Fault in a Kansas City Slip and Fall
A wide variety of injuries can result from a slip and fall accident. Some slip and falls can cause bruises and strains. Other slip and falls can result in traumatic injuries that can result in permanent impairments, such as complex fractures, spine, neck or back injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
If you suspect that another party is at fault for your slip and fall injury, you should to contact a Kansas City slip and fall attorney for help. A personal injury lawyer experienced in slip and fall cases can help you determine who is at fault. Determining fault is the key to recovering fair compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.
Determining Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident
Property owners are not responsible for all injuries that occur on their property. The area of law that governs these cases is known as "Premises Liability." In most of these cases, a property owner must have been negligent or committed intentional wrongdoing to be held liable for slip and fall injuries. Usually, at least one of the following situations must apply to hold a property owner liable for a slip and fall accident:
- The property owner caused the hazardous or dangerous condition on the property and failed to warn you of the potential for injury.
- The property owner knew there was a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property but did nothing to correct the problem.
- The property owner should have known there was a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property based on the fact that a reasonable person caring for the property would have discovered the problem and corrected it.
Proving liability for your fall can be tricky, and some property owners will simply deny any fault. You need evidence to prove the owner knew or should have known about the problem and did nothing to warn people or correct the problem. I
n cases in which the property owner claims he did not know about the danger, you have the extra added step of proving what a “reasonable” person would have known under the circumstances.
How Do You Prove What a Reasonable Person Would Have Known?
Proving what a “reasonable person” would have known or done involves determining what a typical person might have done in a similar situation with similar circumstances. It is an objective standard that must be decided by a jury. However, the jury also considers any actual knowledge the person might have had about the situation or knowledge that is common to everyone in a particular situation.
The “reasonable person” standard is typically based on a person of normal abilities and intelligence. It is a person who is careful and reasonably prudent, given the totality of the circumstances. However, proving what a reasonable person would have known or should have done is complicated.
Because a “reasonable person” is not an actual person, the definition depends on what jurors believe a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation. It is up to your attorney to convince the jury that they, as reasonable individuals, would have known about a hazard or danger, or they would have acted differently than the property owner acted to prevent injuries.
If a juror believes he or she would have acted differently (as a reasonable person) than the property owner acted, the juror is more likely to rule in your favor. However, without an experienced personal injury attorney presenting the evidence, jurors could be convinced by a defense attorney that a negligent property owner acted reasonably.
What If I Am Partially to Blame for the Fall?
Missouri and Kansas both have comparative fault laws that allow the court to decrease the compensation for an accident by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim. In other words, if you are partially at fault for the cause of your injury, the amount of money you receive for your injury could be lower than the actual value of damages. In Kansas, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for your injury, your claim is barred completely.
Therefore, you need to consider whether you contributed to the cause of your injury in a slip and fall accident. The insurance company and defense attorney will certainly try to blame you for some of the fault so that they can minimize the value of your injury claim.
The same “reasonable person” standard is applied to judge your actions for comparative fault. For example, if a reasonable person would have seen a warning sign and stopped, the fact that you continued walking along the path and fell might be considered contributory negligence. An experienced Kansas City slip and fall attorney understands how to argue against claims of contributory negligence in slip and fall cases.
Contact a Kansas City Slip and Fall Attorney for More Information
Proving fault in a Kansas City slip and fall accident can be difficult. However, a skilled and experienced Kansas City personal injury lawyer has argued that case many times. He understands how to use the evidence in a case in the best light for his client.
If you have been injured in a fall, contact The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus by calling 816-203-0143 for a free consultation. Our Kansas City slip and fall accident attorneys represent clients in Missouri and Kansas.