Was Your Fall 100% Your Own Fault? If Not, You May Be Entitled To Compensation

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Did your actions lead you to slip and fall at a local business? Did your fall result in an injury that caused you to lose work and/or wrack up extensive medical bills? Perhaps you wore slippery shoes and lost your step on a slick tile, or maybe you were browsing through coupons when you tripped on a box at your local grocery store. Whatever action you're blaming yourself for that caused you to be injured by a slip and fall accident, it's time to reevaluate your percentage of fault in the incident. Read on to learn about the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence, and how, depending on which one of these rules your state follows, the court may still award you compensation for your injury.

Contributory Negligence

If your state follows the rule of contributory negligence, then you cannot recover damages from a slip and fall case if you were even the slightest bit at fault for the incident. If your actions contributed even 1 percent to your injury, then you have no case. The only exception to this rule is that is can be overridden if you can prove that the defendant acted in a malicious manner in an attempt to deliberately cause you injury.

Fortunately, only a few states follow these guidelines. The rest of the states practice the rule of comparative fault.

Comparative Fault

In comparative fault states, the jury for each case takes a long hard look at the evidence and determines how much the defendant's negligence played a role in the accident, and how much of the fault lies with the defendant. They assign a percentage of fault to each side, and those percentages determine how much damage you can recover for your injury.

In some states, you can recover any portion of your damages that you are not at fault for, even if the defendant was only 1 percent negligent. For example, if your damages totaled $100,000 and it was ruled that the defendant was 1 percent at fault for your injury, you can recover $1000 from the defendant. States that allow compensation for any percentage of fault are said to follow the law of pure comparative fault.

Modified comparative fault works a little differently. In states that follow this law, you can only recover damages if the defendant's negligence played a significant role in your slip and fall. In some states the defendant will be ruled to compensate you if they were 50 percent or more at fault, and in other states they'll only be required to pay damages if they were 51 percent or more at fault. If it is ruled that they must compensate you, they must only compensate you for the percentage of fault that the jury declares they were responsible for. 

Reconsidering The Facts

You may have had on slippery shoes the day you got injured, or you may have just not been paying attention when you slipped and fell, but that doesn't mean that you're 100 percent to blame for the incident.

Think back to the day you were injured and try to remember any other circumstances that may have played a role in you losing your footing. Was the business's floor wet? Was a stair you tripped on damaged? Was it delivery day at the store, leading the isles to be overly-crammed with boxes of goods? If you live in a comparative fault state and remember that there was some degree of negligence on the business owner's part that contributed to your fall, then your lawyer can help you prove this negligence and recover at least a portion of your damages.

Just because you were partially to blame for your slip and fall injury doesn't mean that you were completely to blame, or that you should be fully responsible for the money you lost to missed work and medical bills. Look at sites like http://www.putnamlieb.com or contact a slip and fall attorney today to discuss the laws concerning partial negligence in your state and to find out how you can build a solid case that results in the defendant sharing the responsibility of paying for your damages.