Oregon Slip and Falls
Can I recover for my slip and fall case in the State of Oregon?
Often people slip and fall due to a foreign substance on another person’s property. Many people call my office with the mistaken notion that just because someone is injured on another person’s property that they have a right to recover money for their injuries. In order to recover for injuries due to a slip and fall, you have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the property/business owner actually did something that was negligent. In Oregon, if there is a foreign substance on another person’s property that causes you to fall, you must prove at least one of the following in order to be eligible for recovery:
1) The substance was placed there by the business/property owner, the owners agents or employees; or
2) The business/property owner knew the substance was there and failed to use reasonable care to remove it; or
3) The substance had been there so long that the business/property owner should have discovered and removed it.
Thus, if an owner of a company or one of their employees spills a latte on the floor and you fall as a result, the company would be liable. However, if another customer just seconds prior to your arrival spills a latte on the floor and you fall on the latte seconds after it is spilled while the customer is reporting the spill to management, you probably won’t be able to win your case in the State of Oregon. On the other hand, if a customer spills a latte and the latte has been there so long that it has become sticky and has started to rot, then you would most likely prevail because the business/property owner should have discovered and cleaned it up a long time ago.
Another reason that people slip and fall on another person’s property is due to ice. Many cities in the State of Oregon have statutes that make property owners and businesses strictly liable for injuries due to the non-removal of snow and ice. If your city does not have such an ordinance, then you would have to prove that the business/property owner failed to use reasonable care under the circumstances to remove the snow and/or ice or warn of the dangerous condition if it wasn’t already obvious.
If you can prove that the business/property owner is liable, then you are entitled to have your medical bills reimbursed and to receive non-economic damages for your pain and suffering. If you lost work as a result of the fall, you would also be entitled to either wage loss or lost earning capacity. If the business/property owner did something to intentionally cause you to slip and fall, then you might also be entitled to punitive damages. Unfortunately, pursuant to ORS 31.735, 70% of all sums specifically designated as punitive damages shall be paid to the State of Oregon. Insurance companies obviously have a fantastic lobby here in the State of Oregon.
If you believe that you may have a slip and fall case for which you are eligible to recover damages or if you would like a consultation to determine if your case is worth pursuing, call Clark Law & Associates, L.L.C. at (503) 238-1010 for a free phone consultation on the matter.