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Slip and Fall Accidents

Let a Highly Regarded Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer Fight for Your Compensation

Trust a Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer to Help With Your Accident Claim

Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida?  You might be entitled to sue and recover damages under Florida premises liability law. However, bear in mind that slip and fall litigation can be somewhat more complicated than it initially seems. Slip and fall cases involve unique issues. Below, we will discuss the types of challenges you are likely to encounter as you move forward with litigation. To get the most relevant information related to your specific situation, contact a Florida slip and fall lawyer today.

Slip and Fall Sign at Business

The Complexities of Slip and Fall Claims 

Property owners/possessors in Florida have a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for premises entrants.  This, naturally, covers slip and fall hazards such as uneven surfaces and spills.

With Florida slip and fall claims, the duty to inspect and correct a dangerous condition of the property is often the main source of conflict.  Even if the property owner admits that the hazard caused the trip and fall accident, they are likely to argue that they did not know about the hazard and that they could not have reasonably “discovered” the hazard before you fell. 

Convincing a judge or jury that the property owner or manager was in the wrong requires careful, persuasive argumentation from skilled Florida slip and fall attorneys.

Suppose that you slip and fall in a Florida restaurant.  Liquid spilled from one of the tables, causing a puddle to form on the floor and thereby creating the slipping hazard that you encountered.  Based on video footage, the spill occurred about an hour prior to the slip and fall accident. The defendant restaurant owner might argue that it was not enough time for their employees to inspect the floor and clean up the hazard.  You could argue, however, that in the restaurant business, hourly inspections are quite normal, so the spill should have been discovered had the restaurant owner implemented and properly executed an hourly inspection system. Through this failure to inspect and correct the slipping hazard, you could ostensibly impose liability.

Top 5 Causes of Florida Trip and Fall Accidents

Several factors can contribute to a slip and fall accident in Florida. Below are the five most common reasons behind slips and trips:

    1. Wet surfaces caused by spilled liquids, freshly mopped or waxed floors, or oil leaks
    2. Uneven surfaces, including cracks, potholes, improperly secured rugs, and loose floorboards
    3. Unmarked hazards
    4. Debris or other objects on the ground that a property owner failed to clear
    5. Weather conditions

While it may seem like these are all obvious hazards that any responsible property owner should address, trip and fall cases are often more complex. In order to prove negligence, a Florida slip and fall lawyer has to prove the following: 

  • Property Owner Responsibility and Liability: Property owners/possessors in Florida have a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for premises entrants. The owner knowingly breached his duty of care and allowed a potentially hazardous condition to exist on the premises.
  • Establishing Causation and Damages: That hazard or condition was the cause of your slip and fall and therefore was the cause of your injuries.

There are additional personal injury laws and statutes unique to trip and fall claims in Florida, and our attorneys can help you build the strongest possible case.

Who Is Liable for Your Slip and Fall Accident?

When pursuing a claim for a slip and fall accident, one of the first questions that must be answered is, “Who is liable?” While the property owner will be liable in many cases, property owners are not always liable, and it is imperative to pursue a claim against the right party.

So, who is liable for your slip and fall accident in Florida? When we investigate your case, we will explore the possibility of pursuing claims against:

  • The Property Owner – Property owners in Florida owe varying duties to invitees (social guests), licensees (business customers) and trespassers. If you slipped and fell because the property owner breached its duty to you, then the property owner deserves to be held accountable for your injury-related losses.
  • The Business Owner – Many businesses lease their premises from other companies. If you slipped and fell at a business, the business owner may be liable instead of the property owner. Some examples of businesses that commonly lease their premises include retail stores, gyms, restaurants, doctor’s offices, private schools and wholesalers.
  • A Maintenance or Cleaning Company – If a property or business owner hired a maintenance or cleaning company to help keep its premises safe, then you could have a claim against the maintenance or cleaning company if your fall resulted from this company’s negligence. For example, if a maintenance company performed a faulty flooring repair, or if a cleaning company failed to put up signs to warn of a slippery floor, this may provide the grounds for your claim.
  • A Contractor or Subcontractor – Contractors and subcontractors can be held liable for negligently installing unsafe walking surfaces and flooring materials. This includes unsafe sidewalks, stairwells, pool decks, carpets, tiles and hardwood floors (among many other examples). Contractors and subcontractors can also be held liable when their employees create slip and fall hazards on construction sites.
  • A Flooring Material Manufacturer – In some cases, victims of slip and fall accidents will have claims against flooring material manufacturers. If you slipped and fell on a flooring material that was defective (i.e. a tile that becomes unreasonably slippery when wet), then the manufacturer may be “strictly liable” for your losses under Florida law.

How Do You Identify the Defendant (or Defendants) in Your Case?

When you need to file a claim for a slip and fall accident, knowing who you might be able to sue isn’t enough. You need to know the specific party (or parties) that are liable for your injuries. So, how do you identify the defendants in your case?

Determining who you can sue for a slip and fall accident requires a comprehensive investigation. To protect your legal rights, you will need to promptly engage a law firm to investigate all possible causes and evaluate all potential claims for just compensation. Some of the types of evidence your law firm may be able to gather to identify the defendant (or defendants) in your case include:

  • Forensic Evidence from the Location Where You Slipped and Fell – Slippery flooring materials, stains on the floor and various other forms of forensic evidence could all be available to help prove liability.
  • Security Camera Footage – If your fall was caught on camera, the footage could be key evidence in your slip and fall accident case.
  • Eyewitness Testimony – Eyewitness testimony can also serve as strong evidence of liability in slip and fall accident cases.
  • Construction or Maintenance Records – Construction records or maintenance records may show that a construction company or contractor is liable for your injuries.
  • Emails and Other Documentation – Internal emails and other forms of documentation may also be available to prove that a defendant knew (or should have known) that the location where you fell was dangerous.

Any photos, videos or information that you can provide will be helpful as well. If you took photos or videos with your phone, you should be sure to keep these to share with your law firm. It is also a good idea to write down everything you can remember about your slip and fall. The more details you can provide, the more you will be able to help your law firm seek the financial compensation you deserve.  

What if I Fall in My Home?

Many slip and fall accidents occur at other people’s homes. This includes accidents that occur at parties and private pools, during playdates, and while children are with their babysitters. When a slip and fall accident occurs at a private residence, the homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance policy will typically apply.

In Florida, homeowner’s insurance policies and renter’s insurance policies both typically provide coverage for liability claims. This includes liability claims arising out of slip and fall accidents. As a result, rather than suing a homeowner or renter directly, recovering just compensation for a residential slip and fall accident usually involves filing an insurance claim. Like other types of liability insurance claims, these claims settle without going to court in most cases (when they are successful).

Damages a Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Pursue

Florida enforces the doctrine of “modified” comparative fault, which describes the relationship between fault and liability as distributed between the involved parties. Slip and fall victims can sue and recover damages even if they are partly responsible for their own injuries. However, you cannot recover damages if you are found to be more at fault then the defendant. 

In the “modified” comparative fault system, each party is assigned a percentage fault for the injuries caused.  This percentage is then used to allocate damages liability.

How does this work in practice?  Consider the following example.

Suppose that you are injured in a slip and fall accident scenario where you did not fall in a way that could “break” the fall properly.  The damages total $100,000.  The court assesses fault and determines that, under the circumstances, you are 20 percent at fault, and the defendant property owner is 80 percent at fault.  Given the facts, you would be entitled to a maximum recovery of $80,000, or 80 percent of the total damages.  

Injured While Visiting Florida? You Have Two Years to File A Claim

In Florida, victims of slip and fall accidents only have two years to file a lawsuit against the property owner. In addition to “modified” comparative fault, Florida has other unique requirements for slip and fall cases. Since time is of the essence, it is important to work with a slip and fall attorney who understands the legal process for making claims for compensation in Florida.

5 Things to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

Were you injured in a slip-and-fall accident? If so, there are some steps you should try to take as soon as possible. These steps are important for protecting your health and your legal rights.

To maximize your chances of fully recovering from your injuries and recovering the full financial compensation you deserve, here are five things to do after being injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida:

1. Go to the Doctor

If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident and you haven’t seen a doctor, you should go to the doctor immediately. If you can’t get in to see your primary care physician, go to an emergency clinic or your local hospital. Not only do you need to get treatment for your injuries, but you also need to document their timing and severity. Making sure your medical records link your injuries to your accident is a critical step for recovering just compensation.

2. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Once you see a doctor, you need to follow your doctor’s advice. If your doctor tells you to rest, you need to rest. Don’t go to work, don’t go to the gym, and don’t go out with your friends on Friday night. Right now, you need to prioritize your recovery. While this might not be fun, it is extremely important, and you will be glad you followed your doctor’s advice once you get through the recovery process.

Similarly, if your doctor gives you any prescriptions, you should get your prescriptions filled as soon as possible. If you don’t fill your prescriptions, the liable party’s insurance company will try to use this against you.

3. Record the Details of Your Slip-and-Fall Accident

After you get the medical treatment you need, you should sit down and record the details of your slip and fall accident. You can either take written notes or record yourself with your phone. Either way, you should record everything you can remember, from the weather and lighting conditions to the specific hazard that caused you to slip and fall.

4. Keep Track of Your Financial and Non-Financial Losses

When you get injured in a slip-and-fall accident, your losses can add up quickly. To help ensure that you are able to recover your losses, you should keep track of them as best you can. Keep any records you receive from your healthcare provider and employer, keep your receipts (and avoid paying with cash when possible), and take notes daily to document how your injuries negatively impact your life.

5. Talk to an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer

To recover just compensation for your injuries, you are going to need an experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyer on your side. To give yourself the best chance of recovering just compensation, you should talk to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. When you have a slip and fall accident claim, you shouldn’t have to pay anything out of pocket, and you shouldn’t have to pay anything at all unless your lawyer helps you obtain a settlement or win your case in court.

FAQs About Slip-and-Fall Accidents in Florida

In Florida, which accidents are categorized as slips and falls?

Under Florida law, an accident is categorized as a slip and fall if it occurs on either: (i) business premises, (ii) public property, or (iii) someone else’s private property. In other words, if you slipped and fell anywhere other than your own home, you could have a slip and fall claim in Florida. To file a claim, you need to have injuries from your slip and fall—and you need to be able to prove how and when you got injured. Due to these requirements, it is important that you see a doctor and talk to a slip-and-fall lawyer as soon as possible.

What are the common injuries resulting from slip-and-fall accidents in Florida?

While slip and fall accidents in Florida can result in all types of injuries, some of the most common injuries are soft tissue injuries and bone injuries. These include injuries such as:

  • Muscle and tendon strains
  • Ligament strains
  • Muscle, ligament and tendon tears
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone fractures
  • Bone dislocations

Concussions are fairly common slip and fall injuries as well. These traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can either result from hitting your head on the ground or hitting your head on another object (i.e., a chair or table) during your fall.

Where are slip-and-fall accidents more likely to happen in Florida?

In Florida, slip and fall accidents are more likely to happen in locations that haven’t received proper maintenance. Over time, flooring materials such as wood and tile can become slick and dangerous. Failure to clean up spills and place cones around puddles can put visitors and guests at risk for injury as well. These maintenance issues can lead to slip-and-fall accidents on all types of premises, from stores, restaurants and hotels to government offices and private patios.

Is the store always responsible if I experience a slip and fall incident while shopping in Florida?

While the store isn’t always responsible, it will be responsible in many cases. Store owners in Florida have a legal duty to ensure that their premises are safe for their customers. If a store fails to address a known slip-and-fall hazard—or even if a store fails to promptly identify a slip-and-fall hazard—it can be held fully responsible in the event that this failure leads to a customer’s injuries.

When might the store not be responsible? One example is if you injure yourself intentionally. If you see a hazard and fall on purpose with the hopes of filing a claim, you aren’t entitled to financial compensation.

What are the consequences if I slip-and-fall while at work in Florida?

If you slip and fall while at work in Florida, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation covers most employees (though independent contractors generally aren’t covered), and most employers are required to provide coverage.

But you could also have a claim outside of workers’ comp. Finding out if you have a claim outside of workers’ comp is important—because workers’ comp benefits don’t cover all of the costs of slip and fall injuries. Our slip-and-fall accident lawyers can provide a comprehensive assessment of your legal rights, and we can help you seek the maximum compensation available.

Is it challenging to provide evidence for a slip and fall case in Florida?

It is challenging to provide evidence for a slip and fall case in Florida. For this reason, it is important that you do not try to handle your case on your own. Instead, you should hire an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer to represent you. When you hire a lawyer to handle your slip and fall case, your lawyer will gather all of the evidence that is available, present the evidence to the liable party’s insurance company, and use the evidence to negotiate for a favorable settlement on your behalf.

If I am involved in a slip-and-fall accident in Florida, does my reason for being on the property matter?

Yes, if you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident in Florida, your reason for being on the property matters. This is because slip-and-fall accident victims have different legal rights under different circumstances. Generally speaking, business customers and patrons have the most rights, while trespassers have the least. To find out what rights you have, you should discuss your case with an experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyer as soon as possible.

What kind of damages can I claim in a slip-and-fall lawsuit in Florida?

If you have a slip and fall lawsuit in Florida, you can seek damages for all of your injury-related losses. This includes financial losses such as medical bills, other out-of-pocket costs and lost wages. It also includes non-financial losses such as emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

What is the expected amount of compensation for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident in Florida?

The amount of compensation you can expect to receive after a slip and fall accident in Florida depends entirely on the facts of your case. This includes facts such as where you fell, why you were on the property, whether you are partially responsible for your own injuries, and how your injuries impact your day-to-day life.

I am currently out of work due to my injuries and can’t afford an attorney. What are my options?

If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you can afford to hire an attorney. How do we know? Because hiring a lawyer for a slip-and-fall claim costs nothing out of pocket. Your lawyer will represent you on a contingency-fee basis, which means that your legal fees (if any) will be calculated as a percentage of your settlement or verdict if your case is successful. 

Contact a Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer at Searcy Denney for a Free Consultation

Here at Searcy Denney, we are a results-oriented firm.  Over the years, our personal injury lawyers have litigated thousands of lawsuits and have achieved significant results, having secured billions in compensation through negotiated settlements and trial litigation.

If you’d like to learn more about our services and whether your slip and fall claim is actionable under the law, we encourage you to call us at 1-800-780-8607 or complete an online intake form to speak with the seasoned Florida slip and fall lawyers at our firm.  Consultation is free and confidential, and there is no obligation to continue if you decide against litigation.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"Nick DeBellis obtained the maximum recovery of full insurance limits in the case we worked on. He is a true professional and recommend him to anyone in South Florida."
Posted By: Michael Geoffroy