Do Warning Signs Prevent Recovery for Slip-and-Fall Accidents?

By March 11, 2015Premises Liability

At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we frequently get questions about whether certain facts and circumstances might prevent someone from obtaining financial compensation for their injuries. One area in particular where this comes up is slip-and-fall accidents.

Factors to be Considered in Slip-and-Fall Accident Litigation

We are often asked if a warning sign (e.g., “Caution – Wet Floor”) is enough to protect a property owner from liability if someone slips on a wet floor. The answer is a simple one, because it depends on the situation. There are a number of factors to be considered, including:

  •       Whether the sign provided adequate warning
  •       The extent of the victim’s injuries
  •       Statements made by the victim after the accident
  •       What the property owner does after the accident
  •       The type of location where the accident occurred

Understanding Rules of “Comparative” Fault

The laws of the state where the accident occurred can also impact your ability to obtain financial compensation for a slip-and-fall accident. One type of law that is particularly important and also varies widely from state to state is the law of comparative fault.

Comparative fault determines whether and to what extent accident victims are entitled to damages when they are also partially responsible for causing their own injuries. Perhaps you can see how this would come into play in a slip-and-fall scenario where there was a sign warning people to stay away.

A Hypothetical Slip-and-Fall Scenario

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where someone slips and falls in a grocery store. Suppose the jury finds that the grocery store was 33% at fault because it didn’t completely block off the isle, but finds that the plaintiff was 67% at fault for failing to heed the warning sign. Total damages are $100,000. Is the plaintiff entitled to recover? If so, how much?

Comparative Fault in Missouri and Illinois

In this scenario, the answer will vary from state to state, and even between the two states where Carey, Danis & Lowe has its offices: Missouri and Illinois.

  •  Missouri – In Missouri, the plaintiff would be entitled to recover $25,000 dollars. This is because Missouri follows the rule of “pure” comparative negligence, which makes each party financially responsible for its own negligence.
  •  Illinois – In Illinois, the result would be different. Here, the plaintiff would not be entitled to any recovery. Under Illinois’s “modified” comparative negligence law, a party that is 51% at fault or more is barred from obtaining financial compensation. Basically, if the accident was mostly your fault, you are responsible for your own losses.

As you can see, the facts and circumstances will weigh heavily in determining your right to financial compensation following a slip-and-fall accident. Our attorneys are experienced in handling these types of personal injury claims. We can help you understand your rights and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.

Speak with an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney Today

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe today.

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