Slip and fall accidents make up a huge part of personal injury claims in the US. Although most slip and fall cases result from the property owner’s reckless or negligent behavior, sometimes victims can also contribute to causing the accident and their subsequent injuries. Fortunately, even if you are partly to blame for the accident you were involved in, you can still get compensation from the case as long as the property owner also displayed negligence in maintaining the property.
However, it may be a bit more difficult to get compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident. In fact, the defendant may claim you are more responsible for the accident than you are in a bid to either reduce your compensation amount or completely prevent you from receiving your settlement.
Therefore, you should partner with a professional attorney who understands the rules different states follow when it comes to sharing blame and how to get you fair compensation despite those circumstances.
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence
When it comes to partial responsibility and negligence, different states follow different rules, such as contributory negligence and comparative negligence rules. Under the contributory negligence rule, the plaintiff cannot sue the other negligent party if it is found that their negligence also caused the accident. If you are found to be even 5% responsible for the accident, you cannot sue and are not entitled to any compensation. However, very few states adhere to this rule.
On the other hand, under comparative negligence, you can still get compensated even if you are partly to blame for the accident. Therefore, your damages will be reduced depending on your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are 20% liable for the accident, your claim will be reduced by 20%, hence, a $200,000 claim will be reduced to $160,000.
How can you be responsible for your slip and fall incident?
You can be held responsible for your slip and fall accident if the defendant can prove that you caused your own injuries. Such situations include:
Wearing inappropriate footwear
For instance, if you wear stiletto heels and cross a snow-covered parking lot or park, the defendant may claim you were partially negligent.
If you were drunk at the time of the incident, the defendant could argue that being intoxicated prevented you from thinking and acting carefully, which caused the accident. You may be partly blamed for the incident if you were drunk or high on other drugs.
Ignoring warning signs
For instance, if a store manager puts out a sign warning customers that the floor is wet and unsafe for use and you blatantly ignore the sign, you may also be blamed for the injuries you sustain.
All in all, your eligibility for compensation for your injuries will depend on the state you live in and whether they follow comparative negligence or contributory negligence. To explore your legal options and exercise your legal rights, reach out to an experienced attorney.