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Slip and Fall Accidents

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

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

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

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 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.

Claims Involving Slips and Falls in Florida Homes

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).

Calculating Damages in Florida Slip and Fall Claims

Florida enforces the doctrine of “pure comparative fault” (otherwise known as pure comparative negligence), which describes the relationship between fault and liability as distributed between the involved parties.  Pure comparative fault allows slip and fall victims to sue and recover damages even if they are partly responsible for their own injuries — in fact, you can be 99 percent at fault and still bring an action to recover the one percent attributable to another party.

Under the pure 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 50 percent at fault, and the defendant property owner is 50 percent at fault.  Given the facts, you would be entitled to a maximum recovery of $50,000, or 50 percent of the total damages.  This maximum damage recovery would not change if there were multiple defendants — only if fault was allocated differently with respect to your own contribution.

Injured While Visiting Florida? You Have 4 Years to File A Claim

In Florida, victims of slip and fall accidents only have four years to file a lawsuit against the property owner. In addition to “pure 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.

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