Slip and fall accidents can lead to minor injuries like sprains or bruises, but can also result in serious conditions such as head injuries, broken hips, or spines. In this blog post, we will delve into the legal aspects related to slip and fall accidents in North Carolina.
Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident refers to a situation where an individual slips, trips, or falls due to unsafe or hazardous conditions present on another person’s property. It’s a common type of personal injury case. These accidents can be caused by things like:
- Wet or uneven surfaces
- Poor lighting
- Cluttered walkways
- Defective sidewalks or stairs
- Exposed cables or wires
Proving a Slip and Fall Case
Slip and fall accident cases revolve around the concept of “premises liability.” This refers to a property owner’s legal responsibility for accidents and injuries that occur on their property.
In a slip and fall case, the injured person (the “plaintiff”) must prove that the property owner (the “defendant”) was negligent. This means showing that:
- You were legally on the property and the property owner had a responsibility to ensure your safety.
- A hazardous situation existed on the property.
- The property owner was or should have been aware of the hazardous situation and its potential to cause harm.
- The property owner failed to take appropriate measures to rectify the situation or provide a warning about it.
- You suffered injuries as a direct result of the hazardous situation.
- You incurred financial losses due to your injuries, such as medical expenses, loss of earnings, or other damages that can be legally recovered.
North Carolina Slip and Fall Laws
The laws surrounding slip and fall accidents in North Carolina can be complex. Here are some crucial aspects to know.
Contributory Negligence Rule
North Carolina’s contributory negligence law makes the situation more complicated than it might be in another state.
North Carolina follows a pure contributory negligence standard. You can only recover damages for an injury if the court finds that you didn’t contribute to any portion of the injury. This rule is strictly applied in most personal injury cases, including slip-and-fall accidents.
If you play a role in causing an accident, your ability to receive compensation from a liability claim may be compromised. Any disputes regarding negligence might ultimately need to be settled in a court of law. The rule of thumb is simple: if the plaintiff is even 1% at fault for an accident in the state of North Carolina, then they may not recover damages.
Deadline to Sue for a Slip and Fall Accident
According to North Carolina General Statutes section 1-52, a civil lawsuit for “any injury to the person or rights of another” must be filed within three years. This statute of limitations applies to the vast majority of slip and fall lawsuits in North Carolina.
Slip and Fall Accidents in the Workplace
Under North Carolina law, you are generally barred from filing a lawsuit against your employer following a workplace accident that led to injury. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if your employer neglected to secure the mandatory workers’ compensation insurance, you may have the right to initiate a civil lawsuit against them.
Legal Steps after a Slip, Trip, or Fall
If you’ve been injured in a slip, trip, or fall on someone’s property, it’s important to take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention: This creates written documentation of the incident that may be useful to you down the line.
- Report your injury to the property owner: This is crucial for filing a personal injury claim.
- Photograph your injuries and the area where the injuries took place: This can provide evidence for your claim.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer: A lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve. Most cases are resolved through a settlement, but your attorney will be prepared to represent you in court if necessary.
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, contact our Charlotte personal injury lawyers today. We will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the compensation you deserve.