Even though the property owner has the legal responsibility of keeping the premises safe for invitees entering the premises, the invitees too have a legal duty to mitigate injuries. Mitigation means doing something to make things less severe. This means invitees have to take reasonable precautions and steps in order to avoid injuries. If invitees fail to do so, it can remove or limit the premises liability of the property owner.
The Victim’s Responsibility
For instance, a shopper slips and falls in a store due to some liquid spilled on the floor. The fall causes a cut on the shopper’s leg. However, since the shopper is in a rush, he does not seek medical attention, and he does not even put a bandage on when he reaches home. If the wound is not worth a band aid, how severe can this wound be? If the victim does not have time to spend 2 minutes putting a band aid on their cut, how seriously was this wound to the victim?
If the cut becomes infected after a few days and has developed into a serious illness, this is the victim’s fault. The shopper or the victim then sues the store making a slip and fall claim. In this case, the shopper should have mitigated the injury by seeking medical attention or attending to the wound immediately. Failure to do so will result in losing the claim or having the reward knocked down severely.
Too Mighty to be Hurt: Vanity
Another example of mitigation would be ignoring a known risk. For instance, in an apartment complex, the walkway is being repaired, and the property owner has posted signs warning people of the dangerous situation, which tells people to take an alternate route. The tenant ignores these warnings and still uses the same walkway that is being fixed and worked on.
While walking he slips on the damaged surface and breaks his leg. Suing will not be of much help, since the case will be ruled in favor of the property owner, who had posted the warning signs. The tenant had failed to heed the warning notices and ignored a known risk, which absolves the property owner of premises liability.