If you identify as a clumsy person, you’re not alone. Many of us seem to find a way to slip, trip, or fall regularly. Even when there are no hazards present. In daily life, clumsiness represents little more than a mild inconvenience. When it comes to a personal injury case, though, things get more serious. In fact, many people wonder if being clumsy could work against them in a trip and fall case.
Here’s what you need to know.
Are you responsible for causing your own injuries?
Even if you’re a bit clumsy in your everyday life, that doesn’t automatically mean you are responsible for your accident. Most personal injury attorneys will recommend you start by assuming the accident was not your fault, and file a claim instead.
If you assume that, because you tend to be clumsy, you caused an accident you happen to be involved in, you risk providing a claim of responsibility that could harm your case later. Instead, document the scene of the accident and any injuries you have sustained. From there, hire a personal injury attorney who can assess the scene and help you determine if you have a claim worth pursuing.
Understanding the “Reasonable Person” Standard
When it comes to personal injury cases, there’s no way anyone can ensure that their property is 100% accident-proof. The courts recognize this, and instead of requiring property owners to eliminate any possibility of injury, the law merely expects them to maintain their property to adequately ensure the safety of others who may come upon their property. Specifically, the law requires property owners to keep their property in such a condition that a “reasonable person” could avoid injury.
What does this mean, exactly?
Essentially, this is a legal ideal that helps juries compare an injured person’s behavior to the average person’s. For example, if you were walking up an icy sidewalk and fell, that’s something any “reasonable person” could experience. If, on the other hand, you were bungee jumping from a tree on a dare, the courts will likely see that as “unreasonable” behavior that may make you liable for the injury.
What About Comparative Negligence?
Even if your clumsiness got the best of you and you had a trip and fall accident a “reasonable person” might not have, you don’t have to abandon hope entirely. Some states, including Florida, allow multiple parties to share liability for an accident under the “comparative negligence” doctrine.
This means that, even if the court rules your actions were reckless or unsafe, the other party (the property owner, for example) might incur partial liability. Bear in mind, though, that these cases can be challenging to try, and they require the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney.
Ward & Barnes: Your Trusted Pensacola Personal Injury Team
If you suffered an injury in a trip and fall case, whether you’re clumsy or not, you deserve high-quality representation. Ward & Barnes is here for you. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case and ensure you get the representation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.