Determining who is at fault in a slip and fall comparative negligence case can be complicated. There is always the potential problem of shared responsibility. Another problem is locating the responsible party. A personal injury lawyer will need to conduct an in-depth investigation of the slip and fall injury to determine fault or partial fault of each party involved.
If someone is injured due to a slip and fall incident at an affair held in a rented store location, there could be many possible responsible parties. The injured person could have wandered into a dangerous area or acted in an irresponsible manner. This would make the injured person partly responsible for their subsequent injury. If the party who rented the property did not conduct proper inspections and mark off any potential dangers to guests. The owner of the store could also be held responsible. In most cases stores would most likely be held responsible, but some fault could pass along to a worker whose job it is to maintain clean aisles or stock produce so it does not roll off into the aisles. The shopper may have disregarded warning signs about a slippery or wet floor. They may also bear some responsibility for their injury from falling. As you can see there will be many people claiming that the accident was not there fault and the blame lies somewhere else.
Who is Responsible?
The main responsibility for keeping areas safe for workers and guests lies with property owners. In a situation where a property is rented, under construction or used by others, this responsibility still remains, although the renters may also be held accountable for injuries incurred on that property. If there are any hazards, they must be clearly marked. Negligent behavior can be charged if this is ignored or done improperly. Negligence is an important part of a slip and fall case. A personal injury attorney needs to prove there was negligent behavior by the responsible parties. Some responsibility lies with the visitor or worker, especially in known hazardous areas like a construction zone. Use of proper safety equipment is required to avoid a charge of negligence, and all precautions should be taken to eliminate any foreseeable hazardous conditions.
What is Partial Fault in a Slip and Fall Comparative Negligence Case?
Many people are involved in accidents in which they are at least partially negligent. In these cases, victims often feel like they shouldn’t file a personal injury claim, since the other person was not entirely at fault. However, if a person is not primarily responsible for the accident, they may still be able to receive compensation.
In all personal injury cases, it’s very important to be able to show negligence on the part of another, to demonstrate that the accident was primarily their responsibility. Pennsylvania recognizes slip and fall comparative negligence. The means you and your lawyer must prove that someone else was at least 51% responsible for your accident and resulting injuries. A good attorney will be able to help you demonstrate that while you may bear some amount of fault for the accident, the other party is still the guilty party.
Even in accident cases that seem relatively straight-forward, there are always legal complexities that must be addressed and require the expertise of a lawyer familiar with Pennsylvania negligence laws and how to prove negligence in court. Having the expertise of an experienced Philadelphia Slip and Fall Attorney on your side is critical in ensuring your best interests are looked after throughout your personal injury claim.
Slip and Fall Comparative Negligence Case in the news:
A construction accident case decided by a Philadelphia jury illustrates the legal principal of slip and fall comparative negligence. In the case of Bell v. Lafayette College, a roofer fell off a ladder while working in the rain at Lafayette College. He fractured his heel and shoulder and claimed he could not return to work. The Philadelphia jury awarded a $2.38 million dollar verdict. David Beil, 47, sued the college and two contractors, Telesis Construction and Masonry Preservation. The contractors settled during trial for $900,000 each. Beil asserted at trial that despite wet and muddy conditions due to rain, Lafayette College prohibited him and other construction workers from using an indoor stairway to the roof, which would have been much safer to access the roof. Instead the construction worker used a ladder. The defense attorney for the college argued that it was Beil’s own fault for deciding to climb a wet and muddy ladder in the rain without permission. The Philadelphia County jury on Oct. 27, 2006 found that Telesis was 50% liable, Lafayette College was 35% liable, Masonry was 10% liable and Beil was 5% liable. It awarded $6.8 million. Because the college was 35% liable, Beil was awarded $2.38 million of the $6.8 million dollar verdict.
Comparative Negligence is one of the main questions to answer in any slip and fall accident. Under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, you may still recover damages if you are partially at fault, unless a judge or jury finds you to be more than 50% responsible for your own injury. In other words, if you were found to be 40% at fault, and the property owner was found to be 60% at fault, you can recover damages for your slip and fall equal to 60% of the amount awarded by the jury. This is known as “comparative negligence”. There is no formula for arriving at a precise number for a person’s comparative negligence. An experienced slip and fall lawyer will negotiate with an insurance adjuster for your settlement, or argue your case to a jury, if a fair settlement cannot be reached.