If you sustain injuries in any type of slip and fall accident, can may be left with significant expenses. However, if you're determined to be partially at fault for your injuries, your ability to recover damages will be limited.
Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
A property owner isn't automatically considered liable for your slip and fall injuries. To receive damages in a slip and fall case, you must establish the following:
- The property owner had a duty to provide reasonably safe conditions.
- The property owner failed to provide reasonably safe conditions.
- The property owner's actions or lack of action caused your injuries.
- Your injuries resulted in a financial loss.
Examples of cases where a property owner would likely be found liable for your resulting injuries include:
- Failing to post warnings about slippery floors or other safety hazards
- Using excessive amounts of wax or floor polish, or applying these materials unevenly
- Neglecting property maintenance such as leaving cracked tiles or loose carpeting as a tripping hazard
- Using inadequate lighting that makes it hard to see hazardous areas
- Leaving debris on stairs
- Missing or broken handrails
- Violating building codes related to tripping hazards
Types of Compensation Awarded
If you can satisfactorily meet the burden of proof, you're entitled to receive compensation for the following accident-related damages:
- Medical expenses such as emergency care, surgery, hospital stays, medication, and physical therapy
- Anticipated future medical needs, if the accident left you permanently disabled
- Lost wages from the time you were unable to work during your recovery
- Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
You must provide appropriate documentation for the damages you're seeking. This includes medical bills and copies of pay stubs, as well as applicable statements from experts to estimate the value of future medical expenses and loss of future earning potential. Pain and suffering compensation is most often calculated as a multiplier of your medical expenses, so that serious or permanently disabling injuries receive the highest compensation.
How Comparative Negligence Affects a Claim
Comparative negligence is a method of determining how each party's actions contributed to a specific event. In a slip and fall case, comparative negligence can be an issue if the other party believes your own carelessness was the cause of your injuries.
You might be considered partially at fault for your injuries in a slip and fall case if:
- You were texting while walking.
- You were jumping, running, or skipping.
- You were engaged in horseplay with another person.
- You ignoring posted warning signs stating that the floor was wet or slippery.
- You jumped over a barrier intended to keep people away from a specific area due to hazardous conditions.
- You failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury such as using a handrail when going down stairs.
If you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 25% at fault and would otherwise have received $100,00, you'd only receive $75,000.
The Value of Experienced Legal Representation
Obtaining legal representation is always recommended in a slip and fall case, but it becomes vital when comparative negligence questions are raised. Since there is no one set formula used to determine comparative fault, having an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf can often result in a lower fault percentage assigned to your case. A lower fault percentage can significantly increase your settlement offer, especially when your case involves serious or permanently disabling injuries.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team has extensive experience helping Louisiana residents resolve their personal injury claims in a prompt and fair manner. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review at one of our six convenient office locations.