If you have been injured because of a slip and fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may not have been able to reach a settlement in your case with the insurance company. You may have needed to move forward to the next step, which is a personal injury lawsuit.
During the preliminary stages of a personal injury lawsuit, depositions are taken. A deposition is a question and answer session with a witness, taken under oath and in front of a skilled court reporter. In a slip and fall case, one person likely to be deposed is the individual with control over the premises on which the accident occurred. For example, if a slip and fall occurred in a store, the owner or manager may be called upon to be questioned.
The questions that are asked in a slip and fall deposition depend upon the specific facts of the case, and each one will be different. However, there are three key questions that are commonly asked in a deposition for a slip and fall case.
- What protocols do you have in place to address hazards in the premises?
Any property that is not private premises needs to be kept in a reasonably safe condition. Therefore, places like grocery stores and parking garages need to have protocols in place to be aware of hazards, and to address them when they occur. When it comes to deposition questions, the person with control over the premises will likely be asked about what system is in place to identify and address a hazard such as a spill on the floor.
- What occurred in the premises immediately prior to the accident?
Another question often presented in a deposition in a slip and fall lawsuit is, what occurred at the location directly prior to the accident? What occurred in and around the incident zone before an accident may have a direct relationship to the accident itself. For example, if there was a significant number of people in a store at the time of an accident, the hustle and bustle of the crowds may have contributed to the accident. This raises the question of whether or not the store had sufficient protocols in place to deal with such crowds.
- Who is in charge of keeping the premises safe?
A key question to ask during a slip and fall accident deposition is, who is in charge of keeping the premises safe? For example, does a store have a specific individual assigned to maintain the premises? Does this individual patrol to ascertain if the premises are up to par? During a deposition, if it is discovered that there is no person responsible for safety, that information could prove invaluable. A stronger argument regarding negligence may be made.
The complexity of a personal injury lawsuit, including discovery, and the deposition process more specifically, underscores why a person injured in a slip and fall accident may benefit from an experienced attorney. A personal injury attorney, versed in the mechanics of a slip and fall case, may schedule an initial consultation at no charge to the injured person, to help determine if they may be of assistance.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Capital Reporting Company for their insight into personal injury depositions.