This is the next post in our series of articles on the handling of slip and fall cases in Hartford, Connecticut. Our last article discussed why a slip & fall case may take a long time to resolve. Reaching settlement or trial can be a lengthy process due to the fact that a victim’s long-term damages must be ascertainable before a demand can be made of the insurance carrier. Accepting a “quick settlement” can result in the victim not receiving compensation for long-term harm. By retaining an experienced personal injury lawyer, who will help you to analyze your situation, you can reduce the risk of accepting a “low-ball” offer. In this article we will discuss the importance of discovery in such cases. Contact our injury lawyers today if you or a loved one have been hurt due to the fault of a negligent property owner.
We have previously discussed the use of discovery in bicycle accident cases. These same tools and process are available to plaintiffs in premises liability cases. Interrogatories may be used to require a defendant to provide written answers to written questions. Requests for Production are used to require a defendant to provide documents, records, media files, and other physical objects. Depositions can be used to gain sworn testimony, in the presence of a court reporter, from parties and non-party witnesses. Finally, subpoenas may be used to obtain documents, records, and other items from non-parties. When an individual receives a request for discovery then, generally speaking, it is not optional. The information must be provided and a failure to do so can result in the refusing party being punished by the Court. The importance of discovery is best explained by way of example.
Suppose Jane is injured when she slips on a wet floor at a concert venue. There was no signage or other warning of the dangerous condition. One of the interrogatories submitted by Jane’s attorney to the defendant requests that they articulate their policies and procedures for keeping the floor dry and safe. In their written answer, the defendant states that floors are to be inspected every hour and, if there is a hazard, a “wet floor” sign will be put out and the area will be promptly cleaned. Jane’s attorney submits a request for production demanding that the defendant provide their maintenance/cleaning logs. The logs show that, on the day in question, the floor had in fact not been inspected for several hours. A deposition of maintenance personnel further confirms this fact. Given that the dangerous condition was created by the venue not following its own policies, there is a good chance that Jane will recover damages. It must be understood, however, that how a jury will rule is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case.
Trials are not won by “surprise evidence,” contrary to what is often shown in popular media. Instead, cases are built through the use of discovery and the methodical obtaining of information. If these tools are not utilized then a plaintiff may have difficulty establishing the liability of a defendant. You help to improve your chances at trial by retaining an attorney who is familiar with using the tools available through discovery.
Contact our Hartford slip and fall lawyers today if you or a loved one have been injured on another’s property. We have experience in handling such matters and our office is honored to serve our local community. We also service the Connecticut areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Bristol, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, East Hartford, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.