When you experience an injury that has come about as the result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, it can be difficult to focus on the steps you need to take to prove that another party is at fault. Being the victim of an accident can be scary and overwhelming. When you suffer an injury, your primary priority is to get the medical attention you need.
If you have an accident at your workplace, you have a couple of choices. First, if you were injured in the course of your employment while you were actually doing your job, you’re likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. All employers in Missouri are required to carry this insurance if they have five or more employees. To claim workers’ compensation benefits, you do not have to prove that anyone was at fault for your injuries.
However, if you believe that your employer failed to provide a safe work environment or was directly responsible for your accident in some way, you can forgo collecting workers’ compensation benefits and file a personal injury case against your employer.
It is important to keep in mind that the burden of proof of fault in a personal injury case is on the individual who is seeking compensation. If you are thinking of filing a personal injury lawsuit, you will help your legal team immensely if you do everything in your power to collect the right evidence. This will go a long way toward proving that your job caused your accident.
The Importance of Evidence in Personal Injury Cases
The collection and preservation of evidence from your accident are the primary means of determining who is at fault. You need to be able to demonstrate precisely what happened, how the business was responsible for the incident, and the degree to which the accident affected you in a negative way. Your legal team will require evidence so that they can prove that your employer was negligent and, therefore should be held financially responsible for your injuries and losses.
General Personal Injury Cases
If you wish to meet the burden of proof in a personal injury case, your lawyer will need proof:
- Supporting your version of events about the work accident, AND
- Demonstrating that your bodily injury or psychological suffering is genuine and was not a pre-existing condition AND/OR
- Showing that income or wages have been lost due to the accident.
In personal injury cases that specifically involve work-related accidents, your case will be stronger if your legal team can prove that:
- You could not have reasonably expected the cause of the accident
- The area where the accident occurred was not restricted or a place that you were not supposed to be
- The accident was not a result of your own carelessness at work
- You were performing normal work duties when the accident happened
- The employer, another employee, or the property owner was somehow negligent in a manner that led directly to the accident
Signs of Liability and Negligence
A primary goal in personal injury civil suits is to show that a party was responsible for the accident because they did not act “reasonably.” If an employer or owner did not take reasonable precautions and you were injured as a result, their negligence caused a work injury, and they should be responsible for the associated expenses and damages.
Proving a lack of “reasonability” entails showing the way or ways in which the employer or property owner was liable or negligent. This can include:
- Failure to Prevent Injury – Employers and property owners must take measures to fix or remove any reasonably identifiable hazards. It may also mean preventing access to areas that have been deemed dangerous. Not doing so within a reasonable window of time could be a sign of negligence.
- Lack of Warning – Posting signs that warn others of a potential risk is an important way of preventing workplace accidents. If there was enough time to put up such signage and it was not done, this could indicate negligence.
- Poor Building Maintenance – Injuries often occur because of hazardous conditions that come about due to a lack of reasonable upkeep. This could be a sign of negligence.
- Dangerous Conditions – Icy pavement, poor lighting, tripping hazards, spilled liquids, and uneven flooring could indicate negligence as they contribute to an unsafe work environment.
- Defective Equipment – If work equipment is damaged or has not been reasonably maintained and an injury results, the employer or owner may have been negligent.
Evidence to Collect in Personal Injury Cases
Proving fault in a personal injury case requires strong evidence. This can include:
- Medical documentation – Doctor’s bills, x-rays, test results, medical records, and documentation of rehabilitation and associated expenses
- Pictures – Photographic evidence of the hazard, environment, and physical injury
- Witness statements – Testimony from passers-by or fellow employees, written records by employees regarding the accident
- Workplace controls and reports – Written policies from your workplace regarding maintenance, routine checks, and reports
Contact a St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have recently suffered a workplace injury that was due to your employer’s carelessness or negligence, we can help you collect the evidence you need to fight for fair compensation. The St. Louis personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw are ready to stand by your side. Call us now for a free consultation.