Property owners, including individuals, businesses, and governments, have a legal duty to protect their guests from certain dangerous hazards. However, at the same time, guests should exercise reasonable care when navigating someone else’s property. So what happens when someone slips and falls on another’s property while intoxicated?
The impact of intoxication in a slip and fall case is a bit complex and depends on the state law where the accident occurred. The issue in these cases is that the accident victim’s own negligence arguably played a role in their injuries.
When Can Slip and Fall Accident Victims Recover for Their Injuries
While some slip and fall accidents are cut and dry and only involve the negligence of the property owner, that is not always the case. Slip and falls involving an intoxicated accident victim are a good example of this.
Alcohol is known to impair your judgment and reflexes, which can contribute to a slip and fall accident. Thus, if you fell on another’s property, your intoxication may impact your recovery. Undoubtedly, in this situation, the property owner will argue that you shared some blame for your injuries.
There are generally three ways that courts consider a situation in which an accident victim shared responsibility for the accident.
In states that use the contributory negligence model, an accident victim cannot recover any damages if they were even the slightest bit at fault for their injuries. For example, if someone slipped and fell at a bar or restaurant after having a few drinks, they may not be able to recover anything—even if their injury was caused in part by the negligence of the establishment. Very few states still use the contributory negligence model, as it is generally understood to unfairly prevent accident victims from recovering much-needed compensation.
Pure Comparative Fault
The pure comparative fault model is the friendliest to accident victims. Under a pure comparative fault analysis, an accident victim can recover compensation from any other responsible party, regardless of the accident victim’s role in causing their own injuries. Thus, the fact that you were intoxicated will not totally prevent you from recovering for your injuries. However, in this scenario, the court will reduce your damages award by your own percentage of fault. For example, assume you suffered $100,000 in damages in a Kentucky slip and fall accident. Next, assume the jury found you were 20% responsible because you were intoxicated. In this case, you would recover a total of $80,000 (your total damages of $100,000 less $20,000, or 20%).
Modified Comparative Fault
Modified comparative negligence is similar to pure comparative negligence, with one major difference. Specifically, accident victims more than 50% or 51% at fault for their own injuries (depending on state law) cannot recover for their injuries. Thus, in states that rely on modified comparative fault, most accident victims who share some responsibility for their injuries can still recover financial damages.
Kentucky subscribes to the pure comparative fault system. So the impact of intoxication in a Kentucky slip and fall case will typically not impact your ability to recover at least some of your damages. If you are still able to bring a case, your intoxication may then result in a lower recovery amount.
When Intoxication Is Not Relevant to a Slip and Fall Case
If you suffered injuries in a Kentucky slip and fall accident while intoxicated, your intoxication is not necessarily relevant to the case. The question is not whether you were intoxicated but whether your intoxication caused you to be negligent. And if so, whether your negligence contributed to the accident.
For example, assume you were at a restaurant with a few friends. You had a few drinks but were not drunk. As you get up to head to the restroom, you trip over a loose floorboard. There was no sign warning customers that the floorboard was loose, and the hazard wasn’t obvious. In this situation, the question is whether the fact that you had a few drinks made it so you didn’t notice the loose floorboard. As you can see, this is a very fact-specific question depending on all the other surrounding circumstances. An attorney can help you understand whether the other side may raise your intoxication as a defense. A lawyer can also develop a compelling theory to help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do You Have to Bring a Kentucky Slip and Fall Claim?
An accident, by its very nature, disrupts your life. Your immediate focus will understandably be on your physical recovery and getting your financial situation in order. However, it is important that you do not delay in reaching out to an attorney to discuss your case. After suffering serious injuries in a slip and fall, you have only one year to file a lawsuit against the property owner. If you wait more than a year, the court will almost certainly dismiss your case because it was filed outside the statute of limitations.
Have You Been Injured in a Kentucky Slip and Fall Accident?
If you recently fell while on another’s property, reach out to the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, for immediate assistance. At our Kentucky personal injury law firm, we represent clients who were injured due to others’ negligence. Over the past decade, we’ve represented countless clients, helping them obtain the compensation they need to move on with their life after a serious accident. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable lawyers, give us a call today. You can also contact us through our online form. We take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so there is no risk in calling because you will not be responsible for any legal fees unless we can help you recover money damages for your injuries.