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Slip and Fall Accident May Leave Casino on the Hook

When most of us visit a casino, it’s for an evening of fun and enjoyment. However, for Anthony Caputo, Jr., it was a night of pain and agony. According to a lawsuit filed with the Pennsylvania court system, Caputo was the victim of a slip and fall accident as he attempted to enter the New Cumberland casino operated by Mountaineer Park Inc.

The Suit in Question

According to the lawsuit filed by Caputo’s attorneys, he was a guest of the casino at the time of the incident. He was attempting to enter the casino proper by way of a handicapped entrance when he slipped and fell, causing “severe and disabling” injuries in the process. Caputo alleges that the reason for the fall was that the casino had not done its job properly in maintaining safe conditions for visitors.

Caputo is seeking a jury trial, which may be a sign that his claim is valid. If he were only looking for money, chances are good that he would simply be seeking a settlement. However, a jury trial has the potential for greater monetary rewards, as well as the public shaming of the casino, raising awareness of what would be considered shoddy business practices if the suit is successful. In the suit, Caputo seeks coverage for the ongoing medical costs stemming from treatment of the injuries he sustained at the time, as well as compensation for “mental anguish and aggravation”.

Caputo’s suit is based on the term “premises liability”, something to which all business owners in Pennsylvania are held. Simply put, this is the property owner’s or operator’s responsibility to maintain safe conditions for people entering, exiting or staying on their premises. It can cover things as broad ranging as slip and fall accidents on wet interior floors, the responsibility of the business owner to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of an entrance or exit, and the owner’s responsibility for maintaining the quality of handicapped entrances as well.

In order for Caputo’s lawsuit to be successful, he will need to prove to a jury that the casino was aware of the dangerous conditions, and that they ignored it. He may also have to prove that the owner was notified of the condition but failed to rectify it, leading directly to the injuries in question.

Interestingly, Pennsylvania is one of the states in the country that allows plaintiffs to collect damages for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident or other premises liability case even if they are partially responsible for the accident themselves. Other states, such as Nevada, take a different route. In these states, the percentage of responsibility of the injured party is deducted from the amount awarded. For instance, if a plaintiff is deemed 50% responsible for an accident, then only half the amount sought would be awarded. That’s not the case in Pennsylvania, where Caputo stands to win the entire amount sought even if he’s proven partially responsible and the jury sides with him.

How does partial responsibility work, though? There are any number of examples, but one that could best sum this situation up is if the casino was aware of the problem, and placed a warning sign at the entrance, but failed to actually correct the situation. Mr. Caputo, seeing the warning sign but continuing to use the entrance and thus injuring himself in the process would qualify for partial responsibility.

Whether or not Mr. Caputo wins his case is yet to be seen, as it has yet to go to trial.