What Is Involved in Proving a Slip and Fall Case?
If you are injured on someone else’s property in Nevada, a slip and fall attorney must prove several things for your case to have a chance of succeeding. These elements are:
Does the Defendant Own or Control the Property Where You Were Injured?
The defendant does not necessarily need to own the property. If they ‘control’ the property by way of lease or deed, they may still be liable.
Were You Allowed on the Property?
Entering a store or other business obligates the defendant to regularly inspect the property and take the highest degree of action to ensure your safety. However, if you stop by a friend’s private residence, that friend does not need to have regular inspections of the property. That friend would only be required to warn you if there were potential dangers on the property.
Was There an Unsafe Condition on the Premises?
You would need to prove there was something dangerous or unsafe on the property. You would also need to supply proof in the form of videos, photographs, or sworn testimony from witnesses.
Some of these dangers could include exposed electrical wiring, uneven flooring, wet or slippery floors, or parts of the building that were not up to local code standards.
Did the Defendant Know About the Dangers?
Some conditions are described as “open and obvious.” These conditions are harder for the defendant to deny knowledge of their existence. Other dangers are hidden or obscure.
Did the Dangerous Condition Cause You to Get Hurt?
Part of a successful case is obtaining proof that your injuries were caused by the harmful conditions on the premises. You’ll need photographs, videos, or witness testimony to show the dangerous conditions that caused you to get hurt.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability law involves a property owner’s responsibility to take reasonable actions to keep their property free of potential dangers. Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent their visitors and patrons from being harmed, and if they fail to do so, they can be held liable through a premises liability claim for any injuries that resulted.
Standards for Premises Liability in Nevada
There are several factors to consider when bringing a premises liability claim in Nevada. Some of them include:
- Property owners are responsible for the safety of people entering their building or land.
- Property owners are not automatically liable for all injuries that happen on their premises. Other parties may be found liable.
- Liability comes down to whether the owner acted unreasonably.
- People entering the property can be considered guests, invitees, or trespassers.
- If you are injured while on someone else’s property, it’s your responsibility to prove the property owner was negligent.
As with other forms of personal injury, you may qualify to receive compensatory damages. These damages include both financial loss and pain and suffering. If you were the victim of intended or malicious harm, you might qualify for punitive damages. Nevada’s comparative negligence law (NRS 41.141) would also apply, which means that your potential settlement could be reduced by your percentage of partial fault for the injury.
What Are the Different Standards for Different Entrants on a Property?
A property owner’s responsibility for the safety of those entering their premises depends on what kind of person is visiting. This is determined by the visitor’s intent.
Business owners have the highest degree of duty to customers entering their property. They have a significant (but lesser) degree of duty to protect visitors who have mutual benefit for coming onto their premises. While trespassers aren’t invited and technically should not be on the property, the owner does have a certain duty to keep them safe. However, it’s far less than for a customer or someone invited to their premises.
Below are further ways these responsibilities of care are broken down.
- Was the Visitor a Business Invitee?
As mentioned above, business owners must extend the highest degree of care to people entering their property to buy goods or services. The owner must conduct regular inspections of the property. They are required to fix any possible dangers, be on the lookout for potential hazards, and take care of them quickly.
- Was the Visitor There for Mutual Benefit?
If someone visits another person’s property for their mutual benefit, the law classifies them as a licensee. If you visit your friend’s house to watch a football game, you are a licensee.
Owners have an obligation to warn guests about possible dangers. They also have what’s called “reasonable time” to discover any potential hazards. Guests should also avoid any obvious hazards.
- Was the Visitor a Trespasser?
While a property owner only owes a small amount of duty for the safety of trespassers, they are still restricted in certain matters. Property owners can’t set a trap to physically harm a trespasser. However, children who trespass onto someone else’s property fall into their own category.
- Was the Trespasser a Child?
Despite being trespassers, children who are on a property without the owner’s permission are nonetheless entitled to a higher degree of duty of care by property owners. Children may be tempted by what’s called an “attractive nuisance.” Swimming pools and other temptations may draw the unintended attention of a child, resulting in their injury.
Property owners’ degree of duty to protect children from trespassers include:
- Did the owner know kids may trespass on their property?
- Was there a risk of death or grave injury to children by the nuisance?
- Were the children too young to understand the potential danger of the nuisance?
- Did the owner fail to protect children from the hazard?
Can My Employer Be Responsible for a Slip and Fall at Work?
You cannot hold your employer liable for a slip and fall at work. In most cases, you will only be able to recover workers’ compensation benefits. Under workers’ compensation laws, employees receive compensation benefits for giving up their right to sue.
You May Be Able to Sue a Third Party
If a third party caused or contributed to your workplace slip and fall, you could sue that party for your injuries and other losses. For example, if you tripped and fell down the stairs because of a broken handrail, you may be able to sue the property manager of your office building.
Other third parties may include:
- A manufacturer
- Another construction company or contractor on site, if you were injured on a job site.
An attorney from our firm can help you determine whether a third party may be liable for your workplace slip and fall.
Can My Landlord Be Responsible for a Slip and Fall?
Yes, your landlord can be responsible for a slip and fall. To hold your landlord responsible for your slip or trip and fall, you need to establish the following:
- Your landlord knew or should have known, of the existence of a hazard on the property. For example, your landlord is responsible for fixing broken handrails on the property. They may have noticed the handrail on the stairs next to your apartment was very loose.
- Your landlord did nothing to remedy or warn you of the hazard. While your landlord knew the handrail was loose, they did not fix the handrail or place signage in the area.
- The dangerous condition caused you to suffer the injury and other damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. For example, you may have been walking down the stairs when the railing came off the wall. You fell down the stairs and suffered a traumatic brain injury. You now have medical bills and cannot work.
Your landlord is not always responsible for a slip and fall. If your own negligence caused your injuries, or if you were responsible for maintaining the area your slip and fall occurred in, you may be liable for your own injuries.
Our team can help you determine if your landlord is liable for your injuries.
What If I Lost Wages Due to My Injury?
If your injury caused you to lose wages, you can recover compensation. You can recover any of the following:
- Any time you took off to recover from your injuries
- Any time you were unable to work due to the pain from your injuries
- Any time you took off for doctor’s appointments
You can also recover compensation if your injuries will cost you money in the future. For example, if you work in a factory that requires you to stand for long periods of time, an injury can keep you from doing that. You may need to work fewer hours or get another job that pays less. You can recover the difference in pay.
You can also recover compensation if your injuries take away your ability to work. If you are self-employed, you can still recover compensation; however, those losses may be more difficult to calculate. Our team will help you determine what you can recover for lost wages.