Slip and falls are among the more common varieties of personal injury cases. Although many of these accidents lead to relatively minor injuries such as sprained knees and ankles, others can cause serious problems including torn ligaments and herniated discs. The falls may be due to any number of defective conditions. Inadequate lighting is one of the more frequent causes cited. If you have experienced stairway, ramp, or walkway fall due to a landowner’s failure to provide adequate lighting, contact the Raleigh personal injury attorneys of Maginnis Howard at (919) 526-0450. You may also send a confidential email inquiry using our contact page.
There are two primary difficulties in any slip and fall case: (1) proving the defendant breached a duty and (2) overcoming a contributory negligence defense. Each of these issues were addressed in the context of an inadequate lighting claim in the recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case Cone v. Watson, No. COA12-670. The plaintiff in Cone a stairway fall leading out of a salon, because she could not see the last few steps. She thought she had reached the final stair when, in fact, she had not. As a result of missing the last step, she broke one ankle and severely sprained the other. The Court of Appeals began its analysis by reaffirming that “[i]f [a] step is properly constructed, but poorly lighted, and by reason of this fact one entering the store sustains an injury, recovery may be had.”
After restating the general rule, the Court of Appeals found that there was enough evidence for a jury to determine that the salon owner had failed to provide sufficient lighting. The critical evidence was plaintiff’s testimony that the final steps were so dark that she could not tell how many were remaining. The Court next had to address defendant’s contributory negligence defense. This defense is routinely used in slip and fall cases, with landlords arguing plaintiff’s injuries were caused by their own negligence in failing to notice obvious conditions. The Court found plaintiff was not contributorily negligent as a matter of law because (1) there was no evidence that she knew or should have known the number of steps and (2) she reasonably decided not to take the ramp out of the salon because it too was wet and poorly lit.
If you successfully prove your inadequate lighting slip and fall claim, you may be entitled to a recovery for certain elements of damages, including: (1) medical and pharmaceutical expenses (2) lost wages and/or diminished earning capacity (3) physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, and (4) loss of enjoyment of life. These damages can mean the difference between being able to pay medical bills and facing bankruptcy.
The Raleigh attorneys of Maginnis Law handle personal injury claims, including inadequate lighting cases, on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay an attorneys’ fee unless and until we make a financial recovery on your behalf. We offer free in office consultations from our downtown Raleigh office and will travel to meet with you if necessary.
To discuss your slip and fall injury claim, call attorney Shawn Howard at (919) 526-0450 or through our contact page. Maginnis Howard handles slip and fall claims throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Fayetteville, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, Sanford, and Greenville.