Slip Fall

What To Do When Your Opponent Loses or Destroys Potential Evidence in Your New York Injury Case

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    waterIn your slip-and-fall case, there are several things you may need to do. If you can, consider taking pictures of the scene of your accident. They could possibly be helpful to your case later. One thing you should definitely do is retain a knowledgeable New York slip-and-fall attorney right away. Your attorney can provide major assistance with amassing the proof you’ll need to win your case. Your attorney can also help you when the other side does things like losing or destroying potential evidence. In the case of one “big box” store shopper who fell on a wet area, she was able to use the store’s destruction of videotape footage and loss of paper documents to her advantage in defeating the store’s effort to get the case thrown out before trial.

    The plaintiff was a shopper who decided to visit a home improvement store in the Bronx in August 2013. While inside the store, she slipped and fell, suffering injuries. The shopper contended that she fell on a wet area on the floor.

    There are certain possible advantages when the business that is potentially liable is a major corporation like a big box store. One area is videotape evidence. A big box store may be more likely to have cameras in its store that captured your accident and the area where you fell.

    In the case of this Bronx shopper, there was videotape footage of the fall. The store showed the shopper a 23-second clip, which the shopper identified as an accurate portrayal of her fall. The store, however, had erased the video footage of the period before and the period after the shopper’s fall. Additionally, the store’s operations manager prepared a claim folder about the incident at the time of the accident, but the store did not retain the claim folder.

    The shopper was able to use the store’s failure to retain these documents and the video evidence in her favor when the store made a motion to the court asking for a summary judgment in its favor, which would have ended the case without the shopper even being able to get to a trial.

    The store was not entitled to summary judgment in this case, according to the court. The law requires a property owner, in order to win a slip-and-fall case on summary judgment, to prove that it did not have either actual notice or what’s called “constructive notice” of the wet spot on the floor. Constructive notice requires proof that the wet spot existed for a long enough period of time that the property owner should have known about it if it was being properly diligent.

    The court could not say conclusively that the store didn’t have constructive notice of the wet spot. The court acknowledged that it couldn’t say how long the wet spot had existed, or even if it existed at all, since the store destroyed or lost key evidence in the case. Without the documents and the video, the evidence came down mostly to the eyewitnesses, two of whom saw the wet spot and three of whom did not. Given how inconclusive these testimonies were, the store clearly didn’t have enough proof to get the shopper’s case thrown out at the summary judgment phase.

    Whether it is lost documents, erased video footage, or another challenge, the skilled New York City slip-and-fall accident attorneys at the law offices of Jacob Oresky have the experience and resources to help you with whatever comes your way in your slip-and-fall case. We have been diligently representing people throughout the New York metro area, including in Westchester County and on Long Island, who have been injured in slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents. Call us right away to find out how we can put our team of professionally diligent and personally attentive legal professionals to work for you.

    For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call our office at 718-993-9999. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    More Blog Posts:

    Slip And Falls On Snow And Ice: Who Is Liable?, New York Accident Lawyer Blog, Feb. 9, 2017

    What to do in case of a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident, New York Accident Lawyer Blog, May 11, 2015

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