North Carolina Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment for Defendant in Broken Leg Slip and Fall Case

Although slip and fall accidents can sometimes lead to minor injuries, they can also lead to devastating disabilities that leave the victim with a permanent injury. A slip and fall accident can happen nearly anywhere but when it happens on someone else’s property, the injured individual may be entitled to compensation from the person or business that was in charge of the property. This is known as a premises liability claim. Attorney Jason M. Burton has substantial experience assisting Raleigh slip and fall victims with determining whether they are legally entitled to compensation. Contact him today to start learning more about your rights.

Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals decided a legal dispute involving a slip and fall injury where the plaintiff fell on a walkway covered in mold at her residence. In her lawsuit against the operator of the condominium, she alleged that she used a staircase to access her condo on most occasions. The plaintiff also alleged that during August 2012 she underwent rotator cuff surgery, and this required her to use a different access point. She used a wooden walkway located on both sides of the building to go to and from the parking lot and her condo. The walkways both featured a large white column at a 90-degree turn.

The operator of the condo complex retained another company to maintain these common areas. A few months after her surgery, an employee of this company determined that there was a dangerous mold growing on the walkway and that it made the walkway slippery when it was wet. The employee recommended that the condo operator remove the mold to prevent any injuries, but the condo operator did not respond. Later on, the plaintiff slipped and fell on the walkway and suffered a broken leg as a result. She was heading to the parking lot to obtain something from her vehicle.

The defendant responded to the plaintiff’s complaint by asserting that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent and that the plaintiff should have been looking down as she was walking along the wooden walkway. The plaintiff also alleged that she was not aware that it had rained overnight, and the defendant alleged that this too was negligent. According to the defendant, the common duty that individuals have to keep a proper lookout while going about their routine activities applied here and required the lower court to dismiss the claim. The lower court agreed with the defendant and granted summary judgment in its favor.

On appeal, the court reviewed the evidence and determined that the defendant did not offer enough evidence to show that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent as a matter of law. Even if the plaintiff was looking at the wooden boards as she walked the evidence did not prove whether she would have been able to identify the mold before stepping on it. According to photos presented in evidence, the wood only showed a slight discoloration.

If you were injured on someone else’s property you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and related damages in a North Carolina slip and fall lawsuit. This can be an incredibly overwhelming process particularly if you are unable to work or attend to your regular responsibilities. Attorney Burton offers a free consultation to discuss your situation privately and confidentially. Call him today at 833-623-0042 or contact him online to get started.

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