A slip and fall accident involves a person slipping on a surface such as a floor, then falling on that surface. The property the person fell on is owned by another person or company. In Missouri, a slip and fall accident is a type of personal injury case. When seeking damages, or money, for expenses related to the accident, an individual can seek the help of a personal injury attorney Kansas City MO.
Negligence is Used to Determine if an Injured Person Will Receive Damages
Negligence is used to determine fault. It makes a party responsible for the slip and fall if they failed to do someone another an ordinary owner would have done in the same and/or similar circumstance. For example, an ordinary owner would have mopped up a spill on the floor immediately. However, the owner in a slip and fall case failed to mop the spill immediately. They are liable for the accident and must pay damages.
Comparative Negligence is Used to Determine if the Liable Party can Avoid Paying
Comparative negligence is a legal defense use to determine if the plaintiff, or injured person, shared any responsibility for the accident. An injured person is responsible for protecting themselves from harm. This means practicing due diligence when walking on property owned by someone else. The court will look at things such as the plaintiff not wearing proper footwear at the time or whether they were trespassing. The court will also study whether the person should have seen the spill prior to failure and if signage was placed around the dangerous situation.
If the court finds the plaintiff liable, their jury award will decrease. For example, the plaintiff is awarded $10,000. However, the court finds they were 30 percent responsible for the slip and fall accident because they were paying attention to where they were walking. The court will decrease their jury award by 30 percent. This means they only receive $7,000.
Comparative Negligence is a Factor in Missouri Slip and Fall Settlement Cases
A slip and fall case can be resolved outside of court. This is called a settlement. The plaintiff agrees to drop the court case in exchange for a money. The money terms may be a series of payments or one lump sum payment. The defendant typically does not have to admit fault.
During the negotiations, offers and counteroffers are made until they can come to an agreement. The negotiations include using the comparative negligence defense to lower the amount owed. For example, instead of a $10,000 settlement, the injured individual will receive a $7,000 settlement if they were 30 percent responsible for the accident.
Comparative Negligence can be Challenged in Court
If the defense presents the comparative negligence defense, the plaintiff’s attorney can challenge the claim. The attorney may present a challenging defense claim that their client was at fault. Some comparative negligence challenges are successful, and the plaintiff does not lose any of settlement.