What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Premises liability law refers to the type of law centered on a property owner’s duty of care to visitors.
- Indiana code provides for modified comparative fault, meaning one or all parties involved in a slip and fall case can be found at fault.
- The monetary damages you may recover after a slip and fall accident are based on the percentage you are found liable for your injury.
In the United States, one in every five falls results in a serious injury, and slip and fall accidents result in approximately 1 million emergency room cases a year. These accidental falls can result in serious injury and even death, and when a property owner’s negligence is to blame, you have a right to seek compensation.
So how do you know whether or not someone else is liable for your injury?
Determining Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents
Whether you slip and fall at a business, public space or private residence, the owners of that premises can be found liable for your injury if they failed to reasonably prevent it by maintaining their property and keeping it safe for visitors.
Premises liability is the type of law that can find a property owner in Indiana liable for injuries to others if the following circumstances are met:
- The owner owed a “duty of care” to the injured person.
- The owner failed to maintain the property and prevent or address hazards.
- These hazards directly resulted in the person’s injury.
Essentially, this means that as visitors, customers or tenants, we are owed a safe environment when entering a property. If the owner does not prevent dangerous situations or attend to known hazards on the property, such as cleaning up large spills or replacing broken flooring, then they have been negligent.
This means that if you simply trip over your own feet while distracted at the store, then the property owner was not negligent. However, if you were texting while walking and slipped and fell because of an unsecured extension cord, then you may share some of the liability for your injury. Depending on the state, liability can be shared by the injured claimant as well as the defendant.
Liability Law in Indiana
Indiana has what’s called “modified comparative negligence” when it comes to personal injury cases. This means that both the claimant and defendant can be found liable, but if the claimant is less than or equal to 50% responsible, then they may still recover damages. Additionally, any damages received are modified to reflect the percentage of liability.
For example, let’s say you are seeking damages of $10,000 to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering from a slip and fall accident. Perhaps you slipped and fell on ice that was never removed on the steps of your apartment building.
First, the jury will determine whether the defendant was negligent in failing to address the ice. Once negligence is established, the jury will determine whether you share in any of the blame for the accident. Perhaps you were on your phone or you ignored a sign that was placed warning you of the ice.
Let’s say the jury finds you 25% liable. Because both parties were determined to be negligent, and you as the injured party were found to be 50% or less responsible, then you are entitled to damages. Because you were found 25% liable, then you would recover 75% of the $10,000, or $7,500.
Outside of the courtroom, settlements between you and the property owner and their insurance may also reflect the notions of comparative negligence. The insurance company will want to pay as little as possible, so they will make the argument that you are responsible for all or part of the slip and fall accident.
Because of this, it is important to work with a qualified slip and fall lawyer to make the strongest, most effective case possible against the property owner.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery—Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses.
Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%*, and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate—one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away.
Call (800) 265-9881 for a free case review.