Slip and fall accidents are very common personal injury claims, but they are by no means a locked legal issue when it is time to recover damages for injuries. These injuries are almost always staunchly defended by the insurance companies and primary respondents, regardless of the situation. In general, most slip and fall injury suits are directed at public businesses and occur during operational hours, but they can also occur at residences as well. Always remember there are several relatively unknown legal factors that can impact a slip and fall injury claim.
Just as with an automobile accident, all litigants in a slip and fall personal injury claim are assessed for a percentage of fault. Few accidents are purely the fault of one party. In a slip and fall injury lawsuit, this is called reasonable assumption of risk. Depending on what comparative negligence doctrine a state uses, the maximum an injured plaintiff can receive is adjusted downward by their comparative negligence percentage.
Burden of Proof
While many people are familiar with the concept of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that is not the standard of proof for a civil tort case like a slip and fall injury. Civil torts are judged according to a preponderance of the evidence within a totality of circumstances, which means that the fact a plaintiff is filing suit carries some weight in court. However, each technicality is also assessed in terms of legal application, and many times simple technicalities can relieve a respondent from negligence liability when their legal counsel can demonstrate that there is no reasonable duty of care issues in the claim. For a respondent to be negligent there must be valid evidence of responsibility.
Premises Liability is Not Automatic
Mere location of an accident does not indicate negligence. Location just indicates premises operator liability when they have been negligent to some degree. The best condition that many slip and fall injury claimants enjoy is when pure comparative negligence doctrine is the standard, which will result in an injured plaintiff receiving some level of damage recovery even when they are largely responsible for the accident.
Handling Your Own Claim Can Yield Bad Results
Because of the number of issues the defending legal team can bring up in discovery or in a trial, it is never a good decision for an injured novice plaintiff to attempt settling a slip and fall claim themselves. This may be appropriate and effective when the respondent is a municipality with a standard process for damage recovery, but the time limits on when a claim can be filed are severely limited in most cases. Always retain a slip and fall attorney who understands the nuances and potential defenses against the claim.
Plaintiffs Rarely Receive Whole Damage Recovery
Insurance provider legal representatives and adjusters always stress the personal risk assumption on the part of the plaintiff and will bargain hard for an increase in plaintiff fault.