The type of footwear or shoes that a victim wore affects a slip and fall case.
Preserve the footwear
The injured person should keep any footwear, boots or shoes worn at the time of the slip and fall. The defendant will probably request that you show them the shoes.
The victim may have major problems if he or she throws away the shoes after the defendant makes a request for him or her to preserve them.
The injured person should preserve the shoes even before he or she receives a request to do so from the defense. The defendant will want to look at the shoes.
I settled case for $300,000 where we filed a lawsuit.
The defense attorney sent a written request for my client to produce the shoe(s) and crutches that he was using at the time of the fall.
The attorney took pictures of the shoes and the crutches at my client’s deposition. If my client did not preserve the crutches, the defense attorney may have offered less money.
She may have asked the court to dismiss the case due to my client’s spoliation of evidence.
Testing the shoes for slip resistance
The defense may test the shoes for slip resistance. This is not that common though. This is more likely to happen in cases where the victim’s injuries are big.
In a small percentage of accidents, the shoe is a major contributing cause of the slip and fall.
My slip and fall evaluation form asks the injured victim many questions about the shoes. This form asks questions about when and where the shoes were bought, the style and kind of shoe, age and condition.
As time passes, the victim may forget about the type of shoes worn at the time of the accident. The injured person may not know the location of the shoes.
This can make the victim look like he or she is hiding something. This may decrease the value of the case.
Shoes are an important factor in every fall case. They may not be a likely cause of the accident. If not, you can spend your time looking at other details in the case. Some other issues include a dangerous condition, causation and damages.
The victim should put the shoes in sealed plastic bag or container after the fall. There may be a substance from the accident that is on the shoes. For example, it could be grease. The grease could be the dangerous condition that caused the victim to fall.
A hazard is a necessary element in a slip and fall case. If the bag or container is sealed, the substance may not become contaminated. It may not evaporate.
Perhaps the shoes will not dry. This may help the injured person show that the substance on the shoes is the hazard that caused him or her to fall.
Take pictures of the shoes
The victim may want to take pictures of the shoes. The victim’s child or sibling may wear the shoes. The injured person’s house could burn down. The shows could be stolen from him or her.
Pictures may help preserve evidence about the shoes. Even if the victim takes pictures of the shoes, he or she should still preserve them.
The victim should note the heel length. Was the person wearing a 4 inch heel or were they wearing flats?
Is the injured person at fault just because he or she was wearing high heels?
Not unless the defendant sustains its burden of proving that you created a foreseeable zone of risk by wearing high-heeled shoes and, therefore, were comparatively negligent for your injuries.
In Bongiorno v. Americorp., Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2015, Bongiorno filed a negligence lawsuit against Americorp (the property owner).
She claimed that injured herself when she entered a restroom of the subject property (the office building where Bongiorno worked).
She claimed that she slipped on the unusually slippery floor.
Americorp argued that Bongiorno was comparatively negligent because her choice to wear four to five-inch high heels contributed to the fall.
Bongiorno told her treating physicians that she fell while wearing high heels.
A co-worker who was wearing “safer” footwear was able to avoid falling on the slippery bathroom floor. The appeals court said that Americorp failed to sustain its burden of proving that Bongiorno created a foreseeable zone of risk by wearing high-heeled shoes to work.
Basically, the appeals court said that Bongiorno was not at fault just because she wore high heels. The appeals court ruled that Bongiorno was 100% at fault for the accident.
Therefore, she was entitled to recover 100% of any damages that were awarded.
The injured person should look at the sole to determine whether it is leather or rubber. He or she should see if there is anything slip resistant about them.
I know at least one certified safety planner (CSP) who says that Crocs footwear has poor slip resistance on the footwear bottom.
Actual Cases Where Judge Mentioned Slip and Fall Victim’s Shoes
In Troya v. Miami Beach Health Care Group, Inc., 780 So.2d 228, 229 (Fla. 3d DCA 2001), Troya was visiting her friend (a patient) at a hospital that was likely in Miami-Dade or Monroe County, Florida. Troya claimed that she slipped and fell on “too much wax” on the floor.
The dissenting judge thought the case should have been dismissed. Part of his opinion stated, “At the time of the fall, Troya was overweight and wore strapless, spiked two or three-inch heeled shoes.”
Fortunately for the visitor, the other judges let the case continue towards trial.
How The Clothing That You Were Wearing May Affect Your Slip and Fall Case
The victim should also preserve pants that he or she was wearing during the accident. The liability insurer may request that you preserve the pants. He or she may want to see the length of your cuffs on the pants. The adjuster may want to determine whether they may have caused your fall.
If slacks were worn, are they flared at the bottom? Were they hemmed? Was there anything about the injured person’s clothes that may have contributed to the fall?
The pants can also show the part(s) of your body on which you landed. Look at the stains and scuff marks on the pants. There are over 13 Important Ways to Show the Floor You Slipped on Was Wet.
You may be asked to preserve your clothing by the defendant. This may happen even before a lawsuit. If you are asked and you fail to do so, you may face a spoliation of evidence claim.
Did someone’s carelessness cause you to slip or trip and fall and suffer an injury in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? Were you injured in another type of accident?
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