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Understanding comparative fault in slip-and-fall accidents

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2023 | Personal Injury |

When you slip and fall due to another party’s negligence, you may be able to collect damages from the responsible party.

In personal injury cases, North Dakota’s comparative negligence law applies. Understanding this law can help you understand what happens after a slip-and-fall accident.

What is comparative negligence?

If you seek compensation for your injuries, the defendant may argue that your actions contributed to the accident.

Under a contributory negligence law, any fault on your part could prevent you from receiving compensation. However, because North Dakota has a comparative negligence law, you may collect damages as long as your fault is less than that of all other parties involved.

How can comparative negligence affect my case?

It is the defendant’s responsibility to provide evidence of comparative negligence. The defendant may argue that:

  • You were trespassing in a clearly off-limits area
  • You failed to notice prominent warning signs
  • You were wearing improper footwear for the terrain
  • You were behaving recklessly
  • You chose not to take available precautions, such as holding on to a railing

If the court finds that your negligence contributed to the fall but the defendant is more at fault, you can still collect damages. However, the court will quantify your contribution to the accident as a percentage and reduce your damages by that percentage.

Because of this, it is important to avoid admitting fault after a slip-and-fall accident. Even a token apology or an off-hand remark like “How clumsy of me” could work against you. Avoid making any statement that the defendant might use to demonstrate that you acted negligently.

Falls can cause serious injuries. If you are pursuing damages for slip-and-fall injuries, you should understand how North Dakota’s comparative fault law may affect your case.