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Determining liability in slip-and-fall cases is not always clear

Someone spills a drink on the tile floor of a grocery store and you walk right into the puddle of liquid without noticing it. Or maybe a staircase you take after leaving your doctor's visit is poorly lit and you slip and fall all the way down a full flight of stairs. If you suffer injuries in one of these types of instances, you may want to hold the property's owner liable for your mounting medical costs and lost wages.

Property owners are understood to assume certain risks when they decide to make their facility accessible to others. One of the responsibilities they assume is keeping their premises safe. They're also responsible for taking reasonable precautions to ensure that safety hazards are minimized.

When making decisions about liability, judges will often instruct jurors to carefully weigh actions the property owner did or didn't take. Juries will be asked to consider whether the property owner could have taken preventative care and, if so, how that could have prevented the victim from having an accident.

In order to understand the aforementioned concept, let's look at the example of a roof leak that causes water to puddle at a certain place on the floor. If it can be proven that the property owner knew about the accumulation of water, yet failed to make necessary repairs to address it, then the victim can likely hold them liable for injuries that he or she suffered.

In the alternative, if you fall and hurt yourself because you didn't notice a warning sign or due to your own clumsiness or carelessness, then the jury deciding liability in your case may be instructed to hold you at least partially liable for your injuries. The idea splitting the blame for an incident between a plaintiff and a defendant is a concept known as comparative negligence.

The decision as to how negligent one party is versus another rests in the hands of a jury or judge to decide.

Proving negligence in a slip-and-fall case generally starts with a careful analysis of the events leading up to and when the incident occurred. Because it's so complex to prove, you should only entrust the handling of your case to a Los Lunas premises liability attorney experienced with trying such cases at trial.

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The Law Firm of David C. Chavez, LLC
651 Highway 314 SW
P.O. Box 1615
Los Lunas, NM 87031

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