But What If I Was Partially At Fault? Comparative Negligence in Kansas Slip and Falls

Under premises liability law, Kansas property owners have a duty of care to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition, free from dangerous defects which can include slick floors, cracks or holes in sidewalks, poorly lit stairs, standing water or icy spots, loose floor mats, and much more.  This duty of care generally extends to sidewalks, parking lots, and walkways owned by or adjacent to the property.  When an individual slips and falls on the property of another, the victim can pursue an action against the owner or possessor of the property.  For liability to exist, the plaintiff must establish that the property owner or possessor acted negligently.

Negligence can be established in one of three ways:

  1. The owner or possessor of the property or an employee must have created or caused the dangerous condition.  For instance, in a store slip and fall, an employee who spilled a substance on the ground and did not remedy the slippery condition can be deemed negligent;
  2. The owner of the premises or an employee knew of the dangerous condition but did nothing to remedy it.  Continuing the above example, in a store slip and fall, an employee notices a spill on the floor but fails to remedy it. The property owner can be held liable for this negligence; or
  3. The owner of the property or an employee should have known of the dangerous condition.  For instance, in a store slip and fall, a spill has been present on the floor for several hours and a customer complained of it, but the store failed to remedy the spill.  The property owner might be deemed negligent, as their knowledge of the dangerous condition is presumed.

Kansas has adopted the doctrine of modified comparative negligence.  Under this doctrine, an individual who is partially at fault or responsible for the slip and fall accident will not be barred from recovery, so long as their degree of fault is less than the property owner’s.  In other words, the victim will be barred from recovery if his or her negligence is equal to or greater than the defendant’s.  A slip and fall victim’s recovery will be reduced by the degree of his or her negligence.

The law of modified comparative negligence can be illustrated through the following hypothetical:

  • Melissa drove to the supermarket at 8:30 a.m., an hour after it had opened, to grab some items before heading to work
  • It had lightly snowed the night before
  • An employee had partially cleared the parking lot early that morning, but patches of ice remained
  • Melissa was walking in her high heel shoes up to the store and fell on ice in the parking lot
  • · Melissa was awarded $100,000 to compensate for her injuries, but her recovery was reduced by 10% because she was deemed partly at fault for wearing unsuitable footwear given the icy weather.

Contact Kansas City Slip and Fall Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Personal Injury attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Individuals injured due to a property owner’s negligence, including store owners, homeowners, hotels, hospitals, and the like, can be held liable for your damages sustained as a result of the fall.  Slip and fall victims must act fast to preserve their legal rights.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential slip and fall accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.