of your accident.