Kentucky Slip & Falls: Can You Recover When Warning Signs Were Posted?
Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries including head injuries and broken bones. They are especially prevalent among children and seniors. The likelihood of recovering compensation after a slip and fall accident generally depends on the specific facts of what led to the fall. The presence of a sign warning of a dangerous condition is one factor affecting a slip and fall claim, but by no means the only consideration when it comes to pursuing a recovery. You may still have a lawsuit after a slip and fall, even if a warning sign was present.
Property owners, especially commercial property owners, have a legal duty to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition for visitors and to post adequate warnings of property hazards that cannot be corrected immediately. If the property owner acts negligently in failing to correct the hazard in a timely fashion and to warn adequately of the hazard, the property owner may be held accountable.
A common example of a slip and fall injury case involves a shopper in a grocery store slipping on a wet floor due to a spill. Nearly everyone has seen a wet floor sign in a store, restaurant or hotel. A warning sign may be posted. But in some cases, the sign may not be in a prominent location close enough to the spill to serve as an adequate warning. If the warning sign is too small to be noticeable or placed improperly so that it is not clearly visible, the store owner may still be legally responsible for the accident. In such cases, the slip and fall accident victim may still have a valid injury claim even though a warning sign was posted.
Do You Have a Valid Slip and Fall Injury Claim?
A business may be liable for a slip and fall even though a warning sign was posted about a hazard.
Here is what an experienced Kentucky slip and fall injury attorney will look for when determining liability:
- What were the store conditions at the time the accident occurred?
- How long had the spill been on the floor, Did the spill occur 10 minutes earlier, or had it been on the floor for several hours unaddressed?
- Had the spill been on the floor long enough that store personnel should have discovered it during routine inspection of the premises, Had the store personnel had sufficient time to discover and correct the spill?
- How frequently did store employees inspect the premises?
- Was a wet floor sign required in the situation, What were the applicable wet floor sign requirements?
- Was the lighting poor, making the sign harder to see?
The key is to determine as much as possible by investigating what happened. The attorney will seek to gather photos or video footage that show the location of the accident and how the warning sign was located.
How a Warning Sign Affects Slip and Fall Claims
If a warning sign is present when an accident occurred, it must be taken into consideration by an individual considering a slip and fall claim. It is a complicating factor and can affect the outcome of the case.
The defense team will rely on the presence of the sign as evidence that the property owner has fulfilled his or her legal duty to warn visitors of the property hazard. The defense team will contend that the presence of the sign shows the property owner did not act negligently.
On the other hand, the attorney representing an accident victim will need to show that the sign, while posted, was wholly insufficient and did not serve as an adequate warning. Warning signs are inadequate if the typeface is unreadable, if the sign is too small or if the sign is located so that it is not clearly visible to individuals approaching the hazard area. The sign’s lack of visibility might have been why you stepped on the slippery spot and injured yourself.
Slip and fall accidents require a lawyer to look at everything surrounding the injury. That includes the conditions that were present at the time, lighting, whether appropriate warning signs were in place, whether the accident victim ignored the warning sign, and other details that show that someone else was negligent and should be held liable for your injuries.
Slip and Fall Injuries Cause Millions of Emergency Room Visits Every Year
Slip and fall injuries result in more than 2 million emergency room visits every year and often cause victims to suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and more. The common reasons for slip and fall injuries include:
- Changes in flooring surfaces
- Cracks in sidewalks or flooring
- Debris in sidewalks or flooring
- Dips or rises in the height of the floor
- Ice and snow
- Slippery or slick floors
- Stairs that have broken handrails
- Uneven pavement or gravel
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere including sidewalks, parking decks, in stores and in schools. Liability for a slip and fall accident can be challenging to prove.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact an experienced Kentucky premises liability lawyer to review the details of the accident and determine your legal options. You may be entitled to hold the property owner accountable for your fall injuries, even if a warning sign was present. After a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision about how to proceed.