Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, anytime – whether at the workplace or at a shopping mall. Sometimes, it could be because the floor was wet and slippery, while other times, it could be the obstruction along the walkway, which resulted in a trip and fall. No matter its cause or location, if one is injured owing to the accident in a public or private place, the employer or company may be legally responsible for these injuries.
The slip and fall accident settlement is determined considering many factors like negligence as well as liability. In addition, while there are many common injuries related to the accident, the compensation is granted for different categories of the injury, comprising medical bills, lawyer fees, as well as the injured party’s pain and suffering.
The Factors That Determine the Settlement
The key considerations that determine the slip and fall case’s outcome revolve around the following.
- Which party is eventually liable for the slip and fall accident?
- Was the at-fault party negligent or what otherwise contributed to it?
- Did the injured person cause or contribute to it in any way?
Negligence involves disregard for others’ safety by failing to act in such a way that a reasonable individual would act. It could be that an uneven surface, a pothole, or leaking ceiling resulted in a dangerous condition. The main factor in this evaluation is whether the reasonable party would have been able to make out the situation as dangerous or potentially harmful and if the at-fault party had ample chances to improve the condition before the injury’s occurrence. The alternative thing to prove in court is whether the responsible owner of the property specifically caused this dangerous condition and that it was fairly understandable one would sustain an injury owing to it.
Conditions like limited visibility, poor lighting, lack of fair justification, and lack of company’s safety policy enforcement are factors that contribute to the negligence’s determination in the case. The plaintiff has the burden to prove that the liable person could have taken some other step to prevent the slip and fall accident but failed to take it.
The plaintiff also has to prove, even if a valid cause for the situation was there, that the justification for it was no longer valid when the accident happened and that no precautionary steps were taken to prevent its occurrence. While the plaintiff has the burden of proof, the case’s facts will present the necessary affirmations or declarations to determine the extent of negligence involved.
To prove that one is liable, he or she has to have a liability for the property in question as well as any occurrences taking place on it. The owner of the property would usually assume the legal responsibility for the injury that occurs in their business place unless he or she has insurance coverage that frees them of that. If that employer or owner has liability insurance, then the insurance firm assumes it, and thus, the plaintiff has to file a lawsuit against the insurer instead of the party covered by the insurance.
The Freedom of the Plaintiff from Accident Fault or Contribution
While conditions may have been present that resulted in the slip and fall, to begin with, the plaintiff or injured party has to be free from blame to place all of the legal responsibility on the defendant. If the plaintiff in any way contributed to his or her injury, he or she has to accept their portion of the responsibility, which typically negates the assumption of entire responsibility by the business or property’s owner.
The US states recognizing contributory fault law will not grant settlement amount to the plaintiff party if there is any level, even the smallest amount, of partial blame upon the plaintiff’s part. States enforcing the comparative negligent law will grant compensation in slip and fall cases where partial negligence is upon the party, but they will decrease the settlement amount in proportion to the liability’s percentage.
Partial liability is determined by the plaintiff’s engagement, access, as well as warnings issued by the defendant. If he or she was distracted by texting or telephoning, the person may be deemed to individual liability. Similarly, if the injury in question occurred in a restricted place wherein the person was not permitted access, or the plaintiff disregarded the warnings placed there, those matters also may present a case of the partial liability.
More often than not, the court awards common compensatory damages in slip and fall cases. They serve to compensate the injured person for damages deemed non-monetary, which comprises of pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and mental anxiety.
The court also grants special compensatory damages in these cases where expenses are incurred upon the plaintiff’s behalf as a direct consequence of the injury. The aim is to make the petitioner feel whole again, as well as restore his or her financial state to where it was prior to the accident. These special compensatory damages comprise medical bills, attorney fees, household bills and necessities, as well as the cost of medical services necessitated in the future.