Fortunately, if you are partially responsible for your slip and fall injuries in Pittsburgh, you may still be able to recover damages for your injuries. However, some limitations may bar you from awards or limit how much you can receive. The other party may try to say that you were more liable than you actually were to reduce your payout or prevent you from receiving any sort of compensation.
When Can Slip and Fall Accident Victims Share Fault for Their Injuries?
Slip and fall cases may result from a property owner’s negligent or reckless behavior, but even victims can play a part in their injuries. This most often occurs when the conditions present may have been considered obvious, often called the open and obvious doctrine or defense. One example of the open and obvious rule is a wet floor in a restaurant.
Applying the Open and Obvious Doctrine
Let’s say a guest at a restaurant spilled their beverage on the floor. The restaurant staff immediately brings a bright yellow wet floor sign out, displays it prominently next to the wet floor, and the staff returns to the kitchen to get the cleaning supplies to mop up the spill. In the meantime, a different guest, not paying attention to the sign, slips on the wet floor and breaks their ankle.
Here, the injured guest should have noted the wet floor sign. Because they didn’t, they may be found partially liable for their own injuries. In cases like these, you can expect the other party to fight back, as they will argue that you should not receive compensation for missing the obvious signs.
However, Pennsylvania does not follow strict contributory negligence laws, where injury victims are prohibited from recovering compensation for sharing even a small amount of liability for the accident or their injuries.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
Pennsylvania Modified Comparative Negligence Laws
Under 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 7102, slip and fall and other injury victims are not barred from financial recovery for sharing fault for their injuries. Personal injury cases follow a modified comparative negligence system that allows victims to share up to 50 percent of the blame for their accident or their injuries. Once that threshold has passed, they are prohibited from recovering compensation through a civil claim.
This means that sharing fault for your slip and fall injuries will not necessarily prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve. However, you may not recover the full extent of your damages if you share blame for your injuries because of the distribution of liability.
Legal Help From Personal Injury Attorneys
You can seek compensation without the help of a lawyer, but it can be difficult to navigate the nuances of comparative negligence and personal injury on your own. A slip and fall lawyer can evaluate your case and determine the best options for your situation. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with the tactics that insurers use to try and devalue or reject your case, and they will work to protect your interests.
If you hire a Pittsburgh slip and fall lawyer, they can handle gathering evidence, calculating damages, and crafting a strategy to help you go after fair compensation.
How Modified Comparative Negligence Could Affect Your Case
Although you can still seek compensation after a slip and fall accident where you share fault, you will be held accountable for this portion of the blame. To do this, the court will deduct your portion of liability from your injury settlement. The amount of your deduction will correlate directly to your percentage of liability. Let’s look at an example:
Nancy was visiting her favorite coffee shop in Pittsburgh on a winter morning when she slipped and broke her hip outside of the restaurant. The restaurant owner failed to de-ice the walkways properly prior to opening. However, Nancy failed to wear the proper footwear needed for snow and ice conditions.
For this reason, the jury found her to be 5% liable for her injuries. The jury awarded her $100,000 for her damages. But since she shared fault for her injuries, her 5% of fault was deducted from her $100,000 injury award, and her case was resolved at a final payout of $95,000.
Your case will depend on many different circumstances, but don’t be afraid to reach out to our law firm to see if we can help you with your slip and fall accident.
Let a Pittsburgh Lawyer Evaluate Your Slip and Fall Case
When a slip and fall injury has had a serious impact on your life, you have the right to be repaid if someone else is at fault. Sharing fault does not prohibit you from recovering compensation for your damages.
Find out if a Pittsburgh slip and fall lawyer at Berger and Green can help you with your case. Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to slip and fall victims across Pittsburgh and surrounding cities. Claim yours when you call our office at (412) 661-1400.