Ray Arenofsky - Attorney At Law

What Is Causation In A Premises Liability Case?

Premises liability cases consist of three considerations: was there something wrong with the property, was there an injury sustained and is there insurance to compensate for the injury? When you are talking about trying to get proper compensation for your injuries, the insurance company or the adjuster who represents the insurance company does not want to pay for injuries that were not caused by the fall. In other words, first you have to prove that there was something improper that caused you to fall, and then you have to show what injuries came or followed from the improper condition.

You may encounter a struggle with the insurance company if you had a pre-existing injury that was re-injured. The insurance company’s argument would be that you already had the injury, and that the event only worsened it a little bit. Your argument would be that you had not had any trouble with your injury for a couple of years, and that falling was like injuring yourself all over again.

Another causation problem would be if you were wearing high heels. It would have to be asked whether or not the condition of the property was what caused you to fall, or if it was the fact that you were wearing dangerous high heels that caused you to fall. If you were drinking, were not able to watch where you were going or you were not conscious, then that would be a causation argument that you created your own accident.

Another example would be if you were to get hurt in a swimming pool at a hotel. The hotel could argue that you were taking improper drugs and that’s why you suffered injuries in the pool. The situation would have to be investigated in order to determine whether or not you had taken drugs, and if so, whether or not they were really the cause of your injuries. If you slipped in a store that had a warning sign that read, “Beware! Floor is slippery,” then the argument for causation would be that you had been warned and should therefore have been more careful. The argument against that would be that there was no sign or that it wasn’t clearly visible.

In essence, determining causation is about determining whether or not the improper condition caused the injury that was sustained. Were you part of the reason that you fell? Were you part of the cause, or were you just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Is Comparative Negligence Ever Applicable In Premises Liability Cases?

In Arizona, comparative negligence is very applicable. If you are 40 percent at fault and a store is 60 percent at fault, then you would collect 60 percent of the cost of compensation for your injury. If you were 51 percent at fault and the store was 49 percent at fault, then you would collect 49 percent. In some states, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, then you collect nothing. Different states vary in how much you lose if you are partly at fault. This is why it is so important to have pictures or evidence of the dangerous condition which caused an injury.

We’ll often have an investigator take statements from witnesses about what happened. We will take pictures and measure the height of the steps. We will document the spot where the person got hurt and try to find facts that show it was inevitable. The insurance company, on the other hand, will look for anything they can in order to deflect blame. They will consider whether or not you were wearing improper shoes, whether or not you had been drinking, and whether or not you had been taking any medication that could have contributed to the injury.

For more information on Causation In Premises Liability Claims, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 345-0444 today.

Ray Arenofsky - Attorney At Law

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