When you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a slip and fall incident, the consequences can be severe. Your medical bills can pile up, and a protracted recovery means unplanned time away from work. You may be wondering how to recover your damages or even discern who is legally responsible for your injuries.
Although your situation may look like a straightforward case, showing liability may be more intricate than you realize without an experienced personal injury law firm working with you. This is mostly because you have to prove that the other party is responsible for slip and fall cases.
If you are faced with liability questions in your Florida slip and fall accident, it’s essential to understand what the law says. Once you know who is to blame for your injuries and proceed to prove liability, that is when you may be able to collect your compensation.
Do Business Owners Owe a Duty of Care in Florida?
Business owners are held to a high standard in Florida. They have certain responsibilities under the Florida premises liability law. For instance, they are supposed to inspect their property for any potentially dangerous situations and address those dangers as quickly as possible – or otherwise ensure the guests are aware of such hazards.
If a present danger that results in a person’s injury is something the business owner could have discovered and fixed during routine inspections, the business is said to have failed in its duty to act carefully and reasonably. The owner can be held responsible for injuries suffered on their property, including lost wages, pain and suffering, medical costs, and other damages.
Florida Visitor Status
The level of care a Florida business owner owes depends on the legal classification of a victim; trespasser, invitee, and licensee.
Trespassers who illegally break into a business have little protection under Florida law. A business owner owes a trespasser no real duty to protect a trespasser unless it’s a child involved or the case involved willful injury. In such cases, it’s prudent to consult with an experienced slip and fall attorney to ascertain if your claim is valid.
Public or business invitees are invited onto the property, and the owner owes the maximum duty of care to such people. A customer at a store is referred to as an invitee because they are at the store’s property at the invitation of the store for business purposes. Therefore, stores have a legal obligation to take reasonable, affirmative measures to keep customers away from harm.
Licensees enter a property with the business owner’s permission, either implied or expressed. The owner has a duty not to hurt a licensee deliberately. The very least a property owner can do is to provide proper warnings and fix any known dangers. This classification can be confusing, and it would benefit you if you talked to a premises liability attorney to find out if you qualify as a licensee.
What Are the Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries?
There are several causes of slip and fall injuries. However, the common ones we’ve observed in Florida include:
- Improperly cleaned floors
- Wet driveways or sidewalks
- Spillages on the ground
- Badly kept walkways
What Is Premises Liability in Florida?
The majority of slip and fall accident cases are pursued under a premises liability lawsuit. If you want to win your case, you must show that the responsible party was negligent. Negligence, in this case, means a lack of appropriate care while considering all the facts.
You can do this by proving all of these to be true:
- The defendant leases or owns the property on which you slipped and fell.
- The defendant violated their duty of care toward you, e.g. disregarding a wobbly balcony railing or a cruise ship injury caused by not cleaning a wet and slippery dance floor.
- The defendant’s negligence caused the slip and fall accident.
- This accident resulted in your injuries or losses
What Are Some Examples of Negligence?
Here are some examples of negligence by business owners that can result in a slip and fall:
- Admitting too many people in a space at a time
- Insufficient lighting
- A fallen tree left on a walkway
- Inadequate handrails on stairways
- Failing to clean up a floor following a leak or spill
- Not placing warning signs of known hazards
- Improperly training employees on adequate cleaning and maintenance issues
Is a Store’s Liability Similar to a Private Property Owner’s Liability?
A business owner’s duty of care is different from what a person owes guests who visit a private property for non-commercial reasons. In the case of a private property owner, he or she is required to take the necessary steps to fix known dangerous conditions. This owner isn’t required to look for unknown dangers.
A private property owner won’t be responsible for your injuries if an unknown danger ultimately causes a slip and fall accident. However, the same scenario could assign blame to a business owner if it were to happen at a store. The difference is that you are a licensee at the private property and an invitee at the business store.
Legal Assistance to Navigate Your Slip and Fall Case
It is imperative to note that getting a fair recovery following a slip and fall accident in Florida depends on knowing who is to blame for the accident and proving your case. This implies recognizing what you need to prove liability, and using a personal injury lawyer to utilize evidence to back your claims.
Finding an experienced slip and fall attorney should be a priority in your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Miami-Dade County can help analyze your situation and determine what evidence you need to show negligence.
The legal team at Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A. is ready to help you succeed in your Florida premises liability lawsuit. Contact us today at (305) 670-6144 to schedule a free case evaluation.