Maybe your tenant or customer suffered a fall and is suing you. There are several slip and fall defenses and they can be grouped into three general categories.
The affirmative defense
This defense says the victim knew in advance there was risk involved in a course of action. Another term for this is Volenti Non Fit Injuria, which makes you sound smarter while saying the same thing.
A good example is a fan sitting behind the dugout at a baseball game and being struck by a foul ball. A spin-off of the affirmative defense is the “choice of ways” defense, which argues the victim had an alternate path available to them.
The open and obvious defense
This doctrine says the danger was clear to any reasonable person. Related defenses are arguments like “lack of hazards,” which apply to a case where a customer slips on a drink spilled by another patron. The defendant may cite the cleanliness of the store and their reasonable protocols for cleanup as proof they are not liable.
Another strategy is the “minimal defect” defense. This often arises in cases of a sidewalk crack. The defendant may argue the defect was not substantial enough to cause the accident. All of these arguments presume the plaintiff’s injury came about through a lack of common sense.
Comparative and contributory defense
The plaintiff knows they bear some responsibility, but depending on the laws of their state, damages may be subject to what level of responsibility is assigned.
Maybe the grocery store knows understaffing resulted in the spilled drink lingering longer than it should have. Or the landlord had been meaning to fix that sidewalk crack, but never got around to it. The plaintiff is prepared to shoulder their share of the blame, but does not feel taking all financial responsibility is fair.