Can You Recover Slip and Fall Damages if You’re at Fault?

We’re always reminded of the dangers of texting while driving. But what about the dangers of texting while walking? Given the fact that many of us are attached to a phone screen at any given moment, you could find yourself suffering a slip and fall injury when you’re paying more attention to your phone screen than walking at the hardware store. If this happens to you, you might be reluctant to file a personal injury lawsuit because you feel guilty about your part of the accident. You may be uncertain as to how that affects your claim: You wonder if you can recover slip and fall damages if you’re at fault. Be assured that New York law does allow plaintiffs to recover compensation from a defendant if the plaintiffs carry some blame for the injury.   

Not every personal injury case in New York is based strictly on the wrongdoing of the defendant. Sometimes there is shared fault to go around, with the plaintiff also contributing to their injury because of their own actions. When this occurs, the plaintiff’s role has to be considered when it comes to how much money they will be awarded. 

Pure Comparative Negligence

State law determines how the role of the plaintiff’s fault contributed to their injury. While some states completely forbid victims from receiving compensation (pure contributory negligence) if they are even one percent responsible for their slip and fall accident, New York is one of about a dozen states that uses a pure comparative fault negligence standard.  

This means that even if you do share some fault in the accident that you can still recover damages. In personal injury cases, including slip and fall cases, the amount that you will receive will be deducted by an amount that reflects the percentage of your fault. 

For instance, suppose you are clothes shopping, and you slip on spilled perfume that had been on the floor for hours. The store owner blames you for the accident. At trial, their defense is claimed in part on the basis that the reason for your fall is that you were watching videos on your phone, and your injury was not due to the spilled perfume. 

The jury determines that your total damages are $200,000, and you were considered to be 10 percent at fault, then $20,000 would be taken out of your award, leaving you with the remaining $180,000 in damages.  

In scenarios like the mentioned example, even if the case does not go to trial, the defendants will argue that the plaintiff contributed to their own injuries. It will help to have an attorney to show an accurate presentation of the facts. 

Get a PI Attorney’s Help for Slip/Fall Cases When You’re at Fault 

If you were distracted by your cell phone, eating food, or running around with your shoelaces untied, it doesn’t mean that you can’t recover damages from your slip and fall accident. However, it does mean that your recovery will be reduced in proportion to your fault. You will want to have an experienced attorney to help fight for you to get a lower percentage of fault. Fortunately, you can find this in one of our skilled MOWK Law New York personal injury attorneys. Contact us today for the next steps.