Before filing an insurance claim on a slip and fall accident, you should anticipate the property owner’s counter argument that you are partially responsible for the incident. You should be able to disprove this, because otherwise, it could cause you to lose a substantial portion of awarded compensation. Shared fault would also bring down the value of any settlement you stand to gain outside of a courtroom.
Arguments a Property Owner Can Make
- You were present at a part of the property that is usually closed off from visitors or among the spots where they are not expected to be.
- You failed to pay attention when walking into the danger that caused you to slip.
- You had on footwear, which was unsafe to walk around in the area.
- The danger that caused your injury was marked and cordoned off, which means the property owner took reasonable measures to make sure visitors were safe.
- The danger would have been obvious to a reasonable person.
No matter how specific the property owner’s claim, taking the case to court would place the ruling of your damage compensation under the “pure comparative negligence rule”. This rule reduces your court award based on the percentage of fault that belongs to you.
If, for instance, you are found by the court to be 30 percent to blame for the accident, and your total damages run to $100,000 (including medical bills, lost income, related pain and suffering, etc.), the property owner would only be liable to pay you $70,000.
This is how the concept of shared fault is used in personal injury cases in the state of California. The jury would be asked to determine your fault percentage, which is then applied to the amount that the property owner would have ended up paying if no fault had fallen unto you.
Even if your case does not go to trial, the insurance company representing the property owner could still use this factor. The insurer would hold in mind the maximum compensation you could be awarded by the court, and their negotiation method would invariably reflect this consideration. For this reason, it is important to have a competent slip and fall injury attorney on your side – one who is killed at maneuvering you through the complexities of the negotiations or litigation that lie ahead.