A simple fall after slipping on a wet floor or stumbling on a broken step can cause significant disability, especially for older adults and individuals who have preexisting health conditions. When this type of accident occurs in an area open to the public, such as a municipal building or business, you may be eligible for financial damages.
Review the laws that govern slip and fall injuries in North Carolina.
Proving fault for a fall injury
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. Under this law, if you have any responsibility for the accident you become ineligible for damages. The court may find you partially responsible for the fall if you were using your smartphone or otherwise distracted when the accident occurred; ignored cones, warning signs or caution tape; were wearing unsafe footwear; or had entered a space closed to the public when the fall occurred.
In addition to proving the defendant was solely at fault, you must show the court that he or she failed to fulfill the duty to create safe conditions and that you suffered financial damages as a result.
Understanding available damages
If you have a successful case, the responsible party must provide compensation for your financial loss related to the injury. You can request damages for:
- Current and projected future medical cost
- Lost current and projected future wages
- Loss of the ability to complete independent tasks, such as cleaning, cooking and child care
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Permanent disfigurement or loss of function
In North Carolina, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of a slip and fall incident or the court will dismiss your case.