Slip and fall accidents often occur on public property that is equipped with security cameras. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it's important to find out if there are cameras on the property. Why? The footage may be the evidence that you need to prove the property owner is liable so you can recover compensation for your injuries. Here's how you can obtain surveillance videos after a slip and fall accident:
Sending A Preservation of Evidence Letter
Get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident so he can send a preservation of evidence letter to the property owner or store manager who oversees the property where the injury occurred. This letter informs the defendant that you are being represented by an attorney and asks that they do not destroy the video evidence of the slip and fall accident.
Take Legal Action
Unfortunately, some defendants will not preserve the evidence even if it is requested in a timely manner. Spoliation of evidence occurs when a defendant purposely destroys the surveillance footage or fails to preserve it after he has been instructed to so. If this happens in your case, the defendant may be entitled to an adverse inference jury instruction in court. This means the jury will be instructed to consider whether the defendant purposely destroyed the evidence. If the jury believes that the defendant did in fact destroy evidence, the jury can assume that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the defendant when deciding the outcome of the case. Therefore, it's possible that the surveillance footage will still strengthen your case even if it is not presented as evidence in court.
Things to Consider After a Slip and Fall
It's important to note that time is of the essence when it comes to obtaining video footage. There are no laws regarding how long businesses have to hold onto surveillance footage. Some businesses do not preserve footage for longer than a day while others may dispose of it after several weeks. Act quickly so you can ensure that your attorney contacts the defendant before the footage is destroyed.
If you have fallen on someone else's property, you should always ask if you need to file an incident report. Many businesses have policies in place that require them to preserve surveillance footage any time an incident report has been filed. Filing this report may buy you a little time while you find an attorney who can officially reach out to the defendant with the preservation of evidence letter.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, don't delay in seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney. James Rush at Rush Injury Law will immediately begin to investigate your case and gather evidence that is needed to prove liability. Reach out to our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.