Under the law, owners of property that’s used by the public have certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is to ensure that whoever is using or legally occupying the property is safe from injuries caused by accidents or other kinds of hazards.
When you sustain an injury from an accident that occurs in such property, you may be entitled to compensation from the property owner or their insurer under the occupiers liability law.
More often than not, though, this tends to be unbeknownst to many.
Nonetheless, most of these issues are settled in court, especially since it can be difficult to prove that your injury actually occurred at the said property.
However, the circumstances under which the accident that caused the injury will determine whether or not your claim will be considered valid.
Justin Kimball from PreszlerLaw-NS.com explains that to prevail in an Occupier’s Liability Act claim, the plaintiff must prove that some act or failure on the part of the occupier led to the injury.
Normally, a good personal injury advocate can help you fight the battle in court and probably get you compensated or help you settle the issue out of court.
But then again, word of mouth only is never enough in a court of law.
There are certain things that may help you prove that it was indeed the property owner’s negligence or fault that caused your injury when seeking compensation.
In brief, here are some 7 pieces of evidence you need to prove an occupier’s liability claim.
1. Photographic evidence
You enter a supermarket, nightclub or car even car dealership and there’s liquid on the floor. You slip, fall, and end up with a broken elbow. The owner of the property or the nightclub may be held responsible for this. But one of the best ways you can prove that there was fault or negligence on their part is by taking photos of the scene where the accident took place. Also, it is wise to take photos showing the severity of the injury you sustained. Almost always, photographic evidence holds value in courts of justice.
2. Documentation relating to what you were doing at the scene
Trespass is a major exception in the occupiers liability act. If you sustained your injury at a particular property and you didn’t have the legal right to be there, you may not be entitled to compensation even if the property owner was clearly at fault. This is because the law only applies when the property or facility owner has what is called duty of care. Therefore, it is critical to have documentation or proof that you were actually at the scene of the accident legal and were not trespassing. Taking the supermarket example above, for instance, you would need more than just word of mouth to convince the judge and the jury that you were legally on the property if the accident happened after hours when they had closed shop.
3. Medical reports
After sustaining a severe injury, you will obviously seek medical attention. And when you do, it is important to have your medical practitioner or facility provide you with a medical report that describes your injuries, the kinds of treatment you undertake, and for how long. As much as they may or may not be requested for during a hearing or by the party’s insurance company, these are always ideal when trying to prove your claim so be sure to work with a registered and reputable medical practitioner.
4. Expense receipts and cost documentation
Personal injury can be devastating, physically, mentally, and even emotionally. As if that’s all, they call be financially draining as well. In addition to out of pocket expenses such as doctor’s consultation, medication, and other forms of treatment such as physiotherapy, an injury may cause other you to lose your earnings when you’re forced to skip work to recuperate. Under the occupiers liability law, the involved party or their insurer should compensate you for such losses. This makes it important to keep all the relevant receipts, invoices, and pay slips ready as they may support your claim during a hearing.
5. Witness statements
The main aim of occupier liability claim hearings is to prove whether or not the accident that caused the injury was the other party’s fault or negligence and that it was avoidable. Having a witness or two to backup your side of the story is always a plus in a court of law. It is important to have witness statements that you can present in court since what a witness says can be used as evidence too.
6. Accident book records
Most premise owners keep records of things that take place on the premises. Some even require you to sign in at the entrance and sign off when leaving. The best ones have what is called an accident book where any accident that occurs on the premise is recorded. These records may be useful in proving your claim so you may as well consider taking a screenshot of the same on your phone to be left with a copy that you can present when proving your claim.
7. A Good Lawyer
They are experienced and specialized in that area. They know what is needed by the court and even how they can get your claim to settle without having to pursue the matter in court. They may not act as evidence per se, but one of the most important things you need to do when pursuing an occupiers liability claim is to arm yourself with a good personal injury attorney. And let’s be honest, compensation for personal injury is not the easiest of things to pursue on your own.
No one likes being involved in an accident of any kind for that matter. It can be painful from the inside out, not to mention how financially daunting it can get. If the unfortunate fate comes your way and you find yourself injured while on someone else’s property or premises, the above pieces of evidence can help make your case more solid and increase your chances of getting compensated, of course with the help of a good personal injury attorney.