Two Ways Walking While Distracted Can Hurt Your Slip And Fall Case
Cell phones have come a long way since their production in the seventies. Today, they could be classified as handheld computers rather than simple phones. Although they provide a lot of convenience, these devices can also cause a lot of trouble. If you slipped and fell while using your cell phone, here are two ways this fact can be used to hurt your chances of collecting compensation for your injuries.
Failure to Avoid Injury
Many times when people slip and fall, it's because of the negligence of others. Someone spills soda on the floor of a grocery store but the employees fail to clean it up in time, leading to a third person slipping and falling in the mess, for instance.
At the same time, people have a duty to prevent their own injuries. If you slip and fall because you were too distracted to take notice of your surroundings, the defendant may be able to successfully argue you missed the signs of danger. Going back to the previous example, if the soda spill was in the middle of the lane and presented a clear and obvious hazard that you didn't pay attention to because you were playing video games on your phone, you may be denied compensation because you didn't take precautions to avoid being injured.
Contributory or Comparative Negligence
In some cases, the defendant's negligence may have led to the injury. However, the court may find you are partially liable for the incident due to your distracted walking. If this occurs, the amount of money you are awarded may be reduced by the percentage of liability assigned to you or you may be prevented from collecting any compensation at all. This will depend on where you live.
Judges in states that have comparative negligence laws will reduce your court award by the percentage of liability put on you for the incident. For instance, if the court finds you were 20 percent liable for the accident, you would only receive 80 percent of the amount you're asking for.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you live in a state that has contributory negligence laws, you will be barred from collecting any compensation at all if you are found to be a certain percent liable. In Connecticut, for example, you won't collect any money if you are 50 percent or more liable for your injuries.
Cells phones can be a lot of fun, but it's best to put them away until you are in a safe place to use them. For more information about these issues or help with winning a slip and fall case, contact a personal injury attorney like those from Hardee and Hardee LLP.