Oklahoma Slip and Fall Lawyer Cites Laws on Negligence of Business Establishments and Compensation
Slips and falls can cause injuries ranging from mild sprains to head injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI). Uneven flooring, damaged carpet, poor lighting, and wet floors can cause people to slip and fall. Some people assume they are at fault when they slip in business establishments, especially when they’re distracted. However, owners can still be liable for the repercussions of your accident.
An Oklahoma slip and fall lawyer explains the state laws on negligence, plus the kinds and limits of compensation you can obtain, depending on the extent and effects of your injuries.
Oklahoma’s Concept of Comparative Negligence
The legal theory of negligence asserts that a person is negligent if he or she violates a duty owed to another. In Oklahoma, negligence is not merely attributable to the defendant, as it applies to the concept of contributory or comparative negligence. If the plaintiff has partially caused the injury to himself, damages will then be decreased in accordance to the percentage of blame.
As an example, if you are awarded damages of $100,000, but the court finds you 30 percent at fault for your accident, such as using your cellular phone while descending slippery stairs, you might receive only $70,000. Comparative negligence divides the responsibility for the injuries and ensures proper accountability for involved parties. As long as you are less negligent than the defendant, you can collect damages.
To gain compensation due to the negligence of the owner and/or his or her employees who are in charge of the premises’ safety and cleanliness, your attorney must prove three critical elements.
First, you must prove the owner or an employee is responsible for the spill, the unmaintained area, the slippery surface, or the hazardous item. Second, you must prove the defendants knew of these hazards, but failed to act to prevent them. Third, you must prove they knew of the danger because a “reasonable” individual who maintained the area would have known about it and removed or cleaned the hazard.
Perhaps the most compelling example of a suit involving a slip and fall is the case of Wood v. Mercedes-Benz of Oklahoma City, wherein a caterer slipped within the premises of her client’s business. The sidewalk was obviously slippery, but the State Supreme Court held the dealer liable because it knew about the caterer’s planned arrival beforehand and still decided to use the sprinkler.
Kinds of Compensation from Slip and Fall Claims
If you suffer injuries after falling, the defendant may be liable for two kinds of compensation. Economic damages pertain to those that can be computed through records and commonly include medical costs, loss of wages and other earnings, as well as damage to personal property.
If the slip caused a brain injury and related medical costs, the owner may pay economic damages. Likewise, if your laptop was damaged during the fall, this can be included as injury to your personal property. No cap exists for economic damages because such costs can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly if long-term or permanent disability is involved.
Non-economic damages commonly pertain to pain and suffering, but can also include emotional distress due to embarrassment and anxiety. Oklahoma places limits only on non-economic damages. For civil injury cases, the cap for non-economic damages is $350,000.
Oklahoma’s statute of limitations addresses the efficiency of filing suits and the integrity of the evidence. You should file your claim within two years from the moment of the injury. Beyond two years, you can no longer sue the business establishment and will lose your chance to gain just compensation.
Business owners are obligated to provide a safe place for anyone occupying their premises, whether they are employees, visitors, suppliers, or customers. Once you’ve slipped or tripped in said area, and you believe the owner to be negligent, contact a reliable and experienced lawyer for assistance. Slip and fall lawyers know how to negotiate the settlement you deserve as well as how to navigate the court proceedings.
Controversial Slip-And-Fall Case in Oklahoma City Increases Business Owners’ Exposure, NewsOK.com
Oklahoma Car Accident Compensation Laws, StateLaws.FindLaw.com
Oklahoma Civil Statute of Limitations Laws, StateLaws.FindLaw.com
Oklahoma Negligence Laws, StateLaws.FindLaw.com