Potential Evidence in a Premises Liability Claim
If you were hurt on someone else’s property in Jackson, MS, you may find that you need to file a premises liability claim. This legal action can help you recover the losses you suffered through a property owner’s negligence. But as with any type of personal injury claim, you must be able to provide ample evidence to prove your claim.
The law office of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC devotes an area of practice to handling complex Mississippi premises liability cases. If you have further questions about potential evidence in a premises liability claim, contact our office for a free consultation to discuss your case.
What Type of Evidence Do You Need To Prove a Premises Liability Case?
Potential evidence in a premises liability claim can vary but must be able to prove that a property owner’s negligence was the cause of your injuries and associated damages.
The following types of evidence can help support a premises liability claim:
Video or Photos of the Accident Scene
One of the best ways to prove your premises liability case is to have photographic evidence to support your claim. Video footage can be especially beneficial. This type of evidence can come from security or CCTV cameras, dashcams in nearby vehicles, or from the cell phone of an eyewitness who was able to capture the incident on camera.
However, video evidence showing exactly what occurred to cause your accident is not always available. And in cases when it is available, your lawyer may need to work quickly to secure this key evidence before it is destroyed by a property owner hoping to evade liability.
Whether video footage is accessible or not, you should always try to take photos of the scene. The best time to take photos is in the accident’s immediate aftermath. This is when evidence is fresh, untouched, and positioned exactly as it was when you were injured. If you need to be taken to the hospital by ambulance or are otherwise incapacitated by your injuries, ask a friend, family member, or bystander to help you snap a few pictures.
As much as possible, make sure your photographs show:
- The dangerous condition that caused your injury (such as a spill on the floor or a broken stair)
- The absence or presence of signs warning of the dangerous condition
- Where an animal was contained or allowed to roam free if an attack caused your injury
- The exact location you were injured, whether it was a slip and fall, electrocution, or another injury
- Any ropes, markers, fences, or containment for a dangerous condition, or lack thereof
- Any weather or seasonal factors that may have contributed to the accident (such as ice or snow)
- Your injuries, both immediately after the accident and as they progress over the coming weeks
An accident report may be made by the property owner or manager, or by a police officer who responds to the scene. Both of these types of accident reports are important to your premises liability claim. If you are injured on another person’s property, you must report it right away to the property owner or manager on duty. If the injury is highly serious in nature, local police may also be called.
The accident report should include the basic details of the premises liability case:
- How the injury occurred
- The type of injury suffered
- The location of the accident
- The exact time and date of the accident
- The names and contact information of injured parties
- The property manager or owner’s name and insurance information
- The name of the person who responded when the accident was reported
- The names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Any other details relevant to the incident
Be sure to obtain a copy of the accident report and police report if one is made. If you aren’t able to get a copy of the report from the police officer on duty, ask how you can acquire one later online or at the police station. When you get a copy of the property manager’s accident report, review the information to be sure everything is correct.
Any person who witnessed the incident that caused your injuries could help support your claim through their testimony. This could be a friend or family member who was with you at the time or a passerby who observed the accident.
When the accident report is being filled out, ask an eyewitness if they would be willing to give their name and contact information. Keep this information to share with your attorney. The witness can be called upon later to provide testimony that can strengthen your premises liability claim.
Documents Proving Property Ownership
Because premises liability cases hinge upon property owner negligence, the property’s ownership must be verified. If it is unclear who is actually responsible for the property on which you were injured, your premises liability lawyer may need to do some investigating. Particularly when it comes to commercial properties, the owner may not even be in the state or the country. Property records, deeds, and lease agreements can be produced to establish ownership in a premises liability case.
Evidence of Your Injuries
In addition to a sequence of photographs illustrating the progression of your injuries, it’s a good idea to keep a health journal documenting your pain and mobility levels, as well as the treatment regimen you are completing.
You’ll also need official documents to show that you sought treatment, the condition you were diagnosed with, your prognosis, and the total amount of your medical expenses. This information will be used to calculate the economic damages you are seeking through your premises liability claim. Your lawyer will also need to establish that your injuries resulted from your premises liability accident, not another cause or pre-existing condition.
Documents used to prove the extent, cause, and cost of your injuries can include:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Ambulance bills
- Hospital admission reports
- X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or other medical imaging results
- Laboratory test results
- Notes made by doctors and nurses
- Records of specialist visits
- Physical therapy records
- Prescriptions for medications
Expert Witness Testimony
An expert witness is someone hired to provide a professional opinion about your case. For example, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, a traffic reconstructionist can analyze the position of the involved vehicles to determine their speed and trajectory at the time of the collision.
An expert witness testimony is often central to establishing liability in a premises liability case. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, one of these types of expert witnesses may be called upon to support your claim:
- A building inspector, engineer, or safety expert who can explain why the property conditions were dangerous
- A medical expert who can verify that your injuries were caused by the premises accident and describe how your life will be affected by your injuries in the future
- An animal expert who can discuss the behavior of the dog or other animal that attacked you and how the attack should have been prevented
- A financial expert who can analyze the financial impact the accident will have on your economic security
- An accident reconstruction expert who can recreate the circumstances that caused your injuries
- A vocational expert who can discuss the impact on your career if the injury prevents you from returning to your previous employment
Did You Suffer an Accident on Someone Else’s Property in Jackson, MS?
Victims of property owner negligence in Mississippi don’t have to worry about gathering evidence on their own. At Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC, our attorneys build you the strongest case possible while allowing you to focus on rest and recovery.
Potential evidence in a premises liability claim doesn’t always come easily. Our lawyers put in the hard work necessary to force insurance companies to give your claim the respect it deserves. Let us fight for your rights after injury. Call today for a free case evaluation at our Jackson office.
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