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Articles Tagged with comparative fault

Published on:

pumpkins

In a recent Kentucky premises liability case, a store in which a customer tripped and fell on a pallet underneath a container of pumpkins insisted that the customer’s fall was his own fault. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to the store.

Fortunately for the customer, the appellate court understood that the question was not as simple as the store made it out to be. Yes, the large box of pumpkins was clearly visible – but the wooden pallet beneath it was not necessarily noticeable to the customer under the circumstances.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unpublished Kentucky Court of Appeals case, the plaintiff was a man who tripped and fell while shopping for groceries at a store in Lexington. At the time of his fall, the man was carrying a handheld shopping basket that obscured his view of the corner of the pallet upon which he tripped. The accident caused extensive injuries to the plaintiff’s shoulder and knees, causing him to undergo multiple surgeries. He filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store, alleging that his injuries were a direct and proximate result of the store’s negligence and failure to keep the premises safe for business invitees. He sought to recover compensation for his medical costs, his lost earnings (past and future), and his pain and suffering.

The Fayette County Circuit Court granted summary judgment to the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s personal injury action.

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Published on:

intersection2

By Kyle Roby, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

Although the basic law of negligence is the same across the country – namely, that to be successful, the plaintiff must show duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages – there are some nuances of negligence law that are different in various states. Thus, the outcome of a particular case can vary considerably, depending upon the state in which the accident occurred.

For instance, under the law of comparative fault, there can be wide variations in the outcome of a suit based on similar circumstances, depending upon the state where the suit is filed. The state of Tennessee follows what is called the “modified system of comparative fault.”

Beginning with the 1992 case of McIntyre v. Balentine, a plaintiff may recover damages in proportion to a defendant’s percentage of fault in an accident, as long as the defendant’s fault outweighed any fault by the plaintiff. In cases in which the jury finds the parties to be equally at fault (or finds the plaintiff to be more than 50 percent at fault), the plaintiff recovers nothing.

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Published on:

Man clearing snow from the streets

By Jessica Surber, Attorney

English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

Sometimes, a single individual, business, or governmental entity is clearly to blame for negligently inflicting harm on an accident victim. But there are also times when the injured person must share in the blame for what happened.

When more than one party bears the responsibility for an accident, fault is determined under the principles of comparative fault, such that an injured party’s settlement or judgment is reduced in proportion to his or her level of fault.

Recently, in the case of Carter v. Bullitt Host, LLC, the Kentucky Supreme Court addressed whether the doctrine of comparative fault was also applicable in premises liability cases involving the allegedly “open and obvious” hazards of snow and ice that caused a slip and fall injury.

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