In Florida, if you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to receive compensation. The success of the case depends on demonstrating the property owner’s negligence (or in some cases, the renter’s negligence). This is known as “premises liability.”
Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of owners to maintain an environment that is safe and free from defects that could be hazardous. There are several kinds of premises liability — homeowner liability, renter and landlord liability, and business owner liability.
Types of Hazards
Whether you are injured at a private home, a public place such as a mall, amusement park, or restaurant, in a hospital, at your place of work, or at a rental property, there are certain types of hazards that often constitute negligence on the part of the property owner or renter:
- Icy or snow-covered walkways, driveways, and parking lots that aren’t cleared in a reasonable time
- Broken pavement, curbs, or steps
- Slippery or wet floors
- Loose flooring, mats, or carpeting
- Poorly lit pedestrian areas
- Spills that aren’t cleaned up quickly
- Missing or broken handrails
- Improper maintenance of equipment, buildings, elevators, etc.
- Landscaping or plants that block one’s view or create a hazardous condition
- Code violations
- Lack of warning signs in known potentially dangerous areas
- Construction areas that are not roped off
- Any hazards that the owner was made aware of but did not act on
What You Need to Do
In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations to file a claim. There are some exceptions to this rule, so please see my article, When Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida for more details.
Though you have some time, the sooner you act the better, because you will need to collect as much evidence as possible to support your case. This includes:
- Pictures of the premises and the hazardous situation
- Eyewitness accounts
- Statements of admission from the property owners
- A log of everything you were doing before, during, and after the accident
- Medical bills due to the accident
- Loss of income due to the accident, demonstrated by pay stubs, taxes, etc.
- In some cases, property damage from a slip or fall may also be claimed (for instance, your fall caused the damage of a valuable antique you had on your person)
As soon as you are able, find a reputable, expert attorney who specializes in personal injury and slip and fall cases.
I emphasize reputable, because not only do you need to trust that your lawyer is working for you and not for his or her own personal gain, you also need a lawyer who is respected in the community and is recognized by insurance companies as successful and ready to fight for his or her clients. These are the lawyers that the insurance companies don’t want to tangle with.
As a well-respected personal injury lawyer who really cares for my clients, I fight for the “little guy” against big business and insurance companies throughout Florida. I will review the evidence you have collected and determine what other avenues we can take, what additional evidence is needed, and what the best arguments will be for your particular situation.
Be On Your Guard
Insurance companies may try to pressure you to settle for a low amount. Do not be pressured before you talk to an expert lawyer.
Insurers have fine-tuned arguments to make it look like it was your fault: you were in an area that visitors are not expected to be; you were not invited; you were not paying attention; you were wearing the wrong shoes; you should have recognized the situation was dangerous.
Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state, which means that a jury will apportion the settlement based on your level of responsibility for the injury. In a settlement, the defendant’s lawyers (usually hired by the insurance company) will take this into consideration when negotiating a settlement. Whatever the argument, I will be prepared with compelling counter-arguments to get you the very best settlement or court award possible.
Call me today to see how I can help you recover damages for your medical costs, lost income, and pain due to someone else’s negligence.