Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall
With North Carolina’s harsh rules on contributory negligence, slip and fall and trip and fall premises liability claims are difficult to win. These claims are rarely settled out of court, and it is extremely important that you have an experienced premises liability attorney on your side to help you with your slip and fall or trip and fall case. Having knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel can help you prevail in a slip and fall or trip and fall case in North Carolina. Attorney Robert Rouse has proven successful at winning these cases despite very difficult facts many times.
Under North Carolina’s outdated and unfair contributory negligence law, the premises owner or business owner where you slipped or tripped will essentially argue that even though they might have been negligent, you should be barred from recovering damages because you were also negligent in that you did not see the unsafe condition or failed to look where you were walking or stepping and should have been more aware. If the premises owner can convince a jury that you were also negligent (hence the term “contributory negligence”), the law says you do not recover any money for your damages.
In addition to the contributory negligence hurdle to overcome in premises liability cases like slip and falls and trip and falls, North Carolina law also requires the Defendant (the land owner or premises owner) to be on notice of the hazardous condition in order to impute liability to him or her. Essentially, in order to be responsible, a homeowner or business owner must know or they should have known that there was a dangerous condition and should have either remedied the hazardous condition or warned of it. For example: you are shopping at a grocery store and slip on a substance on the floor. Let’s assume the substance was a clear liquid and you could not see it even if you were paying very close attention. The law says that the grocery store would have had to have sufficient time to notice the problem and to remedy the problem or warn of it. So, if it could be proven that the substance was just spilled on the floor, and employees were not on notice and/or did not have time to mop it up, the grocery store will most likely not be found to be negligent since they did not have sufficient opportunity to remedy the unsafe condition. However, if the person who fell can prove that someone had told employees there was a spill, and employees did not take sufficient action to clean up the unsafe condition or warn of it, there would likely be a basis for a claim. Very often, this evidence reveals itself immediately after a trip and fall or slip and fall when employees or other people come to render aid and make statements in the presence of the person that fell. As such, if you have been a victim of a trip and fall or slip and fall, it is very important to get the full names of everyone who witnessed the event and everyone with whom you spoke at the scene.
Hiring an experienced attorney very early following your fall can help to preserve critical evidence necessary to win your case. For example, if you slipped or fell at a business, there is likely an incident report and perhaps even surveillance footage. Many times surveillance video footage will show just how open and obvious the condition was, which can help to get around the contributory negligence argument. Also, given the nature of the hazardous condition and whether it still exists, our attorneys will often visit the site to get photographs, take measurements, and gather additional evidence and will call in experts if the case warrants it. The sooner our attorneys are able to gather critical evidence, the easier it is to prove your case.
If you have been injured in a trip and fall or slip and fall case, contact our Greenville, NC trip and fall attorney or Morehead City, NC trip and fall attorney today for your free, no obligation consultation.