Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim in Las Vegas

To prove your case, you’ll need to demonstrate the key elements of a slip and fall claim in Las Vegas. These include the following: the negligent party had a duty of care to you, a hazardous condition existed on the premises that the property owner or possessor knew or should have known about, that condition caused your slip and fall accident and injuries, and you suffered damages as a result of those injuries. Proving these elements increases your chance of successfully making a slip and fall claim and winning compensation. These elements can be difficult to prove, and you may need a slip and fall accident attorney to solidify your case.

How to Prove Liability in a Las Vegas Slip and Fall Accident

Liability refers to the at-fault party’s legal responsibility to compensate you for the expenses and impacts of the injury you sustained. You can’t collect compensation in slip and fall cases if you can’t prove that the owner of the property, or some other liable party, was negligent. The four key elements that you need to prove to show that a property owner or occupier acted negligently and caused your accident are explained in detail below.

1. The Responsible Party Owed You a Legal Duty of Care

The first element you should establish in a slip and fall claim is the duty of care. This is the legal obligation of an entity or individual to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to you and others. You must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. The defendant in a slip and fall case can be the property owner, tenant, or occupant on the property.

Property owners and possessors generally owe duties of care to the people allowed on the property. The specific duties of care owed depend on the status that a person visiting the property falls under, which may be an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.

Invitees are people who are on the property for the owner’s benefit. They include patrons, clients, and customers of businesses. Business owners owe invitees the highest degree of care. Owners should actively look for potential dangers and address them quickly. If you were injured in a casino as a guest after a slip and fall accident due to negligent maintenance, the casino operator could be considered to have breached its duty of care. You may, therefore, have a valid claim against the operator.

Licensees are individuals who visit other people’s property for their mutual benefit. Social guests at a friend’s home are licensees. Property owners and occupiers have a duty to warn licensees about dangers. However, they don’t have to regularly inspect the property for potential hazards.

Trespassers are people who enter someone else’s property without permission. They’re generally not owed a duty of care. However, property owners and tenants can be held liable for the injuries that a trespasser suffers if they intentionally injure the trespasser, knew that the trespasser was on the property and faced danger, or if the trespasser was a minor who faced danger from an attractive artificial object or hazardous condition.

2. A Hazardous Condition Existed on the Premises, and the Defendant Knew or Should’ve Known About It

You’ll need to prove there was a hazardous condition on the property where the slip and fall accident occurred. Such conditions include:

  • Uneven flooring
  • Wet or slippery surfaces
  • Torn, worn, or damaged carpeting
  • Defective staircases
  • Poor lighting
  • Structures not built to code

Eyewitness testimony, photographs, and surveillance video are typical pieces of evidence that help prove the existence of hazards on the property. For example, if a wet floor caused your slip and fall, you could use video footage or photos of the spill and testimonies from other customers who noticed it to prove a dangerous condition existed. A slip and fall lawyer can also use maintenance records to show that the property owner neglected making the necessary repairs to dangerous defects on the property.

Additionally, you’ll need to show that the property owner was aware or should’ve been aware of the hazardous condition on the premises. How that is best proven varies depending on your case. A property owner or occupier is presumed to have known about a dangerous situation on the property if it’s open and obvious, such as a large ditch or pothole. Defendants are also presumed to know about hazards that they didn’t fix or warn against that were mentioned in inspection reports.

If someone told the property owner or occupier about the potential hazard, that person could serve as a witness that the tenant or owner knew of the condition. A property owner could be considered to have constructive knowledge of a hazard without having noticed it firsthand, if he or she has received several complaints of the danger and hasn’t done anything to correct it. A court will also presume that the owner knew that a dangerous condition existed if the owner created it or the problem had existed for some time.

Proving that a property owner or tenant had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition may require an in-depth investigation by a slip and fall attorney.

3. The Dangerous Condition Caused Your Slip and Fall Accident

You must show a direct link exists between the dangerous condition and your slip and fall accident and resulting injuries. For example, suppose you slipped on a wet floor and fractured your arm or leg. You could prove this third element by showing that your fall and injury were the direct results of a spill that an employee knew of but failed to clean or a puddle of water below a leaky roof that the property owner had neglected to repair. If you fell down a flight of stairs that was missing a handrail because you missed a step due to being drunk or distracted by your phone, your fall wouldn’t have resulted from the hazardous condition.

Medical records generated after seeking immediate medical care following a slip and fall can help show that the hazardous condition, the accident, and the injuries are correlated. A slip and fall lawyer can also seek out expert medical testimony to prove the direct link between the dangerous conditions and your injuries. Incident reports, eyewitness testimony, and video recordings of the slip and fall accident can also help prove that a dangerous condition caused your injuries.

In some cases, victims may be unsure whether the dangerous conditions were causes of slip and fall injuries sustained. In such cases, they should consult slip and fall lawyers at their law offices. Slip and fall lawyers have the skill and resources needed to obtain evidence to determine the cause of your accident and injuries.

4. You Suffered Damages

The existence of damages is also required to prove liability in a Las Vegas slip and fall accident. You must prove that you suffered some type of verifiable harm due to the accident and resulting injury. For instance, if broken stairs caused you to break your hip, your damages could include the expenses incurred due to hospitalization and surgery, time taken off work for treatment and recovery, and pain and suffering.

You can prove damages through medical bills and records, receipts of out-of-pocket expenses, pay stubs, and other appropriate documentation. An attorney can also rely on expert testimony to demonstrate the extent of your injury, your chances of full recovery, and your future losses.

What Are the Damages in a Slip and Fall Claim?

After sustaining an injury in a slip and fall accident, it’s common to wonder, “What is my slip and fall injury worth?” A skilled attorney will calculate the value of your case after thoroughly evaluating all your injuries and damages. Damages are usually proportional to a victim’s injuries and losses.

If you prove all the elements of a slip and fall claim, you may collect compensatory damages. Typical slip and fall settlements include recovery of economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the financial losses you suffered due to your slip and fall accident and injuries. They cover expenses like:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage

Non-economic damages offer compensation for intangible losses that resulted from your injury and negatively impacted your life, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.

When your slip and fall case goes to trial, the court could also award you punitive damages if the liable party’s behavior is considered shocking, malicious, or egregious. Under Nevada law, punitive damages are capped at $300,000 for compensatory damages amounting to less than $100,000 and no more than three times your compensatory damages amount if the amount is $100,000 or more.

Statute of Limitations for a Slip and Fall Claim in Nevada

The statute of limitations for filing a slip and fall claim in Nevada is two years from the date of the accident. If you file a claim after the statute of limitations has run out, you could be completely barred from recovering compensation. The statute of limitations could be tolled (paused) in a few circumstances, such as when a victim is in a coma, or the at-fault party isn’t in the state. It takes time to build a strong claim, so the earlier you explore your legal options with a slip and fall lawyer, the better.