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Can a premises liability claim be filed if the victim was intoxicated?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2023 | Premises Liability

Trips, slips and falls happen all the time. And while most slips and falls end with nothing more than minor bruises and dirt on the victim’s clothing, some can result in life-altering injuries. If someone trips, slips and falls while on your property, then they might hold you liable through a premises liability claim. But what if they were drunk when the accident happened?

If someone is hurt on your property whilst drunk, you might argue that they do not have a case against you. After all, they made the decision to drink and, therefore, the resulting consequences are on their head. However, this may not be entirely true. 

Is the slip-and-fall victim at fault if they are drunk?

If the slip-and-fall victim was drunk when the accident happened, they will need to prove that you failed in your duty of care towards them. Keep in mind that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. On the other hand, you may argue that the danger in question should have been obvious to them or that they ignored the warning signs.

What the law says

It is possible for both parties to bear some liability following a slip-and-fall accident. Remember, Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that the plaintiff cannot recover damages if their contribution to the slip-and-fall accident that resulted in their injuries is greater. 

Here is an example:

Perhaps, the plaintiff’s judgment was impaired and this caused them to ignore a clear warning sign such as a “Slippery Floor” sign. Likewise, if, thanks to impaired judgment, they overlook a “Construction Site” sign and end up in a restricted area, then they may bear a greater responsibility for the accident and the resulting injuries. 

Slip-and-fall cases can be extremely complicated, especially if alcohol is involved. If someone files a premises liability claim against you, it’s in your best interest that you explore your defense options.