The answer to this question depends on how much at fault you were for your slip and fall injury.
Oklahoma has a comparative negligence fault law, which means people are still eligible for compensation even if they’re partially at fault for their own accidents and injuries. However, there are two caveats.
First, they must be less than 50% at fault for their accidents and injuries to get compensation. Second, if they are more than 0% but less than 50% at fault, their compensation will be decreased by their percentage of fault. That means a person who is 40% at fault for a slip and fall injury would have their compensation reduced by 40%, and would receive only $6,000 from a $10,000 settlement.
Now that we’ve established that it’s possible to get compensation for a slip and fall injury that you’re partially at fault for, let’s look at scenarios where these types of accidents might occur and whether compensation may be awarded.
Slipping and Falling When a Warning Sign is Posted
Warning signs can let visitors and guests know of potential dangers such as broken or loose stairs, steep drops, wet floors, and more. The presence of these signs doesn’t automatically let property owners off the hook for slips and falls, but they can shift some of the blame onto slip and fall victims (assuming the signs are clearly visible and legible).
When people slip and fall due to hazards that are marked by warning signs, determining who is most at fault isn’t always easy. For example, victims may slip and fall on liquid that is spilled far beyond where warning signs indicate the hazard is located.
These cases require plenty of investigation, and property owners and their insurers are often quick to point their fingers at the injured parties. Having the help of an experienced Oklahoma slip and fall lawyer can make it easier for victims to get the compensation they need.
Slipping and Falling in an “Off-Limits” Area
Warning signs are just that—signs. They may not always be noticed, legible, or even in the native languages of the people who get injured near them. However, areas that have been purposely blocked off or rendered “off-limits” to visitors and guests are different, especially in the eyes of the legal system.
When people willingly and knowingly trespass into these areas, such as “Employees Only” sections of stores or restaurants or “Under Construction” areas of shopping malls and attractions, and then they slip and fall due to dangerous conditions, their level of fault is often too great for them to be eligible for compensation.
Slipping and Falling Due to Footwear Choice
Sometimes, property owners and their insurers may even argue that slip and fall victims are partially or fully at fault for their injuries because of the shoes they were wearing at the time. For example, a convenience store owner may argue that a customer who slipped and fell on pooled rain water near the entrance was at fault because they were wearing thin flip-flops instead of sneakers or sandals with thicker soles.
While this argument may hold up in extreme conditions such as strenuous mountainous hikes, it usually doesn’t hold up in everyday life. As long as the victim was wearing shoes in an establishment that requires them, the type of footwear they choose to wear usually won’t have any bearing on their ability to get compensation.
Slipping and Falling While Intoxicated
People who are impaired or intoxicated almost always have a tougher time getting compensation for their injuries, and that includes when they slip and fall. Because alcohol and many types of drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, can affect balance, gait, and walking ability, it’s easy for property owners and their insurers to claim that victims fell mostly or solely because they were under the influence.
Sometimes, this argument is correct, and victims slipped and fell in the absence of known hazards solely because of their level of intoxication. But other times, they may slip and fall in dangerous areas that weren’t properly marked or blocked off from visitors and guests. In these situations, it becomes a battle of proving who was more at fault for the fall—the victims or the property owners who knew or should have known about the hazards and addressed them before someone got hurt.
We Help Victims of All Types of Slip and Fall Injuries Get Compensation
Insurance companies will do anything to avoid paying injured victims fair settlements, and that includes claiming they were fully or partially at fault for their slips and falls. Because this argument is valid in certain scenarios, you can bet that the insurance company will probably use it against you if you slip and fall on someone else’s property.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we know how insurance companies work when it comes to shifting blame onto innocent victims or even onto victims who are partially—but less than 50%—at fault. When you hire us, we’ll work hard to maximize your settlement and reduce any level of unfair blame you’ve received. Reach out today for a free consultation.