Comparative Negligence and Your Slip and Fall Lawsuit

Slip and fall accidents can have serious repercussions for everyone involved. For civil cases, New York state uses the concept of “pure comparative negligence.” Understanding comparative negligence is crucial for both plaintiffs and defendants involved in a slip and fall lawsuit, since both parties can receive damages, even if they are primarily at fault.

What are Slip and Fall Accidents?

A slip and fall accident, also known as a trip and fall accident, occurs when an individual loses their footing and falls due to hazardous conditions on another party’s property. In New York, property owners have a duty to maintain safe conditions on their premises to prevent foreseeable harm to visitors and guests — if they do not, you may be able to file a slip and fall lawsuit.


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Slip and fall accidents can happen in various settings and under a range of circumstances. Some common causes of a slip and fall lawsuit include:

Wet or Slippery Surfaces: Spills, leaks, or recently mopped floors can create slippery conditions that increase the risk of slip and fall accidents.

Uneven Surfaces: Cracked sidewalks, uneven flooring, or poorly maintained walking surfaces can pose tripping hazards for pedestrians.

Lack of Proper Lighting: Inadequate lighting in stairwells, hallways, or outdoor areas can obscure hazards and contribute to slip and fall accidents, especially in low-light conditions.

Defective Stairs or Handrails: Broken or poorly maintained stairs, missing handrails, or loose railing can lead to falls on staircases.

Obstructed Walkways: Cluttered aisles, debris, or obstacles blocking pathways can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents, particularly in retail stores or public spaces.

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To establish liability in a slip and fall case, the injured party must typically prove that:

– The property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition.

– The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to address or warn about the hazard.

– The hazardous condition directly caused the slip and fall accident and resulting injuries.

Slip and fall accidents in New York state can have serious consequences for victims, ranging from physical injuries to financial hardships. Understanding the definition of slip and fall accidents, common causes, and legal considerations is essential for individuals who have been injured in such incidents — and for those seeking to prevent them. 

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What Damages can be Awarded in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

Understanding the types of damages that may be awarded in slip and fall accident cases is essential for both injured individuals seeking compensation and defendants facing liability claims. Victims of slip and fall accidents may be entitled to numerous damages, including:

Medical Expenses: One of the primary types of damages awarded in slip and fall accident cases is compensation for medical expenses. This includes reimbursement for all reasonable and necessary medical treatments and expenses related to the injuries sustained in the accident, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgery costs, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy.

Lost Income and Earning Capacity: Injured individuals may be entitled to compensation for lost income and earning capacity resulting from their slip and fall injuries. This includes wages lost due to missed work during recovery, as well as any future earning capacity that may be diminished due to long-term or permanent disabilities resulting from the accident.

Pain and Suffering: Victims of slip and fall accidents may be awarded damages for pain and suffering endured as a result of their injuries. Pain and suffering damages encompass physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic losses experienced by the victim due to the accident and resulting injuries.

Disability and Disfigurement: If the slip and fall accident results in permanent disabilities or disfigurement, the victim may be entitled to compensation for these lasting impairments. Damages for disability and disfigurement aim to provide financial support for the victim’s ongoing challenges, limitations, and changes in quality of life resulting from the accident.

Property Damage: In some slip and fall accident cases, the victim’s personal property, such as clothing, electronic devices, or other belongings, may be damaged as a direct result of the accident. Compensation for property damage can help the victim repair or replace damaged items.

Punitive Damages: In rare cases involving extreme negligence or intentional misconduct by the defendant, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar misconduct in the future, rather than compensate the victim for their losses.

Fighting for You

Slip and fall accidents can have serious and far-reaching consequences for victims, including physical injuries, financial losses, and emotional distress. Because of New York’s pure comparative negligence rule, both plaintiffs and defendants can benefit from hiring experienced personal injury lawyers to advocate for their slip and fall lawsuit.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident, The Nicotra Law Firm, PC is here to guide you through the process and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our commitment to your well-being starts from the moment you reach out — contact us today.