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Fault an Issue in Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits

A slip-and-fall injury is one of the most common types of personal injury. A slip-and-fall case is a type of tort or civil case in New York– a private lawsuit that a person brings against another person or business to recover monetary damages. Most slip-and-fall cases are settled out of court.

Slip-and-fall injuries can occur anywhere in the city. If you go into a private home with unsafe conditions that cause you to fall and get hurt, the homeowner may be liable for your damages. More often, however, such cases result from injuries in public places.

If you fall and get hurt, it is your burden to prove negligence. You must prove that it is likely the property owner or property manager was negligent and created the conditions that led to your fall. You will have to prove that you actually did suffer the harm for which you are seeking compensation.

If you fell and suffered injury because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, the property owner may be legally responsible if the owner, custodian or an employee caused the dangerous condition. A court may also assign fault if the property owner was aware of the hazard but did not fix it or should have been aware of the hazard as would any reasonable property owner.

Generally, slip-and-fall accidents involve property owners who should have known about the dangerous situation.

The standards involved in slip-and-fall cases vary due to location. In a public business, you are considered an invitee, and the business has a duty to make sure it is safe. In a private home, you are considered a licensee, and the homeowner doesn’t owe you the same duty of care as a store owner does.

But it is important to remember that injuring yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you have a case against a property owner. If a careless misstep caused you to slip and fall, it could weaken your claim.

When determining responsibility in a slip-and fall-accident, a court compares the claimant’s fault with the property owner’s fault and then establishes a percentage of liability for each party.

Your compensation may be reduced if your own negligence contributed to your injury. Even if you were partially at fault, you can still recover damages, but that compensation may be reduced by the percentage of responsibility the court decides is your own.

A property owner may examine the part you played in your own accident in order to establish that you were at fault. We are not cautious every moment of the day, and there are some things people do to put themselves in harm’s way.

If you slip and fall and decide to bring a lawsuit, the party you are suing may try to determine whether:

  • You had a legitimate reason for being in the area where you were hurt.
  • A careful person would have seen the danger zone and avoided it.
  • There were any warning signs.
  • You were running, jumping, playing in the area.
  • You were distracted.

If an insurance adjuster asks you questions that are designed to get at these issues, do not answer them until you speak with a personal injury attorney. Otherwise, you may inadvertently admit fault.

David Resnick founded the firm in 1998 after working in large law firms where he saw a need for greater client communication and more personal care. He wanted to help everyday folks who have had the misfortune to be injured in an accident.

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