One common type of personal injury claim is slip or trip and fall. Slip and fall claims arise when an individual is on the property of another, and loses their footing due to some hazard on the property and suffers an injury. While the name may seem limited to claims where the injured person literally slips, slip-and-fall claims actually include most types of trips or falls that result in injury.
Common causes of slip and fall injuries include:
- Tripping over an unexpected out of place object in the victim’s path;
- Stumbling over an unexpectedly uneven or sloped surface;
- Falling caused by a hole or low spot in flooring; or
- Slipping in a liquid on the floor.
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere at any time. Whether it’s a puddle at the grocery store or a frayed doormat on the floor of a restaurant, if you are injured due to the negligence of a business owner, Florida law allows you to recover for that injury.
When Can I Recover?
Not every fall that takes place on the property of another entitles you to compensation. Under Florida law, a land or business owner must keep their property in reasonably safe condition for all those who are invited onto the property. This means that if you are playing soccer in your neighbor’s backyard and trip on a tuft of grass, you will likely be unable to sue for slip and fall damages.
In order to recover, you must be able to show:
Duty of Care – In order to recover, the business or property must owe you a duty of care. Generally, if you are invited onto a property, the owner owes you the duty to keep the property reasonably safe as discussed above. Anytime a business is open for business it is assumed they are inviting you in. If you are trespassing, you may not be able to meet this requirement.
Reasonable Care – Next, you must be able to show that the owner did not use reasonable care to keep the property safe. This is likely where the argument will be. What is “reasonable” in any particular situation is a question of fact and will be decided based on the unique evidence in your case.
Injury – It is not enough to show simply that you have suffered an injury. You must be able to prove that the injury you suffered happened because of the unsafe condition on the owner’s property.
Knowledge – This element was added in 2010 by the Florida legislature and now makes it more difficult to recover under Florida slip and fall law.1 However, this requirement only applies if the slip and fall took place in a business establishment. The new rule requires that, in order to be able to recover against the owner, the owner must have had “actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.” Knowledge can be shown by proving:
- The dangerous condition existed for such a long period of time that the owner should have known about it; OR
- The condition happened regularly, therefore the owner should have been able to foresee it.
As with the reasonable care analysis, the knowledge element will be determined based upon the specific facts of your case. While this element does make recovering against a business more difficult, a skilled personal injury attorney can ensure you get all of the compensation you are entitled to.
Like most other Florida personal injury cases, if you intend to file a suit based on a slip and fall injury, you must do so within 4 years.2 If you wait longer, your claim will be barred and the court will not hear you.
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation!
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact a Clearwater personal injury attorney right away. Florida tort law allows victims to recover compensation for injuries and other losses that they may experience as a result of a preventable accident. A lawyer familiar with litigating Florida personal injury cases can often help victims recover substantially more compensation than they would be able to retain on their own, so it is highly advisable for anyone injured in an accident to discuss their options with an experienced lawyer.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765