Kentucky Slip and Fall Laws

After a slip and fall in Kentucky, understand the statute of limitations and the comparative negligence rules that could have a big impact on your case.

By , J.D.

If you're injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else's residential or commercial property in Kentucky, it may make sense to explore your options for getting compensation for your losses -- especially when the property owner's negligence played a part in the accident.

A number of Kentucky laws and legal rules will almost certainly affect any lawsuit you decide to file over your slip and fall. Two of the most important of these are the statute of limitations deadline for filing a slip and fall lawsuit in the state's courts, and the "comparative negligence" rule, which can limit your right to recover compensation if you bear some amount of responsibility for the accident. Even if you're pretty sure your case will reach a personal injury settlement out of court, you still need to keep these state laws in mind, so read on for the details.

The Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations in Kentucky

A statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on your right to have a lawsuit heard in a state's civil court system. Specific time limits vary depending on the kind of case you want to file.

As with the majority of states, the statute of limitations that applies to a slip and fall case in Kentucky is almost always the same one that applies to any kind of personal injury case. Specifically, Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(a) gives you one year to turn to the state's civil court system for a remedy after any kind of personal injury where someone else is at fault. That's a pretty small time window.

So, in the context of a slip and fall, if you want to file a civil lawsuit against the property owner or some other party who was responsible for the condition of the property on which you were injured, that lawsuit will be subject to this one-year filing deadline, and the "clock" starts running on the date of the accident.

What if you only had your personal property damaged as a result of the slip and fall (maybe you broke an expensive watch or phone but were uninjured)? Any lawsuit seeking the repair or replacement of damaged property must be filed within two years of the date of the underlying incident, and that time limit can be found at Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.125.

Learn more about premises liability and proving fault for a slip and fall.

If you don't get your slip and fall lawsuit filed before the deadline passes, you can count on the property owner asking the court to dismiss the case once you do try to file it. In some rare instances, the statute of limitations clock may pause or "toll," giving you more time to get your lawsuit started. Talk to an attorney for the details on these exceptions in Kentucky, and whether they might apply to your situation.

Even if you think your injury claim will be resolved through a settlement, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get a lawsuit started, and talk to a Kentucky attorney if you're running up against the filing deadline.

Comparative Negligence in Kentucky Slip and Fall Cases

You're making a slip and fall claim, only to hear the property owner argue that you bear some amount of responsibility for the accident.

A defendant who raises this argument is relying on Kentucky's "comparative negligence" rule. Kentucky Revised Statutes section 411.182 codifies this concept. We'll summarize this statute here, rather than excerpt it, since there's a lot of "legalese" to cut through.

In any kind of personal injury case in Kentucky, including slip and fall cases, under section 411.182 the jury or the court will first decide the total amount of the injured plaintiff's damages (medical bills, lost income, etc.). Next, the share of each party's fault (including the injured plaintiff's) will be assigned a percentage. Finally, the court will set the injured plaintiff's damages award (the amount he or she will receive from other at-fault parties) in line with those percentages.

So, even where the plaintiff is found to be at fault, they can still get compensation for their injuries, but the amount of compensation they can receive will be reduced in accord with their share of the fault.

So, let's say the jury finds that you are 30 percent responsible for your slip and fall. They also find that your damages (including your medical bills and lost income) total $10,000. That will leave the property owner on the hook for $7,000.

Even if your case doesn't make it to trial -- even if a lawsuit isn't actually filed, for that matter -- Kentucky's comparative negligence rule will still be a factor. After all, during settlement negotiations, the other side is concerned with what might happen if your case does wind up in court. So you can expect any settlement offer to reflect their view of the part you played in causing the slip and fall.

Now that you understand the rule, what kind of arguments can you expect to hear? In a slip and fall case, some common "comparative negligence" allegations include:

  • The claimant was in a part of the property where customers or visitors aren't expected to be (or where they aren't allowed).
  • The dangerous property condition should have been obvious to the claimant (or it was cordoned off by cones and signs).
  • The claimant wasn't paying sufficient attention to where he/she was walking (they were using their phone, for example).

Learn more about comparative negligence in slip and fall cases.

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