Slip and fall accidents are a prevalent cause of personal injury lawsuits in the United States. Despite often being perceived as minor incidents, they can result in severe injuries that require medical treatment and cause significant financial burdens. Such accidents occurring on someone else’s property often lead to legal disputes over who is liable for the injury.
In such cases, the property owner or occupier’s legal responsibility hinges on whether they acted negligently or carelessly. It is essential for personal injury victims to comprehend the distinction between negligence and carelessness, as the right terminology can significantly impact the outcome of a case.
Negligence Versus Carelessness
The distinction between these two words actually depends in which party of the claim you are talking about. Does it matter if the defendant was careless when creating the circumstances under which the accident occurred? No, it really does not. Whether the slip and fall accident conditions were created on purpose or by accident, the property owner could still be liable.
However, if the plaintiff was careless when the accident occurred, then that could change everything. For there to be a slip and fall claim, it must be shown that the conditions of the accident were created by the defendant. But if the plaintiff takes careless actions that result in them slipping and falling, then there might not be a personal injury claim at all.
What Is Negligence?
Simply put, negligence is any action taken or not taken that results in injury to another party. There can be negligence without intent, which is often confusing to defendants. For example, if a store owner is told that there is a dangerous spill on their sales floor, then it is the responsibility of the owner to have the spill taken care of as quickly as possible. If the spill sits for a while and someone slips and falls, then the store owner is most likely negligent.
But if the owner is never told about the spill and someone slips and falls, then the owner could still be negligent for the injuries despite the fact that they did not know about the spill. Property owners are responsible for the condition of their properties, and any building open to the public must be closely monitored for user safety. The store owner is unintentionally negligent by not keeping an eye on their property and noticing the spill in a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, being unintentionally negligent is often insufficient to get you out of a slip and fall claim.
How Does Carelessness Affect A Slip And Fall Case?
A careless property owner who does not properly maintain their property is almost asking for a slip and fall claim. A careless business patron who does not pay attention to what they are doing is on the path to becoming injured without compensation. Carelessness on the part of the plaintiff is often more of an issue in a slip and fall case than carelessness on the defendant’s part.
When people are using public property or visiting a private home, it is always prudent to be careful where they step and be mindful of any warning signs that are posted. A negligent property owner neglects to put up those warning signs or take the necessary steps to make their property safe. In the end, the combination of negligence and carelessness in any slip and fall case can be devastating to both sides.