New York uses a pure comparative negligence system when awarding monetary compensation to slip and fall plaintiffs. This means injured victims may still recover damages if they are partially to blame. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of liability. Therefore, it is vitally important to understand how shared fault is determined.
The vast majority of slip and fall lawsuits revolve around the question of negligence. The court will assess the involvement, and the amount of negligence, or fault, that belongs to each person for causing the accident or injury. However, the burden falls on the plaintiff to prove the property owner, or defendant, is at least partially responsible. Typically, one of the following theories must be demonstrated:
In order to be held as negligent and liable for damages, the property owner must have failed to act reasonably. Therefore, the court will examine whether the owner acted as a reasonably prudent person would have when in the same circumstances. To do so, the following factors will be considered:
In order to decrease liability, a property owner or their insurance carrier, will likely argue that the injured victim shares or is completely at fault for the slip and fall. This argument is made under New York’s rule of pure comparative negligence.
A property owner may use the following points to prove a plaintiff’s injury was caused by their own carelessness, therefore, reducing or eliminating their fault in the accident:
If the property owner is successful in proving a plaintiff’s involvement in causing their injury, then the court may determine that they share in liability and reduce the claimant’s damages award. For example, if $10,000 is awarded to a slip and fall plaintiff who is also 25% to blame, they would only be able to collect $7,500.
Reducing your amount of shared fault and convincing the court that a property owner should be held responsible for your slip and fall injury, is a complex matter. You will need an experienced lawyer on your side to make the strongest possible case. Get in touch with us by calling (212) 732-9000 and schedule a free case evaluation today.