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Slip and Fall Accidents: Who Is Responsible?

by on May 13, 2014

The term “slip and fall” may bring to mind a cartoon character slipping on a banana peel, but in fact falls are no laughing matter. In 2011, unintentional falls sent over 9 million people to the emergency room with injuries to the head, back, neck, shoulders, arms and legs.

If you fall and get hurt because someone else didn’t use proper care in maintaining a home, business, or other site, the property owner can be held responsible for your injuries. Because determining the cause of a fall can be difficult, the best way to ensure maximum recovery for your losses is to contact the Phoenix slip and fall lawyers at Wattel & York. We provide free case reviews for injury victims, laying out all your legal options and giving you an honest assessment of the merits of your case.

Who is responsible for a slip and fall?

A fall can happen on a poorly-lit staircase, a sand-covered sidewalk, or a shop floor whose owner fails to sweep on a regular basis. Sometimes a city government allows potholes to accumulate on the street without repair. Landscapers can neglect to collect grass cuttings from the pathways at a hotel. Busy restaurant managers can leave spilled liquids in the hallway leading to the restrooms.

In these and many other cases, chances are that the property owner is liable for any injuries you sustain as a result of a fall.

The important questions to ask in a slip and fall case are:

  1. Was the property owner or manager legally responsible for the area where the slip and fall occurred?
  2. Did the property owner know, or should s/he have known, that the hazardous condition was present?
  3. Did the slip and fall cause the injuries for which the victim is seeking compensation?

Slip and fall law in Arizona

In Arizona, a person injured in a fall may be able to recover for his or her losses even if the victim’s own actions contributed to the injury. For example, a person who tripped on a poorly-maintained sidewalk might be able to obtain compensation for a broken hip even though she was not wearing her glasses at the time of the incident; the glasses might have helped the victim see the damaged sidewalk, but the uneven paving was so extensive that the victim could not have avoided the hazard entirely.

In such circumstances, Arizona applies so-called “comparative fault” law. If both the injured party and the property owner bore some responsibility for the incident, the jury is required to reduce the damages awarded to the victim in proportion to the degree of the victim’s own fault.

In the example just discussed, if the victim’s broken hip cost her a total of $25,000 in medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses, the jury could award the victim $20,000 if it found that wearing glasses would have reduced the severity of her injury by 20%.

Arizona slip and fall attorneys

Complicated laws like “comparative fault” make it even more important that a victim contact a slip and fall lawyer with expertise in this field.

The personal injury attorneys at Wattel & York have over 50 years of combined experience helping Arizona residents who’ve been injured due to the negligence of others.  Our veteran legal team includes top-notch investigators, board-certified physicians, and support staff to obtain all the documents necessary for your case.

We encourage you to contact us for a free discussion of your legal options by calling 1-877-225-5562.

Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control, “National Estimates of the 10 Leading Causes of Nonfatal Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments, United States – 2011,” http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCI_Nonfatal_InjuryTreated_In_Hospital%20Emergency_Dept_2011-a.pdf
  2. Arizona Revised Statutes – Title 12 Courts and Civil Proceedings – Section 12-2505 “Comparative negligence; definition”, http://law.onecle.com/arizona/title-12/index.html

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