What Amount of Care is Reasonable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you have gone to a business or other property and suffered from injuries caused by a slip and fall injury, otherwise known as a trip and fall accident, you may be wondering who is responsible for paying for the harm that you suffered. This question often turns on whether the owner of the property, or a designated agent or employee, acted reasonably in the maintenance of the property. How your actions may have contributed to the injury also is a factor in any recovery.
Determining whether the actions taken by a party responsible for the property often falls to a judge or jury to decide if the case does not settle before going to trial. These are some of the things that the trier-of-fact will consider in making the critical finding:
- If the injury was caused by tripping over a bulging, torn, broken, protruding, or missing section of floor, carpet, or other surface, had the condition existed long enough that the owner should have discovered it and taken steps to correct the situation? This evaluation applies if the fall was caused by a spill on the ground.
- Has the property owner implemented a protocol for evaluating the conditions of the premises on a regular basis and conducting routine repair? Does the owner have proof of the routine maintenance?
- If your injury was caused by an object or obstruction that was placed in a public-access area, was there a legitimate cause for that to be where it was?
- If there was a justification for the object to be placed where it was, did the reason still exist? Was there a way to make its placement safer? Could it have been covered or removed?
- Could the object or obstruction been placed somewhere else where it would not have posed such a risk, without great effort or expense on the part of the owner?
- Would warning signs or a barrier have prevented the accident?
- Was there another safety risk that contributed to the accident? For example, did poor lighting create more of a risk that someone would get hurt by tripping or slipping on the surface?
If one or more of the answers to these basic inquiries is accurate, then you have a good chance of succeeding in a legal action against the owner or manager of the premises. However, the court also may consider what role you played in the accident. Each state has different laws in place that dictate how you can recover in a slip and fall case. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware are all “modified comparative fault” states, which means that you can recover the percentage that the other party is liable for the accident unless your percentage of fault is fifty percent or greater. This means that if you are ten percent at fault for the accident, if you were not looking and missed the fact that there was a divot in the ground, then you can recover ninety percent of your damages. However, if you were found to be fifty percent or more responsible for the harm that you suffered, then you cannot recover any damages.
As the victim of a slip and fall accident, you likely are dealing with mounting medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. The experienced attorneys at Lundy Law are committed to getting you the care that you need to return to your previous quality of life and obtain compensation for the economic and non-economic losses that you have experienced. We want to ensure that you get the best possible legal representation, which is why we offer our No Fee Assurance – you do not pay anything unless we win your case for you. To discuss your accident, please call us at 1-800-LundyLaw 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, or complete a free online consultation form.