Take care when preserving evidence in slip-and-fall cases

In a slip-and-fall injury, your clothing and shoes can both end up being important pieces of evidence if the case goes to trial. They may even factor into whether or not a case is settled outside of court.

Why are these things so important? A shoe that has a good tread and a heel that’s appropriate for the situation can be seen as reasonably safe — not a contributing factor to your fall. If you slipped due to something that was spilled on the ground, your clothes may pick up some of that substance, which may help prove your case.

In addition, not preserving the evidence is always dangerous to a case. It may make it seem like you are trying to hide something that could demonstrate some culpability for your own accident.

Unfortunately, people often make some big mistakes when trying to preserve evidence in their own cases. In order to safely preserve your clothing and shoes after a slip and fall, this is what you need to do:

1. Get several new, clean paper bags

Many people mistakenly believe that it’s better to collect evidence in a plastic bag, instead of a paper one. However, plastic doesn’t breathe. If there’s anything damp on the shoes or clothing, that can cause putrefaction — which can end up destroying the very thing that you mean to preserve

It’s also important to use clean bags — not some bags that have already held groceries or other items. Using a bag that’s already held something could lead to questions about contamination and make your evidence less valuable.

2. Store items individually

It’s always wisest to store items individually. It’s fine to put the shoes together but put your pants in a bag of their own. That way, there’s no question about whether or not anything transferred from the shoes to the pants after storage.

When you consult an attorney about your slip and fall, make sure that you mention what steps you’ve taken to preserve the evidence and ask if there are any other steps you should take.