Slip & Fall Accident Attorney Serving Sedgewick County, Kansas
Slip and fall accidents can be embarrassing. You fall, you are injured, and you blame yourself for being clumsy or not paying attention. However, many slip and fall accidents occur because someone was negligent. In other words, someone did or did not do something to make the place where you fell safe for you, and they owed you a duty to do so.
The difference between an accidental fall and negligence is compensation for your injuries and other damages. You will incur medical bills and may lose your income if you can’t work because of your injuries. If someone’s negligence led to your injuries, they are financially responsible for compensating you for your damages.
If you think someone breached their duty to make the premises safe for you, we should talk. At Hess Law LLC, I bring more than 36 years of experience to clients pursuing premises liability claims in Wichita, Kansas, and throughout Sedgewick County.
What Does Premises Liability Mean?
Premises liability is a property owner’s responsibility to maintain safe conditions for visitors to protect them from injury. It’s a broad area of personal injury law that includes unsafe conditions ranging from those that result in slips and falls, trips and falls, drownings, dog bites, building failures, and criminal activity.
As is true with most personal injury claims in Kansas, you have two years from the date of injury (or date of death from the injury in a wrongful death claim) to sue the party responsible for keeping the premises safe from dangerous conditions. Wait too long and you forfeit your right to recover damages under the law. With such a brief statute of limitations, it is wise to consult a slip and fall attorney right away.
Who Is Liable?
In most premises liability cases, the owner of the property where the injury occurred or the person responsible for maintaining it is liable for damages. This could be the property owner or a homeowner. It could be the owner of a business, even if the business leases the property.
If the slip and fall occurs on public property (such as a courthouse, park, or library), the liable party may be the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the property. There are often challenges in liability claims against governmental entities, including immunity issues and shorter statutes of limitations.
You could also be at fault, entirely or partially, if you were careless or reckless. If, for example, you walked quickly into a bathroom where a wet floor sign was clearly posted and you slipped and fell, you are responsible. If you were looking at your mobile phone when you slipped on an icy walkway and fell, you may be partially responsible.
Most property and business owners maintain liability insurance to indemnify them against such claims. However, no one, including the insurance company, is going to simply compensate you without a fight. It is the responsibility of you and your personal injury attorney to prove fault.
How Do I Prove Fault?
To prove liability, you will first need to establish the party or parties at fault and that they owed you a duty of care from unsafe premises. Then, you need to prove the party caused the condition that led to your slip and fall or that they failed to maintain the property in such a manner as to prohibit the unsafe condition from occurring.
If the owner knew about the condition and did not fix it, you will need evidence of the failure. Of course, many parties will claim they were unaware of the hazard and therefore are not liable. However, they can be held liable for any conditions that a reasonable person would have known to be hazardous, even if they claim they did not.
Finally, once you establish the party owed you a duty of care and breached that duty, you must prove the breach caused you to slip and fall, causing you injuries that resulted in medical expenses and other damages.
What If I Am Partially to Blame?
Kansas recognizes comparative fault, which means that so long as you are less than 50% at fault for the slip and fall, you can still recover damages from the party with greater liability. That said, your recovery will be decreased by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Using the previous example that you were on the phone when you slipped and fell on ice outside a business: if a jury assigns you 30% fault for not paying attention, any compensation award would be reduced by 30%. If you were awarded $100,000 in damages, you would receive $70,000.
Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Serving Sedgewick County, Kansas
A property owner’s duty of care is vital to the safety of visitors. Sometimes, they fail that duty and you pay the price. I can help you hold them to their responsibility so you can recover compensation. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Wichita or throughout Sedgewick County, Kansas, call Hess Law LLC today to schedule a free case consultation.