If you had a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, you may have sustained serious injuries. While there are many times that you will be due compensation in these cases, being on someone else’s property alone is not enough to be awarded compensation. To be awarded damages in a personal trial, you usually have to prove that the other party was negligent.
How do you prove negligence though? As with any legal claim, even if you know that the slip-and-fall was caused by the other party or by deficiencies on their property, you’ll still need the evidence to prove it. Our lawyers are experts in slip-and-fall cases and can help walk you through exactly what you need to prove the other party’s negligence.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence in common use is a little different from its technical definition. In the legal sense, negligence means that a party had a reasonable responsibility to protect you or ensure your safety but failed to. There are a number of conditions that must be met for an action to be considered negligent:
- You were owed a duty of care. This duty doesn’t have to be the result of a particular agreement but is often just a social expectation of reasonable safety.
- They breached that duty. Whether by irresponsible actions or inaction, the other party breached their responsibility to protect your safety.
- That breach caused your injuries. Their action or inaction must be directly responsible for your injuries, and it would not have occurred without them.
- You were injured as a result. If you suffered damages of any kind as a result of the accident, and all above conditions are met, you could have a case for negligence.
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Hazardous Conditions and Liability
A duty of care when it comes to negligence sometimes means that the person was ethically or professionally bound to care for you, like in the case of medical malpractice. For most slip-and-fall accidents though, the duty of care may be as simple as you were a welcome guest on the other party’s property and so had every reason to believe you were safe in their care.
For workplace or household slip-and-fall accidents that occur on private property, often the breach of duty that constitutes negligence is simply failing to fix hazardous conditions that in turn led to your accident. If it wasn’t your property you weren’t responsible for the hazardous conditions, so the property owner may be liable for their inaction in addressing a potential hazardous deficiency.
Proving Negligence and Liability
Many times in slip-and-fall cases, defendants will make the case that your accident was entirely your fault and that they are not liable. These are often strong-arm tactics that our attorneys here in Las Vegas regularly run into while fighting for slip-and-fall victims. These arguments can sometimes work, so it’s important to look at what your fault may be in the accident.
Depending on how you slipped, there may be different ways that you could be liable or partially liable for your own slip-and-fall. If you were doing something that was unreasonably dangerous or negligent of your own safety, the case could be made that you were more at fault than the defendant.
Usually, the truth is somewhere in between. If there was a building or property deficiency that led to the accident, even if only partially, then the property owner will be liable in some form for their negligence. If inadequate signage or other problematic safety practices contributed to the incident then those are also evidence of neglect of a basic duty of care.
Here in Nevada, we follow a legal doctrine known as comparative negligence. This means that if more than one party’s negligence led to an incident, then liability can be proportionally assigned according to each party’s share of the negligence. This means that two or potentially many more parties could be assigned different levels of liability in complicated personal injury cases.
If you were texting, for instance, when the incident happened, but a severe depression on the floor that was unmarked with signs caused you to slip and fall, it’s likely that both you and the property owner would share some negligence. The court may find that your texting while walking contributed in some way to the accident, but the property owner’s neglect also didn’t provide for the reasonable safety of anyone in the building.
In cases like this where you are partially at fault, you would be assigned a portion of the total negligence. If the court found that you were 30% at fault and the other party was 70% at fault, you would still be awarded damages, but they would be reduced by 30% to account for your liability in the accident.
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Compensation in Slip-and-Fall Cases
For compensation in personal injury cases, pretty much any hardship you suffered as a direct result of the accident can be sought as damages. Lost wages, medical bills, or any other financial costs you’ve incurred due to the accident should definitely be calculated into your claim. In addition, you should also look to any future continued medical treatment that you may need as a result of your injuries so that you don’t have to shoulder that cost when the time comes.
If you were badly injured, it’s likely that you can also receive compensation for the pain and suffering that the accident caused as well. While monetary compensation can’t reverse traumatic events, often financial compensation will be awarded so that you have the tools available to seek any help and comfort you may need for the results of that trauma. Occasionally for cases of gross negligence, plaintiffs could even be awarded punitive damages from the defendant as a deterrent against negligent acts in the future.
An Attorney Can Help You Prove Negligence After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
When you’ve been injured, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the continued financial and emotional burdens of an accident that wasn’t your fault. At Pacific West Injury Law, we can help you gather the information for your case, prove negligence, and get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation with our personal injury lawyers today.