Negligence is a standard of conduct that uses a “reasonable person” standard. This legal standard asks what the average person exercising average care would do in the same or similar circumstances. If a person’s actions fall below the level of care that a reasonable person would take in a certain situation and those actions cause you harm, negligence has occurred.
Negligence by a business owner or operator can cause a person to be injured in a slip and fall accident in many ways. The owner of a grocery store may fail to “clean up aisle 6” or fail to put up a warning sign when a floor has been recently mopped and is slippery. The owner of a casino may fail to repair a tear in a carpet or to fix a loose handrail on stairs which leads to a patron falling down and hurting himself.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
To receive compensation for a slip and fall injury, you will need to prove that the owner breached his duty of care and that this breach caused your injuries. In short, negligence requires that you will prove all of the following four elements.
Duty of Care
You must first prove that the property owner owed you a duty of care. In other words, you must show that the property owner had a legal obligation to keep you safe while on their property. All members of society have a general duty to act reasonably and avoid acts or omissions that may harm others.
Breach of Duty of Care
Next, you must prove that the property owner breached the duty of care owed to you. A person breaches their duty of care by failing to exercise reasonable care in fulfilling their duty. This breach may include a failure to act, improper action, or an omission by the property owner.
The third element requires that the property owner’s breach to be the proximate cause of the injury. In other words, the property owner’s breach must be related to the injury in question. If your injury cannot be traced to any specific act or omission by the property owner, then this element will fail.
Lastly, you must prove that you have actually suffered damages as a result of the injury. These damages can take two forms: economic damages (medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
What is a Slip-and-Fall?
A “slip and fall” accident is a type of premises liability claim in which an injured party seeks to hold a property owner liable for injuries on their property. Injuries from slip and fall accidents can be significant, leading to long-term mental and financial suffering. However, not all slip and fall injuries warrant compensation, and a property owner is not liable every time a person slips and falls on their property.
Rather, to receive compensation in the form of a legal settlement, you will need to prove that the property owner was negligent in keeping their premises safe. But what does it mean to be “negligent” in a slip and fall?
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Accident
To show negligence in a slip and fall case, a Nevada plaintiff must prove:
- The property owner should have known of the dangerous or hazardous
- The property owner did know of the dangerous or hazardous condition but failed to address it in a reasonable manner
- The property owner caused the dangerous or hazardous condition
When you are injured in a slip and fall, the property owner may try to limit their liability by arguing that you were partially liable by comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a term for when there is more than one party at fault for an accident. When this is applied to a slip and fall, the relative fault of each party can be considered when determining overall liability and what, if any, compensation is owed.
Nevada’s comparative negligence statute is NRS 41.141 and states that in any Nevada personal injury case, you may recover for injuries—even if you are partially at fault—so long as you are less than 50% at fault. If it is determined that you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, recovery is barred altogether, and you are entitled to no financial compensation.
In cases where your liability is less than 50%, you are still entitled to compensation, but your recovery will be reduced by your own percentage of fault in the accident. For example, if you receive $10,000 from a slip and fall accident in which you were determined to be 30% at fault, your recovery is reduced by $3,000, and you will instead take home $7,000 in total compensation.
Property Owner Arguments That May Limit Liability
A property owner may argue the following to try to limit their liability:
- Clear and obvious hazard
- Inadequate time for the owner to address hazard
- The owner gave warning of potential hazard
- Inappropriate footwear by the injured party
Steps Following a Slip and Fall Accident
If you or a loved one has suffered a slip-and-fall accident on a property where someone’s negligence directly caused your injuries, contact the attorneys at Van Law Firm. We can help you gather the needed evidence to work up your case and get you the compensation that you deserve. Your first consultation is free, and we don’t get paid unless we win your case!
My experience with this firm was great. I worked with Yesenia who kept me updated every step of the way and answered questions I had and they was a lot. Helped make sure my daughter was included as well.Mary Turner
This was the best law firm experience I have ever had in my life and I have had several. Van Law Firm is the best in Vegas and the only law firm I will ever use.Jackin Ralph
I want to thank Van Law Firm for the hard work and dedication they put into my case. My case manager Norma was great and explained everything in detail and answered any questions I had.Darla Storm