Let’s set up a quick scenario: you’ve had a long day at work and are eager to get home, but before doing so, you pick up a pizza from the Domino’s here in town. You’re handed your order as the cashier says, “Watch your step on your way out!”. You smile and walk out of the store where there’s a small concrete step that elevates the entrance. Not expecting the drop, you fall and hit the ground hard, resulting in injury. Now instead of a nice evening at home, your night is filled with an unexpected trip to the ER. Your first thought might be that you aren’t allowed to sue Dominos. After all, they notified you of the step and painted it yellow. WRONG.
You would be correct in expecting that you should receive compensation if you get hurt at a place of business due to their negligence (i.e. Domino’s and their concrete step). While you do deserve compensation, you must be prepared for the counter arguments that try and pin the blame on you. The argument for Domino’s negligence seems like an easy one: they failed to fix the concrete step which then opened people to harm and consequently you were injured. However, Domino’s may try to take certain circumstances of the situation and attempt to frame the fall as your fault. A legal defense called the Open and Obvious doctrine could be used in an effort to make it your fault. The basic premise of the doctrine is that if the danger is an open and obvious one, a person should recognize the danger and take efforts to protect themselves. If they fail to do so, then that is their fault. In the case of Domino’s, they would argue that they have the step painted bright yellow and they warn you before you walk out of the door, making the threat of the step open and obvious.
Similarly, there is a legal defense called comparative negligence in which partial blame is placed on the invitee based on the invitee’s own negligence. If the danger is open and obvious then it is expected for a person to take appropriate precautions and, if they don’t, they were negligent in protecting themselves. If Domino’s can’t place the full blame on you, then they may use this argument to attempt to assign partial blame to you. However, while Domino’s painted the step to make it visible and the employees give you a verbal warning, it is always their responsibility to keep their customers safe. The concept of telling you to watch your step, is similar to a road sign that says “pot hole ahead”, why not just fix the pot hole? Neither open and obvious or comparative fault should bar you from bringing a claim, and they certainly should NEVER make you feel as though your fall was your fault. You should always speak to an attorney if you are injured on another’s property.
If you have a slip and fall accident?
A scenario like this illustrates the complexities of the law, personal injury, and how an argument can be used to flip the blame on the victim, when the victim is not at fault. Domino’s is completely aware of the danger but does not eliminate it and as such any injury that occurs because of it is entirely their fault and responsibility. By consulting and hiring Shelbyville’s personal injury attorney, Scott Harper, he will help you fight those arguments, make a strong case against Domino’s, and get the best outcome he can. If an accident at Domino’s or one similar to it happens to you, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney in order to protect your rights.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of anyone else. Any content provided herein is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.