How Florida Law Will Apply to Your Slip and Fall
Under Florida law, a property owner may be held liable for injuries that are caused by the property owner’s negligence in maintaining the property or in failing to warn guests and visitors of known hazards. Contact an experienced Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer to help guide you through your claim.
In order to successfully pursue a slip and fall claim, Florida law requires that you prove the following elements:
- That the property owner owed you a legal duty to ensure their property is safe;
- That the property owner breached that duty by either (i) failing to correct hazardous conditions they knew about or should have known about or (ii) failing to warn you about hazardous conditions that could not be corrected; and
- That the property owner’s breach resulted in the accident that caused your injury.
- The first element – that the property owner owed you a duty – is usually easy to establish unless you were trespassing.
Most slip-and-fall cases revolve around proving the second element. Proving that the property owner breached their duty to you and how they breached it can be challenging in most cases, especially for non-lawyers.
However, if you can prove these three elements, you may then be entitled to compensation for your injuries, assuming that you can prove the extent of your injuries and other losses. For example, you will need to submit documentation of your medical expenses, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. An experienced Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have a claim and provide an estimate of what it may be worth. More importantly, they will know how to prove your claim and what evidence you will need.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
Florida is what is referred to as a “comparative negligence” state because Florida law allows injury victims to recover compensation even when their own negligence contributed to the accident. In this situation, your compensation will be adjusted by the amount that your negligence contributed to the accident.
For example, let’s say that you suffered serious injuries when you fell down the stairs at a nightclub. You subsequently learned that other patrons had fallen on the same stairs because the surface was slippery. As a result, you decide to pursue a claim against the property owner because they knowingly and negligently allowed a dangerous condition to go uncorrected on the premises. In response, the property owner claims that you were intoxicated at the time that you fell.
Ultimately, the property owner will have to prove that you were intoxicated and that it contributed to the accident. If they can do that, you will then need to establish to what extent your negligence contributed to your fall. If it is decided that your negligence contributed 40% to the accident, then you will be entitled to receive 60% of the compensation awarded to you.
This analysis involves important legal issues and factual questions that most non-lawyers are unable to identify or address. Rather than risk the compensation you deserve, you should contact an experienced Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer.
What are “Transitory Foreign Substances”?
Many people are injured from falls caused by slipping or tripping due to objects that shouldn’t have been there. For example, the following objects or items commonly result in accidental falls:
- Office supplies left in corridors
- Merchandise is left in the aisles instead of placed on shelves or left in the rear of the store (often a grocery store)
- Construction or renovation materials
- Fallen merchandise
- Clothing and shoes
- Fallen merchandise
- Liquid spills
These are examples of “transitory foreign substances.” In response to concerns that too many slip and fall cases were being brought against businesses, Florida law imposes special requirements on those who have fallen while at a business due to one of these transitory foreign substances. Under Florida law, you must prove the following:
- That the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition; and
- That they should have taken action to correct it.
Actual knowledge is self-explanatory – the business owner knew that the hazard existed. However, the statute goes on to explain constructive knowledge:
- The condition existed for such a length of time that the business owner would have known had they exercised ordinary prudence in maintaining the premises; or
- The condition occurred with sufficient regularity that it was reasonably foreseeable.
For example, wet floors on a rainy day are reasonably foreseeable. Therefore, the business owner should have made an effort to dry the floors or at least post signs warning visitors that the floor was slippery due to wet conditions.
These situations can be complex and difficult to prove – the business owner will typically take immediate action to correct the situation after the accident has occurred. If you have been injured as a result of a transitory foreign substance, a Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer will know how to prove your case.
A Boca Raton Slip and Fall Lawyer Answers Your Common Questions
Was I injured badly enough to sue?
There is no clear answer to this question that applies to all personal injury cases. Generally speaking, however, you should only consider pursuing a claim if your injury requires medical treatment. If you are unsure whether you have a claim, a Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer can provide a free evaluation.
What evidence do I need to prove that the property owner was negligent?
Of course, this will vary depending on what happened in your accident. However, a lawyer may seek to obtain the following evidence:
- Security camera footage
- Statements from witnesses
- Copies of internal accident reports
- Records of past claims
- Photographs from the scene
What are some of the common defenses raised by property owners?
In almost every case, the property owner will assert that they weren’t negligent either because the accident was unavoidable and outside of their control or that they weren’t aware of the hazard. However, in cases where negligence may be obvious, you can expect the property owner to raise one of the following defenses:
- The dangerous condition was obvious
- Your own carelessness or negligence caused your accident
- Your accident occurred on a portion of the property that the property owner did not have a duty to maintain, such as a portion of the store closed to customers.
Even in cases where the property owner’s fault is obvious, it makes sense to work with a Boca Raton slip and fall lawyer because they will be able to anticipate these defenses and overcome them.
Slip and Falls In South Florida Grocery Stores And Supermarkets
For most of us, visiting a grocery store or supermarket is a weekly or even daily errand. As we are collecting the items that we need, we rarely consider the serious dangers that might be awaiting us. Supermarkets contain many hidden and overt hazards, including fallen products, wet or icy floors, uneven walkways, exposed electrical components, or spilled produce. Florida provides a cause of action for people who suffer unexpected injuries because of slip and falls in grocery stores and supermarkets. Although these situations may seem straightforward, there are many elements that the plaintiff must show in order to receive compensation. At The Grife Law Firm, our Boca Raton slip and fall lawyers have aided many South Florida residents with seeking the money that they deserve from a negligent supermarket or grocery store. We have obtained a plethora of six-figure settlements for slip and fall injury victims.
Bringing a Boca Raton Grocery Store Premises Liability Claim
When it comes to seeking compensation after a slip and fall accident, Florida residents may bring a premises liability claim against the supermarket or grocery store where their accident occurred. In general, property owners owe the highest standard of care to individuals invited onto the premises for a business or economic reason, such as supermarket shoppers. When it comes to this class of visitors, Florida law requires premises owners to maintain their property in a good working condition and to repair or provide notice of any known dangerous conditions on the property.
A premises liability claim for a slip and fall on a foreign transitory substance contains specific elements that the plaintiff must prove following a slip and fall in a grocery store or supermarket. First, the plaintiff must show that the owner of the property knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed on the property. In general, a property owner will not be held liable for injuries arising from a dangerous condition on the property of which they did not know and had no reason to know.
This element becomes even more complex in the context of a supermarket slip and fall case. Florida Statutes Annotated section 768.0755 imposes a specific requirement for slip and falls involving transitory foreign substances, such as spilled liquids. In this instance, the plaintiff must show that the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have addressed or repaired it. The plaintiff may prove constructive knowledge by showing that the condition existed long enough that the business, in exercising reasonable care, should have discovered it or that the condition was a regular occurrence and therefore foreseeable.
Next, the plaintiff will need to establish that the property owner did not repair the dangerous condition or provide a sufficient warning to customers about its existence. Finally, the plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered injuries and losses as a result of the dangerous condition. Compensation for a slip and fall in a grocery store or supermarket may cover many types of damages, including medical expenses, ambulance fees, physical therapy costs, missed wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and any future medical expenses arising from the injuries related to the slip and fall.
Boca Raton Attorneys Representing Slip and Fall Victims In Malls and Public Areas
There are many malls and other shopping areas throughout South Florida. Customers usually expect these businesses to provide a safe shopping experience, but unfortunately, many people are injured in slip and fall accidents in stores each year. In many instances, though, the falls are preventable and only occur because of the property owner’s carelessness. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, you might be able to recover compensation and should speak to a lawyer regarding your rights. The dedicated Boca Raton slip and fall lawyers at The Grife Law Firm can bring claims based on slip and falls in malls and public areas.
Causes of Slip and Falls in Malls and Public Areas
Numerous factors can cause slip and fall accidents in a mall or another public area. For example, if a floor has recently been mopped and is wet, it can lead to a fall, especially if no signs warning of the floor’s condition are posted. Similarly, if it is raining, water may be tracked inside by customers, making floors slippery. A floor may also be slippery due to liquid that spilled or leaked onto a floor or debris like food, lotion, or other viscous substances. In some instances, a property owner may be directly responsible for the condition that causes a person to fall, such as when slippery flooring material is used, or a floor is coated with wax or another substance that makes it slick.
Damages Awarded in Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and falls in malls and public areas can cause serious injuries that are painful and cause financial distress. As a result, many people hurt in falls seek damages from the party responsible for a fall in a premises liability lawsuit. Usually, the property owner will be named as a defendant, and the plaintiff will assert a negligence claim. In Florida, a plaintiff alleging negligence must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, the defendant breached the duty, and the plaintiff suffered actual harm that was proximately caused by the breach.
Multiple factors will affect both the duty owed and the evidence that the plaintiff must produce to demonstrate a breach in a case arising out of a slip and fall in a mall or public area. Broadly speaking, business owners have a duty to prevent people who lawfully enter their property from sustaining foreseeable harm. This requires property owners to warn about known dangers and remove any harmful conditions of which they are aware.
In cases in which a fall was caused by a condition that the defendant either created or knew to exist, the plaintiff must produce evidence demonstrating the defendant’s knowledge of the condition and failure to prevent it from hurting visitors. If harm is caused by transitory substances, such as liquid or debris, however, Florida Statute 768.0755 dictates that the plaintiff must show that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition. This requires evidence regarding the length of time for which the substance existed and proof that such conditions were a regular occurrence at the defendant’s business and therefore were foreseeable.
We Can Help with Your Slip and Fall in a Public Place in Boca Raton
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, but often there are reasonable measures that property owners can take to prevent such incidents from happening. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident at a mall or public area, the owner of the property may owe you compensation, and it is advisable to consult a lawyer. At The Grife Law Firm, our premises liability lawyers take pride in helping injured people seek compensation for their losses. We often assist people hurt in slip and fall accidents in the area around Boca Raton, where we have an office. We also represent injured people in lawsuits in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach.
Turn To A Boca Raton Slip & Falls Attorney At The Grife Law Firm
No Fees Unless You Win
If you are suffering from a slip and fall injury, you should contact a Boca Raton slip and falls attorney at The Grife Law Firm to discuss your legal options. We assist injured individuals throughout Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, including in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Call us at 855-998-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
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