CAUTION: WET FLOOR. We’ve all seen that sign in grocery stores, bars, restaurants, retail stores and other places where spills happen. What happens if you slip, fall and injure yourself when there’s a sign posted? Can you still sue?
Slip and fall cases can be quite serious. Plaintiffs have suffered broken bones, head injuries, spinal cord injuries and more. Some accidents are even fatal. However, the existence of a warning sign could make it harder to recover compensation, under a theory of comparative negligence.
Proving a Slip and Fall Case
Slip-and-fall cases are a type of premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability is a negligence claim. In a premises liability claim, the plaintiff must prove that there was a dangerous condition, the defendant knew or should have known about it, they failed to fix the situation and the plaintiff was injured as a result.
It can be difficult to prove fault in a slip and fall case, especially when you need to show that the defendant “knew or should have known” about the dangerous condition. When it comes to warning signs, however, that can make it even harder to prevail.
Comparative Negligence and Warning Signs
The state of Ohio allows comparative negligence defenses. That is, the defendant can respond to a case by offering evidence that the plaintiff themselves acted negligently. This could be anything from the fact that they would have seen the hazard if they’d been paying attention, to not wearing appropriate footwear. Trespassing is also a comparative negligence defense—and so is the presence of clearly visible warning signs.
Comparative negligence reduces the amount of compensation a plaintiff can get by the percentage that they were also at fault. For example, if you sue a grocery store because you slipped on a puddle and fell in their store, the defendant might be 100 percent at fault. If, however, they put out a warning sign and you didn’t heed it, you might be deemed 30 percent at fault. Therefore, any compensation you get would be reduced by 30 percent.
However, if a plaintiff is deemed to be 50 percent or more at fault, they won’t recover anything—and they may have to pay the defendant’s legal fees. That protects defendants from frivolous lawsuits, among other important policy measures.
Talk to an Ohio Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident, thanks to someone else’s negligence? You shouldn’t have to bear the costs alone. If the property manager or owner was negligent, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877.944.4373 to discuss your case.