A slip-and-fall accident is the last thing anybody wants (or expects) to happen when they visit a store. Customers want a safe and easy shopping experience, and store owners and employees want the same. Regardless of everyone’s best intentions, however, accidents do happen, and people often sustain unfortunate and severe injuries on someone else’s property.
While most states have similar laws covering what happens if an individual has a slip-and-fall accident at a store, each state also has their own rules and exceptions — including Mississippi. So, it’s important for Mississippi residents to understand the basic laws covering a slip-and-fall accident, especially if you’ve suffered one yourself.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a slip-and-fall accident in a Mississippi store and are considering filing a claim, your first step should be to contact a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. There are countless nuances that could determine the amount of your potential compensation, and a knowledgeable attorney can help you navigate these obstacles. Based on the facts of your accident, they can also anticipate how the store will respond and the legal actions they will take — not to mention how to combat them.
For example, one of the most common defenses against a slip-and-fall claim is known as the “Open and Obvious Defense.”
The Open and Obvious Defense
One of the safest things a store can do to prevent slip-and-fall accidents is to make it obvious when there’s a potentially dangerous situation on their property. One common way they do this is by placing a bright yellow “Floor Slippery When Wet” caution sign wherever they recently mopped or water is known to gather. Another example might be a sign that reads “Watch Your Step” if there’s an uneven floor or other obstacle that could cause someone to trip or stumble.
If the sign was clearly posted and the potential hazard was obvious or open to reasonable observation, the court might side with the property owner in the event of a slip-and-fall accident. And you can understand why. You can’t sprint across a clearly marked wet floor that will inevitably cause you to slip and fall and then claim your injuries were all the store’s fault. The property owner will do everything they can to show that you were clearly warned of the potential danger and you proceeded recklessly anyway.
The open and obvious defense can be effective, but it doesn’t automatically let a grocery store off the hook. For example, suppose the wet floor sign is placed behind a rack where many people could miss it. The floor might obviously be wet and there might be a sign marking the hazard, but it’s also reasonable to assume that the individual who had a slip-and-fall accident was distracted by their shopping. Perhaps they were looking at the items on the rack instead of down at the floor.
A store could also be liable for your slip-and-fall injuries if the open and obvious danger violates a health or safety statute that places them fully at fault. If the dangerous situation in their store is a violation of these laws, it doesn’t matter how clear their signage is. You can still make a claim — and a strong one at that.
Get the Help of an Experienced Mississippi Injury Attorney
In Mississippi, you have three years to make a claim for damages resulting from a slip-and-fall accident. But it’s important that you speak with an injury attorney right away, as it’s absolutely critical to gather valuable and time-sensitive evidence and interview witnesses as soon as possible following the incident.
Further, since Mississippi is a comparative negligence state, it’s possible that fault could be split between both parties in the event of a lawsuit. So, in our wet floor example, this could mean that even though the store is mostly at fault for not clearly marking the danger (perhaps 80%), you are still somewhat responsible because you were recklessly running through the store (making you 20% responsible).
In this case, you would potentially be eligible to receive 80% of your damages. However, each case is different and will have its own details, so it’s important that you retain quality representation to maximize your compensation.
Citrin Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help
When you entrust Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys with your slip-and-fall case, we will listen to your story and work closely with you to develop an approach that ensures the strength of your claim. Our experienced and personable injury attorneys will serve as dedicated and empathetic guides throughout the entire process.
To learn about the validity of your potential legal claim and next steps toward pursuing legal action, please schedule your free consultation today by calling 228-888-8888 or completing this simple online contact form.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Holcomb Dunbar. (2016). Mississippi Premises Liability – Part IV. Retrieved from https://www.holcombdunbar.com/mississippi-premises-liability-part-iv/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.