Video footage can help your slip and fall case by providing visual evidence of what happened and lending credibility to your version of events. Video footage can be valuable to your case whether it captures the accident itself, or if it is taken in the immediate aftermath to provide a visual document of the property conditions, including any hazards or poor lighting, and the victim’s injuries. Video evidence in a slip and fall case can include cell phone videos taken by the injured person or others who are present, as well as security camera footage of the incident.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident due to the wrongdoing of another party, the defendant may have a completely different version of the facts than you do. For example, the defendant may claim that there were no dangerous conditions that caused you to slip, or that you trespassed into an area in which you were prohibited to enter. Video recordings taken during or right after your accident can provide strong evidence to support your story and diminish the defendant’s credibility.
Who May Have Video Footage of My Accident?
Many public and private property owners have surveillance cameras operating either during store hours or even 24 hours a day. Additionally, bystanders may have been recording something else on their phones or tablets when they just so happened to capture your fall as well. With that in mind, if you are physically able to do so, taking stock of your surroundings in the aftermath of your accident is crucial.
While the property on which your accident took place is certainly one place to look for surveillance video footage, adjacent properties may also have security cameras that may have caught the incident.
Other potential sources of video footage include police officers, police vehicles, taxi cabs, and public buses, as all of them typically record their surroundings. If possible, ask any bystanders nearby whether they happened to capture your accident on their personal device.
Do Not Delay Seeking Video Evidence of Your Accident
Time is of the essence when it comes to obtaining video footage of your slip and fall accident. Some surveillance cameras only save footage for several days, and sometimes as little as 24 hours, before deleting it or recording over it. Neutral third parties may unknowingly destroy potentially beneficial evidence to your case if you do not notify them immediately. Naturally, the owner of the property on which you were injured may have some extra incentive to expedite the deletion of this footage if you do not contact them immediately – although if proven this can result in punitive damages in a subsequent slip and fall lawsuit.
How Can I Obtain the Video Footage?
If a neutral party, such as an adjacent property or a bystander, is the one that captured the video, all it may take to obtain the footage is to just ask for it. On the other hand, if the defendant is the one in possession of the footage, such as a department store where you slipped and fell, it may not be quite as simple. If this is the case, an experienced personal injury lawyer will use the discovery process and file a subpoena to obtain this footage on your behalf.
Video Footage Can Help Build Your Case
Defendants may try to claim that, for example, you knew about the dangerous condition in advance, you could have avoided it, that the dangerous condition was not that bad, or that you were prohibited from entering the area in which you slipped and fell. Video surveillance can potentially disprove all of these claims by showing that you were caught by surprise by the dangerous condition, there was nothing you could have done to avoid it, you fell to the ground very hard, that the defendant had plenty of time to make that area safer but failed to do so. It can also show that the dangerous condition was located in a high-traffic area in which you were welcome.
An Experienced Attorney Can Obtain Security Footage to Boost Your Claim
Attempting to identify the existence of surveillance footage, obtain it, and submit it for admittance into evidence can be complex. Fortunately, an experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer can gather relevant video footage on your behalf in a timely and comprehensive manner, building a strong case to show the insurance company that you mean business with your claim. Meanwhile, you are free from the burden of having to collect evidence for your case and can focus exclusively on getting well.
Even if you have video evidence of your slip and fall injury, you should still use all other available evidence to strengthen your claim. This will help your attorney earn you the maximum possible compensation package.
Some types of evidence that can help you prove your claim include:
While video evidence is generally superior to photographic evidence, the latter can be helpful to augment your claim to prove the defendant was negligent. Photos of the scene can help show the conditions that led to your accident. Moreover, digital photographs are often considerably more detailed than video footage, which can help your lawyer point out more specific issues.
In some cases, slip-and-fall accidents occur in crowded areas with many witnesses. If possible, get the contact information of some of them who would be willing to testify on your behalf. If you can, have them give a statement to a police officer as quickly as possible. Essential details are easily forgotten, making their account less accurate.
Your attorney may use your medical records to help strengthen your case. Some types of injuries, such as hip and wrist fractures, are strongly associated with certain types of falls, which can help prove the damages you are claiming.
Often, personal injury attorneys will recruit the help of expert witnesses to prove your claim. These individuals may be doctors, accident reconstructionist, or other professionals who thoroughly understand the issues in your case. For example, a medical expert may be used to prove that your injuries are directly related to the slip-and-fall accident.
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If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in southern California, contact the Salamati Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. We have spent over two decades building a reputation based on integrity, tenacity, and results. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you owe us no fees unless we win money for you. Call anytime, 24/7.