Employers must protect their employees from injury in the workplace. For example, employers must keep office plumbing in good condition or else it might leak and create a severe risk for slip and fall injuries. Anyone who suffers from injuries after slipping and falling in the workplace may be able to pursue a lawsuit against their employer for damage compensation.
Fault in Slip and Fall Cases Can Be Complex
Slip and fall cases in the workplace often have complex liability issues. For example, the employer must have known about the problem that contributed to the slip and fall. If nobody brought the conditions to the attention of the employer, a judge would not hold them liable for the accident.
The plaintiff must also show that the employer not only knew about the dangerous condition, but also that the employer choose not to fix the situation. For example, an employer's failure to fix a leaking pipe would cause a dangerous amount of water on a floor that could very quickly cause a slip and fall accident.
Negligence by an Employer is Necessary
Plaintiffs pursuing a slip and fall case must have evidence that shows their employer was negligent and that this negligent caused their slip and fall. For example, if the plaintiff slipped and fell on water leaking from a pipe, the plaintiff must show that the defendant knew that the pipe was leaking and that they took no steps to stop it from leaking.
Types of evidence necessary for this case can include written requests - including e-mails - to the employer requesting repairs. Employer knowledge of the leak - and a subsequent failure to fix it -qualify as negligent actions. However, not every instance will qualify as employer negligence.
For example, newly developed problems, such as sudden leaks, that haven't been brought to the employer's attention yet do not count as careless, as the employer has not had time to address the issue. In fact, a judge may rule that the person who slipped and fell was negligent because they did not warn the employer about the slippery area.
Comparative Negligence May Complicate a Case
Employers facing a slip and fall lawsuit often use a comparative negligence defense to complicate the case. Comparative negligence states that the person who fell also behaved negligently. For example, the defense may argue that the person who slipped and fell knew that the area was slippery but walked over it anyway.
The idea behind this defense is that the employer wasn't solely responsible. When the defense uses this argument, the judge will calculate how much the plaintiff's careless actions contributed to the injury. For example, if the judge finds that a person's negligence was 25 percent responsible for the action, the judge will decrease their award by 25 percent.
However, plaintiffs may also run up against contributory negligence in some states. Though increasingly rare across the nation, contributory negligence is a much harsher doctrine than comparative negligence. For example, if the judge in a state with contributory negligence finds that a person was even one percent negligent for their slip and fall, the plaintiff will receive no awards.
Thankfully, only a handful of states still have contributory negligence as a defense option. Most states believe that it is too harsh and unfair to plaintiffs. Make sure to check with your personal injury lawyer to check if your state allows this type of defense.
Help Is Available
Anyone who has experienced a slip and fall case in their office needs legal help to improve their chances of winning. Without professional help, individuals who suffered a slip and fall will have a hard time proving that their employers were negligent. Don't hesitate to contact Hernandez Law Offices to learn more about slip and fall cases and your rights as an employee.