You could suffer serious injuries or death in a slip and fall accident. While the liability of the property owner or business may be clear cut to you, their insurance company could raise defenses to deny your claim or try to pay you less than you're entitled to under Kansas or Missouri law.
Our experienced slip and fall accident attorneys can not only identify the likely defenses used in your case, but also implement strategies to defeat them. Here are three common defenses we encounter in these cases.
Open and Obvious
One of the most prevailing defenses raised by property or business owners or their insurance companies is the victim should have seen or known of the dangerous condition and taken steps to avoid it. Whether an individual is expected to see the hazard is based on what a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.
However, this defense can be defeated. For example, a negligent party can still be held liable if knowledge of danger wasn't sufficient to avoid the risk of harm; or the dangerous condition was caused by the owner’s direct wrongdoing, such as violation of building codes.
Lack of Notice
In order to be responsible for a victim’s injuries, the potentially-liable party must know of the hazard. A common defense is the property manager or owner had no knowledge of danger before the slip and fall accident.
However, individuals responsible for property and building maintenance are required by law to conduct reasonable inspections of their premises. They may be found to have constructive notice of the dangerous condition if they failed to inspect, or the condition existed for a period of time without attempts at resolution.
Another defense insurance companies use is that the victim was partially at fault for causing the slip and fall accident, and should receive less compensation because of this. Missouri and Kansas follow different comparative negligence doctrines. Here's how comparative negligence works in both states:
- Missouri follows the pure comparative negligence doctrine, which provides that a victim has a right to some compensation no matter how much he was at fault in causing his injuries. The amount he receives would be reduced by his percentage of fault. For example, if he were found 40 percent to blame, he would be entitled to 60 percent of his damages.
- In Kansas, the modified comparative negligence doctrine prohibits a victim who was 50 percent or more at fault from receiving any compensation. If he was 49 percent or less to blame, damages are reduced by his percentage of fault, similar to Missouri law.
Have You Been Injured In a Slip And Fall Accident?
If so, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.