Effects of Comparative Negligence on Slip and Fall Cases

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Effects of Comparative Negligence on Slip and Fall Cases

When you slip and fall on someone’s property, the property owner may be liable for your injuries. This depends on the circumstances and whether you were also negligent in the slip and fall accident.

What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?

A slip and fall accident occurs when a victim slips and falls on another’s property due to an unsafe condition on the property. However, the property owner is not automatically liable simply because there was an unsafe condition on the property. In order for the landowner to be liable, they must have been negligent in relation to the unsafe condition. In other words, the property owner either knew or should have known that there was a dangerous condition on their property and failed to fix the dangerous condition before the victim slipped and fell.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is a defense that is available where the victim was also negligent in the accident. This is because the victim did not use reasonable care or did something unsafe to cause or aggravate their injuries.

The way comparative negligence works is that after the court determines that the property owner was negligent, it must also then determine whether the victim was negligent as well. If the court finds that the victim was also negligent, then the court figures out the percentage of liability for the accident that the victim is responsible for. Once that is figured out, the court will deduct that liability percentage from the reward amount. For example, assume that a plaintiff sustained $100,000 worth of damages from a slip and fall, and the court found that they were also 25% negligent. Under comparative negligence, the plaintiff will only receive $75,000, which is 25% less of $100,000.

Are There Different Types of Comparative Negligence?

Different states have different views on comparative negligence. Not all states allow comparative negligence to be used as a defense. States that do allow for comparative negligence look at the degree of negligence present to determine whether the plaintiff can recover at all. Out of the states that permit the comparative negligence defense, some states follow pure comparative negligence, while other states adhere to modified negligence.

Under pure comparative negligence, the victim’s damages will be reduced based on how negligent he was. It does not matter if he was 99% negligent, the victim will still collect. On the other hand, if the state uses a modified comparative negligence rule, then the victim will not collect if they were over 50% negligent, and some states require a negligent plaintiff to be liable for only 49% or less of the negligence to recover damages. In all comparative negligence damages situations, the damages will be reduced in accordance with the percentage of the victim’s negligence.

Consulting an Attorney

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you need to consult a personal injury lawyer. The lawyer will help you assess your case and determine which route to pursue.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 07-30-2015 05:05 PM PDT

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