Between a Rock and a Pebble

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Q: I was attending a party.  Smokers were required to go out to the back yard.  The yard was very dark, and strewn with pebbles, sticks and rocks.  Something which I could not see got caught between my heel and the rest of my shoe.  I fell.

A: Your host will probably contend that his yard was not at all hazardous, and that, even if it was, he neither created whatever condition caused your fall nor had notice of it.  In addition, he will protest that you have failed to be precise about the cause.

Your attorney will look for evidence that, although you could not see the cause beforehand, perhaps you or someone else did afterwards.  Indeed, contemporaneous sight is not the only way of identifying the cause.  For example, perhaps you felt a particular feeling under your foot immediately prior to falling, and an expert can connect that feeling to an object that was at the spot.

While you are not permitted to speculate as to the cause of your accident, causation may nevertheless be established by circumstantial evidence.  For a case based on circumstantial evidence, you need not positively exclude every other possible cause.  Rather, you need only render other causes sufficiently unlikely to enable the jury to reach its verdict based upon the logical inferences to be drawn from the evidence.

If the cause was indeed a pebble or rock, then your host will have a hard time establishing that he lacked notice.  Moreover, having directed guests to use the back yard as a smoking area, your host had a duty to provide adequate illumination, which apparently he did not.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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