What Are The Top Misconceptions Regarding Slip And Fall Claims?
The biggest misconception is people think there is some sort of strict liability that means that they get hurt on someone else’s property, that the store is responsible for their injuries. That is the biggest misconception.
Factors Which Determine the Viability of a Slip and fall at A Commercial Establishment
The very first thing is if there is a dangerous condition. There has to be notice, actual or constructive, and there also could be a code violation and a code violation is negligence per se. It means that the property owner has violated a law, a code or an ordinance and it was a substantial factor in causing their injury. For instance, if you need a railing on the stair by your local municipal codes and you do not have one, if somebody falls off because of it, you are going to be held responsible in negligence per se.
Who Can Be Held Liable In Such A Premise Liability Claim?
It could be a number of people, the store owner, property manager, owner of the property, it could be a janitorial service that they put some sort of slippery substance on the floor that never dried or it could be anybody who caused the dangerous conditions.
When A Store Owner Is Not Held Liable For A Slip And Fall?
Assumption of the risk, like if you go into an area and you clearly see a wet floor sign, but you do not take any heed and then you slip, you could be completely responsible for your own accident. If the store owner did not have enough time for a reasonable inspection and somebody drops some produce and you immediately follow behind them one minute later and you slip on it, then the store did not have time for a reasonable inspection.
Does Comparative Negligence Apply In A Slip And Fall Case?
Yes, sure. Comparative negligence is when you have negligence not just on a part of the store and then compare the two instances of negligence. A couple of examples, maybe, you are drinking alcohol when you fall down or maybe you were not wearing your corrective lenses or you are using your cell phone. These are somethings that can distract you when you should have been paying attention. That is all comparative negligence and how much the jury weighs that will depend on how egregious your conduct was.
Does Comparative Negligence Figure Only In A Trial Or In A Settlement As Well?
No. Believe me, the insurance companies are well versed in comparative negligence and so are the stores. As a matter of fact, there may even be a time which could be much harsher on the idea of comparative negligence, because they do not want you to receive such a high settlement. They want to lower your award, your damages or your settlement. They have a tendency not to be generous towards you at all.
Many stores have their employees trained to mitigate their damages when you fall. They try to lift that information out of you that can be harmful. Generally speaking, I would not think that they were helpful. They have plenty of seminars on how to defeat your claims. As a matter of fact, almost all major corporations have a risk management division. They are generally very aggressive. That is another reason you need an attorney.
Are Property Owners Typically Held Responsible For Slip And Fall Accidents?
They can be if they created a dangerous condition or if they are in control of the sidewalks, certainly. Let us just say, a store pushes their clothing rack out on the sidewalk, I am sure you have seen that. Then they are taking control over the sidewalk, so then they are responsible.
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