If you slipped and fell in a grocery store or mall, you could have to sue the business owner for the medical bills and lost wages you incurred because of your injuries. Basically, you would need to prove that an unsafe condition existed on the property that caused your fall and that the condition could have been prevented by the business owner. But proving your case is not all you would have to do to win your case. You could also have to defend against the business owner’s defenses. Two main defenses are often claimed in these lawsuits.
Comparative Negligence in Nevada
A common defense business owners often claim is that the slip and fall victim contributed to the fall by his own negligence. Under Nevada’s comparative defense doctrine, a person’s case could be affected in one of these ways:
- If the person is found to be over 50 percent at fault in causing the fall, he is not entitled to any compensation.
- If a person is found to be 50 percent or less at fault in causing the accident, his compensation would be reduced by the percentage he is found to be at fault. For example, if a person is found to be 20 percent at fault in causing his fall, he would be entitled to 80 percent of the damages he proves he is entitled to.
Obvious Condition Defense
Property and business owners often argue that they are not responsible for a patron’s fall because the problem that caused the fall was obvious. However, in 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court decided Foster v. Costco, shedding light on the property and business owners’ liability in this situation. In this situation, the customer tripped on a wooden pallet in an aisle that was covered by a slightly turned box. Key findings of this case are:
- Land and business owners in Nevada have a duty to keep people entering the property safe, even if a dangerous condition is open and obvious.
- This duty is to be evaluated in light of whether the land or business owner should have had reason to suspect the person would have proceeded despite knowing of the danger.
- The entrant’s actions must also be evaluated to see if he exercised reasonable care when he encountered the dangerous condition.
The Court concluded that a jury might find Costco liable for the customer’s injuries if it allowed the dangerous condition to exist. This case could be helpful to slip and fall victims because it could make it harder for land and business owners to argue they are not responsible for obvious conditions on their property.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you need an experienced slip and fall attorney. We are here to help you understand your legal options, the legal and settlement process, and the defenses the business owner could claim. Check out our case results to learn how we have helped people like you.