In any personal injury, slip and fall or car accident case, you have to prove liability on the part of the defendant to obtain damages. Our firm uses many means to help you prove this all important liability – statutes, prior case law and of course, actual evidence obtained through investigation.
Video footage, especially from surveillance cameras, is one type of evidence that can make proving your case much easier.
Let’s take a look at this example of a holiday season shopper who suffered painful injuries at the mall. Having footage from the mall’s security cameras was instrumental in proving her case.
Julie was shopping at a mall for gifts for her family but her trip suddenly turned into a tumultuous affair.
While coming down an escalator, Julie slipped and fell at the end. She used her right hand to brace from the impact of the fall. She felt pain in her right hand and was unable to get up for a moment. Other shoppers certainly noticed the incident and notified mall security.
Although a report was filed, Julie declined medical attention and decided to go home.
Later in the night though, Julie started experiencing excruciating pain so her husband took her to the emergency room. After a few x-rays, doctors were able to determine that Julie had sustained some pretty serious injuries, specifically a broken arm, wrist and broken pelvis. Surgery was ordered and while it was successful, Julie required 5 months of physical therapy.
What caused Julie to fall and sustain these injuries?
It was later determined that some spilled soda at the base of the escalator was to blame for the incident.
According to surveillance footage of the area, the hazard was present a whole 2 hours before the incident. The footage also showed that mall employees had taken NO action clean up the spill or warns customers of any hazards
In this respect, the owners and managers of the mall failed in their duty to inspect their premises, warn shoppers of any danger and take measures to address the hazard. In light of this failure, the owners and managers of the mall are liable for Julie’s medical bills.
Upon this discovery, the mall’s management company offered Julie $5000 in damages (…through an insurance policy for such circumstances).
However, Julie’s medical expenses – the surgery and physical therapy – totaled $35,000.
As you can see, $5000 can hardly make a dent on that.
Julie then took the next step and hired a premises liability attorney to try and obtain compensation for all of her expenses. At first, $140k was requested but a counter-offer of $35k was sent back by the management company. Next, Julie’s attorney countered with a settlement offer of $125k.
With a trial seeming inevitable, the judge presiding over the case ordered the two parties to make one final effort at negotiation.
After 6 hours of discussion, the two parties settled on compensation of $75,000 – $50k was to be paid by the management company while the remaining $25k was to be paid by the mall’s owners.
During settlement negotiations, you can request any video surveillance footage to prove your case. If the owner’s refuse to turn over the footage, you will have to file a lawsuit to obtain the footage.
As you can see from Julie’s case, having video footage made proving her case much easier. Her premises liability attorney was able to use this too in the case’s settlement negotiations. And as we also see from this case, there can be two parties liable in a case. In our example here, it was the mall owners as well as the management company they hired.
Despite overwhelming evidence, defendants like this too often delay making a sufficient offer in hopes you don’t have the resources to pursue a full claim, which is why hiring a premises liability or personal injury attorney is vitally important.
Premises liability attorneys at Nashville’s Gilreath & Associates possess decades of experience obtaining compensation for injury victims like Julie. If you’ve sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s vitally important you obtain legal representation to make sure you’re sufficiently compensated for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.