If you are harmed in a slip and fall accident that took place on someone’s property in Utah, whether it is residential or commercial, you should research your options for recouping compensation for your financial losses — especially when the negligence of the property owner may have played a role in the accident.
There are laws in Utah that can impact your lawsuit if you choose to file a claim for your slip and fall. Two of the most important regulations are the statute of limitations for filing a slip and fall claim in Utah as well as the state’s rule of “comparative negligence,” which can ultimately limit your ability to receive compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident. Even if you are fairly confident that your case will reach the courts, you need to understand the state laws, so let’s get into the basics of slip and fall laws in Utah.
The Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in Utah
The statute of limitations essentially requires that you file your claim within a given time limit. These limitations vary depending on the type of case.
Utah Code section 78B-2-307 establishes the statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents and other personal injury claims. It allows the plaintiff to file a claim in the Utah court system within four years after the time of the accident. Any lawsuits that are due to the negligence or carelessness of a property owner must follow this deadline, and the countdown starts from the exact date of the slip and fall injury.
If you were not harmed but experienced some property damage after a slip and fall, such as an expensive watch was broken in the fall, Utah Code section 78B-2-305 states that any claim that seeks to replace the property has to be filed within a span of three years after the accident.
Regardless of the basis of your slip and fall claim, the success of your lawsuit will largely depend on if you can provide evidence that the defendant failed to take reasonable measures to provide for a safe environment to prevent your injuries.
If you do not file your slip and fall injury claim within the limits mandated in Utah’s statute of limitations, the property owner will have the court dismiss the case if you do attempt to file a claim, and this dismissal will likely be granted. In special cases, the statute of limitations may pause, giving you some extra time to begin your lawsuit. You should always discuss the details of your case with an experienced Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer to know if these exceptions apply to your case.
Comparative Negligence in Utah Slip and Fall Lawsuits
Even if you are fairly certain that the property owner is liable for your slip and fall injuries, you should be prepared for the defendant to argue that you are actually to blame for your injuries sustained in the accident. This is a common defense tactic across the United States in these types of cases. You should anticipate this argument because if the defendant is able to place some of the responsibility for the accident on you, it can significantly impact the amount of your final settlement. In certain cases, your compensation could be denied outright if you share enough responsibility for the slip and fall.
Utah Code section 78B-5-818 is the grounds for having shared fault in a personal injury claim when the plaintiff is found to share some of the liability for the slip and fall. This law states: “the fault of a person seeking recovery may not alone bar recovery by that person.” It continues to say that “a person seeking recovery may recover from any defendant or group of defendants whose fault, combined with the fault of [all others] exceeds the fault of the person seeking recovery.”
This means that if a Utah jury finds that you are partially at fault for the accident, you are still able to receive compensation on the grounds that your responsibility for the accident is less than the combined share of the fault of other parties. However, any damages that are recovered from the lawsuit will be reduced equal to your percentage of fault. If your share of fault is seen to e equal to or greater than that of the defendant, you are unable to recover any compensation for damages under Utah law.
For instance, if you are found to be 25 percent liable for causing the accident, and your damages, such as medical expenses and other losses, total at $10,000, the judge will order that you only recoup $7,500 from the property owner.
You must remember that even if your injury claim does not go to court — even if it is not even filed — Utah’s shared fault rules would still apply. The defendant’s representation will e concerned with what may take place when the case does go to court during settlement negotiations. So, you would expect a settlement to consider your fault in the accident. That is why it is crucial that you establish that the defendant has complete liability for the slip and fall.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Utah
Slip and fall accidents make up 15 percent of all workplace accidents. These usually happen when a property owner does not take reasonable measures to maintain a safe environment for those who may be on site, whether they are workers or just visitors. These injuries can result in the victim being unable to return to work, causing them to lose a significant portion of their income. In certain cases, the victims are able to partner with a Salt Lake City slip and fall attorney to regain lost damages for the accident.
At Siegfried & Jensen, our Utah personal injury lawyers want to help you and your family recover after being harmed in a slip and fall accident. If you or a loved one have been harmed in a slip and fall, contact our law offices today at (801) 845-9000 to see what options are available for your case.