How Can I Hold Someone Liable for a Slip and Fall in Kentucky?
Slip and fall accidents come under the personal injury category referred to as “premises liability.” Premises liability holds those responsible for maintaining a safe property liable for damages when they fail to maintain a safe premises.
Some examples of premises liability include a store that fails to post a warning sign near a wet floor, and you slip and fall as a result. A homeowner does not repair a loose stair railing, so when you grab it to steady yourself while ascending stairs, you slip and fall. A business fails to secure a sign above an aisle, and it falls, striking your head and shoulders.
If you are injured in a slip and fall or other premises accident in Kentucky, you have only one year to either settle a claim or file a civil lawsuit against the liable party.
Who Can I Hold Liable for a Slip and Fall?
Who is liable for the neglect that led to your slip and fall will depend on the circumstances. If you were trespassing, you cannot hold the person responsible for maintaining a safe premises liable for your damages. One exception is if the trespasser was a child. Kentucky’s attractive nuisance doctrine can hold the party responsible if the property had something that attracted the child, for example, a swimming pool or a dog.
You can hold a homeowner or property owner liable if they were responsible for maintaining a safe property. You can also hold a business owner liable, even if they do not own the property. So long as they are responsible for maintaining it’s safety, they are liable for any neglect that led to your injuries.
Government entities can be held liable if they failed to properly maintain safe premises. For example, if that loose stair railing is located at city hall instead of someone’s private home, the city could be responsible for your damages.
Keep in mind that you can be fully or partially responsible because you owe a duty of care as well. If you fall while running around the wet deck of the municipal swimming pool, that will likely be your fault entirely, as will running down a store aisle where wet floor warning signs are posted. In other cases, you and the property owner share the blame, and therefore liability, under Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence rule.
How Do You Prove Who Was at Fault?
To prove fault in Kentucky, you must prove that the owner caused or knew of the condition that led to your slip and fall. You must prove the owner failed to repair or warn of the condition, and that the owner should have known, using standards of reasonable people, that the condition was dangerous. Then, you must prove your injuries resulted from the fall caused by the unsafe conditions and that you incurred damages, such as medical expenses or lost wages, as a result of those injuries.
What If I Share the Blame?
Kentucky applies a pure comparative fault rule to personal injury claims. What that means is that even if you share fault for your injuries, you can still sue the property owner. Your financial recovery, however, will be reduced by your share of fault.
For example, you rush into a convenience store while wearing flip-flops with no tread. You slip and fall on an ice cube and injure yourself. The store owner knew the ice machine tended to drop extra ice on the floor. The owner also should have reasonably known that someone could slip and fall on the ice if the owner failed to warn of the hazard or repair it.
You knew your flip-flops were slick, you were in a hurry, and that there might be slick substances near the drink station. If you are found to be 40% at fault and the store owner 60% at fault, the settlement or jury award will be reduced by your 40% of fault. So, if your damages are $30,000, your recovery would be $18,000.