• Kenneth Powell

What Is Reasonable Care Slip and Fall?

Many people get injured in slip and fall accidents each year. These falls involve tumbling down defective stairs, tripping on uneven ground, or slipping on a wet surface. To avoid all of these situations, everyone has a duty to provide reasonable care no matter where they are.

But what exactly is reasonable care in the context of a slip and fall? And how can it affect a lawsuit for all parties involved? Here are all the basic facts that one should know.

Reasonable Care Defined

Reasonable Care Defined

All visitors to someone’s property ought to use reasonable care. That involves watching where they are going, being careful not to get distracted, and so on. They must do all of this to avoid getting hurt in any way.

For example, people have to walk carefully in an area that bears a "slippery" mark. That includes not using their phone, going slowly, and holding onto something if that is possible.

These rules apply to all people that are lawfully on a certain property. For example, that includes invited visitors or customers at a store. However, the same does not apply to trespassers.

On the other hand, property owners have a different set of responsibilities. They have a duty to keep the area safe and hazard-free. If they are aware of a particularly dangerous spot, they must do everything in their power to neutralize it. Thus, they must perform regular checkups of the place. That way, they can ensure that everything is in order and take care of any irregularities.

If both property owners and visitors use reasonable care at all times, the chances of slip and fall accidents occurring are significantly lower.

The Role of Reasonable Care in Slip and Fall Lawsuits

In most cases, plaintiffs base their suits on a lack of reasonable care shown by the property owner/defendant. Their goal is to show that the defendant knew about a hazardous spot on their property and did nothing to rectify it.

For example, the attorney can prove that the defendant put no signs to warn people that an area was slippery. In addition, they can show that others slipped down the same faulty stairs, meaning that the owner knew about the issue but did nothing to repair them.

On the other hand, the plaintiff’s lawyer might try to prove that the defendant didn’t even know that anything was amiss on their property. That is yet another level of negligence, and it can yield a sizable settlement for the plaintiff.

Having said that, the defense can also use reasonable care to build their case. If there is evidence that the plaintiff wasn’t being careful, the defense may claim that the plaintiff’s negligence is what caused the fall. For example, this evidence can be security footage of the plaintiff texting while walking, which was the reason for the slip and fall.

In addition, the defense can exhibit proof that the plaintiff was not reasonably dressed. If the fall occurred on an icy surface and the person was wearing inappropriate footwear (slippers, for example), they can be at fault for the fall.

Finally, the defense attorney can also indicate that the fall occurred in an area where visitors shouldn’t be. Even if it is not seen as trespassing, this instance can put the blame on the plaintiff at least partially.

What Does It Mean for Settlements?

Missouri is a state that adheres to the Pure Comparative Negligence rule. According to this law, one can recover damages even if they were partially at fault for a slip and fall. (Learn what damages are available to injured parties in a slip and fall)

However, they will receive significantly less. For example, if the court determines that the fault is 40% plaintiff’s and 60% defendant's, the plaintiff will get 60% of the determined compensation.

Thus, reasonable care can make a notable difference for all parties. Proving that one did or did not use it is imperative for settling the case, which is why both parties will do everything to use reasonable care to their advantage.

Legal Help Is Pivotal

When a slip and fall occurs, it is essential to contact a slip and fall lawyer in St Louis MO immediately. Appropriate legal help is necessary if parties want to prove that someone did not exercise reasonable care. Since finding evidence is often difficult, an experienced lawyer can make a difference between a win and a loss.

For other questions, such as does Missouri have a social host liability law, contact us.