Slip and fall injuries can result in legal liability if the slip and fall occurred on the property of someone who had a duty to keep his or her premises in a safe condition.
What Defenses Do I Have If Someone Is Suing Me for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If someone is injured in a slip and fall accident on your property, you might be held legally responsible for his or her injuries. However, the plaintiff has to actually prove negligence on your part and there are several defenses you can assert that might limit or completely eliminate any liability you might have.
- No Breach of Duty: In order to win a slip and fall case, the plaintiff has to show that the owner did not maintain their property in a safe condition. If you are a store owner and can show that you kept the store in a proper and safe manner, you might not be held liable.
- Lack of Causation: The plaintiff has to show it was actually the store's fault that the accident happened. So if the plaintiff suffered an injury caused by someone dropping a banana peel on the floor and you can show that it was not you nor one of your employees who dropped the peel, the plaintiff will be unable to prove negligence on your part.
- Comparative or Contributory Negligence: Comparative and contributory negligence is when the court compares the plaintiff's own negligence against the defendant's negligence. This is typically a defense that is used when the plaintiff acted recklessly or carelessly. If the court finds that the plaintiff was partially responsible, it will reduce your liability and the amount you will have to pay accordingly. For example, if a court determines that the victim was 40% responsible for the injury, then you would only have to pay 60% of the damages awarded to the victim. In some states if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% responsible for his or her injuries, then you do not have to pay anything.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Slip and fall cases can result you in paying large amounts of money to the plaintiff. It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you respond to a slip and fall lawsuit and who can put forth on your behalf the defenses that have the highest chance of succeeding.