How Florida Law Will Apply to Your Trip 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. 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 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.
Turn To A Boca Raton Slip & Falls Attorney At The Grife Law Firm
No Fees Unless You WinIf you have been injured because of someone else’s careless actions on the water, you should contact a Boca Raton boat accident attorney at The Grife Law Firm to find out more about 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. We also are available to assist people who need a cruise ship accident attorney when they are injured on vacation.
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