Can You Sue for Slip and Fall in Kansas?

Man slips falling on wet floor next to the wet floor caution sign.

If you receive injuries because of a slip and fall on another person’s business or private property, you may be able to recover compensation under Kansas law. This type of personal injury case is referred to as premises liability. Common premises liability injuries include sprains, soft tissue damage, ligament tears, broken bones, and even head or brain injuries. Whether you can recover for your injuries depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury attorneys at Sloan Law Firm can assist with your claim and determine whether your accident meets the legal requirements.

Property Owner Liability for Slip-and-Fall Injuries

This type of case is usually due to dangerous property conditions. The owner of business or private property may have legal liability for injuries sustained by visitors to the property. Examples of these types of injuries are slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents, like a person slipping on a wet floor or tripping over an obstruction. Common examples of conditions that cause trip or slip-and-fall accidents include wet floors, weather-related safety issues such as icy sidewalks or parking lots, potholes, slippery flooring material, and unrepaired defects or damage.

For liability to apply, the injured person must demonstrate that the property owner was negligent regarding the condition that caused the injury. Negligence is the failure to use the care that a reasonable and prudent person would use under the same or similar circumstances. Different standards exist for business and private property owners, but generally speaking, a property owner has the duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors or customers. Breach of that duty constitutes negligence.

There are several ways in which a property owner’s negligence can cause a slip and fall or trip and fall, such as:

  • The owner knew of the dangerous condition but did nothing to correct it or warn about it.
  • The owner created the hazardous condition.
  • The owner should have known about the dangerous condition because a reasonable person would have anticipated or discovered the risk and either corrected it or warned about it.

Determining whether property owner negligence exists requires a legal analysis of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident that caused the injuries. Sometimes property owners can get off the hook depending on the circumstances, so it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney about your injuries as soon as possible after you are injured.

Comparative Negligence in Slip-and-Fall Cases

Establishing the property owner’s negligence is only one part of a successful claim for slip-and-fall injuries. Under Kansas law, the comparative negligence rule that applies to personal injury cases also may be a factor, depending on the facts of the case.

The rule is set by a Kansas statute, K.S.A. § 60-258a, which states:

The contributory negligence of a party in a civil action does not bar that party or its legal representative from recovering damages for negligence resulting in death, personal injury, property damage or economic loss, if that party's negligence was less than the causal negligence of the party or parties against whom a claim is made, but the award of damages to that party must be reduced in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to that party.

Under the comparative negligence rule, an injured person’s compensation is affected by whether that person’s own negligence contributed to the accident and injuries. If the injured person’s liability is 50% or more, no compensation is paid at all. As long as your percentage of liability is less than 50%, you can recover compensation.

Due to the Kansas comparative negligence rule, a property owner facing a premises liability claim for a slip and fall is likely to claim that the injured person’s own negligence contributed to his or her injuries. Property owners may claim that the injured person wasn’t paying attention when the accident happened, such as they were talking on the phone or texting while walking. A property owner may also argue that wearing certain shoes (like flip flops) or clothing may constitute contributory negligence. Your personal injury attorney can explain the limits of contributory negligence.

Contributory negligence may also occur in other ways, such as the injured person ignoring or not seeing obvious warning signs or going onto a part of the property clearly marked as not open to visitors or customers. If you’re injured in a slip and fall, you should expect the property owner to analyze your conduct in great detail to find any available basis for a comparative negligence defense.

Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability

Under Kansas law, an injured person has only two years from the date the injury occurred to initiate a lawsuit for injuries sustained due to premise liability. It is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall accident.

Often insurance policies cover injuries for premises liability claims. Talking with the property owner’s liability insurance company on your own, without consulting a lawyer, is extremely risky. You could even make statements that damage your case. The insurance company is not on your side. They want to pay you nothing at all, or as little as possible. Talking with a lawyer is the only way to make certain that you get the compensation you deserve for slip-and-fall injuries.

Schedule a Consultation with our Kansas Personal Injury Lawyers

From our offices in Topeka and Lawrence, our experienced personal injury attorneys assist clients throughout Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska with compensation claims resulting from slip-and-fall accidents. We invite you to contact us by calling (785) 357-6311 or using our online contact form.