Slip and fall is a certain variety of accident where you sustain injuries on another person’s property. An actual trip is not necessary for a valid claim. The basic principle behind slip and fall cases is that another person was responsible for a dangerous situation on their property, and that hazard led to your injury. Numerous laws govern slip and fall injuries in North Carolina, and an experienced Charlotte slip and fall lawyer will be able to go over your specific situation with you. In general, the first step of a slip and fall lawsuit is establishing the property owner’s negligence. This involves showing that they failed to fulfill their duty to make their premises safe for you to visit.
If you incurred injuries in a slip and fall accident, contact a Charlotte premises liability lawyer from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys at (980) 237-4579, or reach out online to schedule a free case consultation.
The law in North Carolina requires a uniform standard of safety landowners must provide to all lawful visitors. The property owner must take reasonable care that you do not experience harm while on their land. This involves correcting all dangerous situations that do not require an excessive burden or effort to fix. If there is a danger that cannot be reasonably eliminated, such as an issue caused by the landscape or natural elements, the property owner must provide you with adequate warning. If you’re trespassing on the property, the landowner’s only duty is to not harm you intentionally.
Slip and fall settlements hinge on whether the property owner’s negligence was the cause of your injury. There are two types of negligence you can attempt to establish:
If you have questions about the different types of negligence in a slip and fall case, continue reading below, or reach out to a Charlotte slip and fall lawyer at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys for help.
Active negligence refers to an action by the property owner (or their employees) that caused your injuries. If an owner or employee spilled clear liquid on the floor, they are obligated to either fix the dangerous situation or provide warning of it. If they do neither of those things, they may be liable for any damages caused by you slipping and falling in the liquid.
Passive negligence does not apply to any direct action taken by an owner or employees. Instead, it occurs when an owner knows (or should have known) about a dangerous situation, and does nothing to fix it. The flooring in an establishment may be uneven, causing you to trip and fall. It is a reasonable assumption that the owner of that establishment should know about any issues with the flooring and issue a warning. If no warnings were posted, they might be liable on the premise of passive negligence.
If you claim that you were injured in a slip and fall accident, the property owner will likely try to pin some of the responsibility on you. Most states have a variation of a law that allows the person who fell to share some responsibility for their injuries. Under these comparative negligence laws, responsibility for the accident is divided into percentages. Owners are only required to pay for the percentage of damages they are found to be responsible for. North Carolina, however, follows the much less charitable “contributory negligence” standard. Under this concept, if you are found to share any responsibility for your slip and fall accident, no matter how small, you are not entitled to recover any compensation.
A Charlotte slip and fall lawyer at our firm spends much of their time combating contributory negligence claims from property owners. A landowner may attempt to prove your responsibility for an accident by claiming:
Contributory negligence generally plays a large role in slip and fall cases, whether they progress to trial or not. The opposition will know you risk walking away with nothing, and will likely try to establish contributory negligence during the settlement phase. You and your lawyer will need to collect evidence showing the negligence lies entirely with the other party, and not with you.
To receive any compensation for your slip and fall accident, you must prove that you share none of the blame for your injuries. In order to avoid walking away with nothing, the following forms of evidence can be helpful:
Preserving evidence such as photo or video captured by in-store cameras requires prompt communication with the property owner. You must give them notification of the accident, and request that they maintain whatever footage they have, or at a minimum, that it be preserved.
A Charlotte slip and fall lawyer from Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys will understand what procedures need to be followed, and they will be able to talk you through the steps of your case.
If you’re debating whether or not to hire a lawyer and file your slip and fall claim, don’t wait. An attempt to file any case after the statute of limitations has expired will almost certainly result in your case being dismissed. North Carolina law mandates that any personal injury claim, including a slip and fall accident, must be filed within three years. This three-year clock begins running on the date the accident happened. After you’re hurt in a trip and fall incident, your best bet is to speak with a lawyer immediately.