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Could Building Code Violations Help You Win Your Slip & Fall Injury Lawsuit?

By David Boehrer | Posted on April 24, 2020

Proving a property owner violated Nevada’s state building codes could mean the difference between a slip and fall attorney winning or losing an accident case. Even though a building code violation might exist, the onus is on plaintiffs and their attorneys to prove negligence has occurred under premises liability.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability refers to legal claims that are filed with the intent to hold a property owner liable for injuries and damages caused by their failure to maintain their properties, advise visitors or tenants of potential hazards, or follow local, state, and federal building codes. The most common types of premises liability cases are slip and fall claims, railing failure claims, and swimming pool injury claims.

What Constitutes a Possible Building Code Violation in Nevada?

Building codes are essential to maintaining safe buildings and facilities. They are minimum standards that property owners have a duty to ensure that their properties always maintain compliance .

In Nevada, building code violations are addressed in the Nevada Administrative Code. A building code violation could be as simple as:

  • Broken steps or staircases
  • Broken handrails
  • Fire code violations
  • Wet floors without warnings
  • Falling ceiling pieces
  • Handicapped accessibility issues

The Four Elements of Negligence

To prove that a property owner is guilty of a building code violation, the four elements of negligence must be presented to support the plaintiff’s injury claim.

1. It must be shown that the property owner failed in their duty of care to avoid harming others. The owner has a duty to take reasonable steps to keep their property safe.

2. It must be proven that the breach of duty occurred. This shows the owner did something wrong or failed to do what reasonable owners would do under the same circumstances.

3. It must be shown that the property’s owner’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries and losses. For example, an injured party slipped on wet flooring because no warning was posted.

4. Lastly, the plaintiff has verifiable injuries. Documentation, such as medical bills, medical records, and statements of lost wages are considered proof of injuries.

Why is Proof of a Violation Needed?

Without proof that a violation of the state’s building code exists and is responsible for an injury, a claim for compensation can become the property owner’s word against the victim’s claim. Proving liability in a code violation case differs from a strict liability case where an injury is caused by a defective product. With strict liability, the defective product serves as solid proof of the manufacturer’s negligence.

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