“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
This early 1980’s catchphrase left many laughing at the poor lady lying on the floor.
When you slip and fall, it is no laughing matter.
Fall injuries hurt. Your body hurts. Your time is impaired. You incur financial losses due to medical bills and time off work.
Slip and fall injury situations are typically far from being clear-cut.
It’s especially hard if your injury happens at a public venue or at an event. Maybe you even think you’re partially to blame.
There is nothing worse than being injured and feeling as if there’s nothing you can do.
However, in many situations you do have recourse, especially if you are able to act quickly in preserving the evidence for your case.
The question is “Who is responsible?”
The answer may not always be simple. Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state.
A pure comparative negligence system compensates an injury victim based on the level of fault determined for each party. Through this system, a victim may be able to recover damages even if they were partially to blame for the accident.
In Arizona, if an injury case is taken to court, a judge or jury will assign a percentage of guilt to each involved party then award damages for the injured party based on their responsibility.
Even if the case is settled outside of court, an insurance adjuster may reduce your compensation if you’re partly at fault.
For example, your neighbor owns a house with a backyard pool.
The pool has a slide and the neighbor invites your family over to swim. Both your child and the neighbor’s climb up the pool’s slide.
Suddenly, the slide breaks underneath them and your child suffers severe injuries.
You pursue compensation for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering.
Your neighbor pushes blame to the slide’s manufacturer, as the slide should not have broken. But the manufacturer points out that the slide includes a warning label that states a specific weight limit and for only one person to use the slide at a time.
Eventually, your neighbor’s fault is calculated at 60%, the manufacturer’s fault is determined to be 20%, and your fault is set for the additional 20% due to being a willing participant at the home and not heeding the label warnings.
If your total compensation for the accident was $25,000, by the pure comparative negligence rule you’d potentially have $20,000 in damages awarded to you, the total minus the $5,000 that represents your percentage of fault.
Any negligence claim looks at the actions of all involved parties.
Did the owner of the premises act reasonably? Did the owner or an employee know previously of the dangerous situation and do nothing about it? Should they have known about it?
Did the claimant take reasonable effort to anticipate the danger? Were there any obvious warnings? Was the claimant distracted or acting in a careless manner that may have made the fall more likely?
The factors of each situation can determine the outcome of an injury claim.
If you’ve been injured, don’t try to determine fault yourself.