In Nevada, an owner or occupant of property is not automatically responsible for all injuries resulting from an accident on the premises. To be liable, the injured party must show the harm was a result of the defendant’s negligence (i.e., establish 1- the existence of a duty of care by the defendant, 2- breach of that duty, 3- causation, and 4- damages). The landowner or occupier’s duty is to use reasonable care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn of hidden dangers that are known, or that in the exercise of reasonable care should be known.
Since a foreign substance on the floor is not typically consistent with the standard of reasonable care, businesses are generally liable if a patron can show an employee caused it to be on the floor. However, where the foreign substance is the result of the actions of persons other than the business or its employees, the injured person must usually show the business had either actual or constructive notice of the condition and failed to remedy it. See Sprague v. Lucky Stores, Inc., 109 Nev. 247, 250, 849 P.2d 320, 322 (1993). “Constructive” is not actual notice, but a legal fiction establishing notice by showing the foreign substance was on the floor long enough for the business to clean it in the exercise of reasonable care. However, the business can be liable for injuries caused by non-employees, even without any notice, if the injury occurs in a self-service operation (e.g., produce section of a supermarket), the mode of operation makes it reasonably foreseeable that a dangerous condition will occur, and the owner or proprietor fails to take all reasonable precautions necessary to protect customers from these conditions. See FGA, Inc. v. Giglio, 278 P.3d 490, 128 Nev. Adv. Rep. 26 (2012).
Even if a danger is open and obvious, reasonable care may require remedying the danger if, for example, nearby displays are distracting and the landowner has reason to suspect that the customer will proceed despite the danger. See Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 291 P.3d 150, 128 Nev. Adv. Rep. 71 (2012).
Finally, as in all negligence actions, the injured Plaintiff’s own actions and whether he or she failed to exercise reasonable self-protection in encountering the danger are considered in apportioning comparative negligence when awarding damages. See NRS § 41.141. Please contact Behzadi Law Offices in Las Vegas with questions regarding your potential slip and fall claim.