Could You be Held Partially Liable for a Slip and Fall Injury?
Sometimes there is just one party at fault for a slip and fall – often it is a property owner or someone who works for the owner and manages the property. However, sometimes liability is shared between two or more parties, and one of those parties might even be the victim.
It is important to note insurance companies often claim victims are partially or entirely at fault, even when this is clearly not the case. However, there could be times when victims walked into a dangerous situation that probably should have been avoided. If there were warnings that were easy to see and understand, often termed “open and obvious”, and the victim ignored them, he or she may have been negligent.
Below, we discuss partial fault for a slip and fall accident and why victims should not make assumptions about their role in an accident. You may have acted reasonably and not bear any fault, and you should discuss things with a licensed attorney.
At TSR Injury Law, our goal is to secure maximum compensation for damages. In a free consultation, we can carefully review what happened and discuss possible legal options. The consultation also comes with no obligation to hire our firm so there is no risk to you.
Minnesota Law on Partial Fault
Under state law, victims can still seek compensation for damages if they are partially at fault. That said, victims cannot be more at fault than the other party, otherwise they cannot pursue compensation. In other words, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, you cannot pursue compensation no matter how hurt you are.
If you are 50 percent or less at fault, your compensation award will be reduced in accordance with your percentage of fault. In other words, if you are found 10 percent at fault, any compensation award you receive will be reduced by 10 percent.
It is important for victims to know this because they may assume they cannot recover any compensation because they are somewhat at fault. Victims often exaggerate their amount of fault or allow themselves to be swayed by things the insurance company tells them.
It is important to review the situation with a lawyer to determine possible legal options. If you think you are partially at fault, do not tell the insurance company. Discuss it with an experienced Minneapolis slip and fall lawyer.
Partial Fault for a Slip and Fall
It is important to note fault for a slip and fall must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There are just too many factors that need to be considered. Even if two slip and falls happened in the same type of store, they may have a different cause. That is why it is so important for victims to seek experienced legal help.
One of the main questions to answer when assessing fault for a slip and fall injury is whether it was unreasonable for the victim to do what he or she did. If the victim acted as a reasonable person and the property owner did not take appropriate steps to mitigate the hazard, it may be difficult to assign partial fault to the victim.
Going into a section of a property that is restricted or roped off is a bad idea and may be considered unreasonable. Property owners will claim they cannot be expected to fix hazards in areas of the property visitors are not supposed to go.
A victim may be partially blamed for a slip and fall is if there were warning signs about the dangerous condition. For example, if there was a wet floor sign in front of a wet or slippery part of the floor, and you walked into that area, you might bear some amount of fault. The property owner may be able to avoid liability because there was a sign.
Could the Victim Argue That He or She Did Not See the Sign?
It is possible. However, if you did not see the sign because you were distracted and it was clearly visible to others, this may not be a viable argument. If you were intoxicated at the time of the accident and the property owner has pictures or video of you that indicates this, it may be tough to argue you did not see the sign. You may not have, but you probably would have if not for being intoxicated.
If the sign was obscured by something, like a plant or other people, the property owner may have trouble claiming visitors had a clear warning about the danger.
What if You Had Inappropriate Footwear?
This may sound like a weak argument trotted out by the insurance company to escape liability. That said, if a female victim was wearing heels in a snow-covered parking lot and fell, the insurance company will blame the choice of shoes.
An insurance company may argue you were wearing flip-flops in the produce section, so you should be found at least partially negligent. However, it depends on the hazard that caused your injury. Was the hazard so dangerous that wearing different shoes would not have mattered? If that is true, this may be a flimsy argument by the liable party.
Injured in a Slip and Fall? TSR is Here to Help
Slip and fall cases can be complex. Proving liability can be challenging, particularly because property owners and their insurers are looking to avoid accountability.
That is why victims can greatly benefit from experienced legal representation. At TSR Injury Law, we have been helping victims for more than 20 years and have obtained $1 billion in compensation.
No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.