North Carolina Court of Appeal Reverses Summary Judgment for Defendant in Slip and Fall Case Resulting in Broken Bones

Slip and fall accidents can lead to devastating and painful injuries for the victim, and they can happen virtually anywhere, even near or at your own residence. In many instances, slip and fall accidents happen because of a property owner’s failure to maintain the premises in a safe and reasonable condition. If you were hurt on a piece of property that someone else owns, controls, or manages, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. At Maurer Law, our North Carolina premises liability lawyers are prepared to help you determine whether you have a right to compensation and the best way to go about pursuing your claim.

In a recent case, the North Carolina Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving a slip and fall accident. The plaintiff in the case slipped and fell on a molded walkway in her condo complex, and she filed a claim for compensation. The plaintiff alleged that she always used a stairway on the side of the building to access her condo. During August 2012, however, the plaintiff was recovering from rotator cuff surgery. The building featured two wooden walkways on either side of the building to get to the parking lot. Each walkway featured a 90-degree turn around a white column.

The building owner contracted with a company to maintain the common areas, including the walkways. In November 2012, one of its employees notified the defendant that one of the walkways was suffering from dangerous mold growth that made the surface slick when wet. She suggested that the defendant power wash the walkways but never received a response. Shortly afterward, the plaintiff used the elevator to go to the ground floor to get her suitcase. She was unaware that it had rained overnight. After turning on the 90-degree angle of the walkway, the plaintiff slipped on the slimy mold and fell, causing her to break her femur.

In response to the complaint, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent and moved for summary judgment. It argued that the plaintiff did not look down while she was traversing the walkway and that she should have been aware that the rain from overnight made the surface more slippery. The defendant also noted that individuals have a common duty to exercise care and keep a proper lookout when going about their daily business. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.

The appellate court reversed and concluded that the evidence failed to establish that she was contributorily negligent as a matter of law. The court concluded that even had the plaintiff looked down while traversing the walkway, it is unclear whether she would have seen the dangerous condition that the mold presented. The photographic evidence of the walkway presented at trial only showed a slight discoloration on the surface.

If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, it is critical that you speak to a dedicated slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether you can seek compensation from the persons or companies responsible. Our diligent team of legal professionals offers a free consultation, so call us now at 1-844-817-8058 or contact us online to get started.

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