Skip to Content
Contact Form Map & Directions Videos

What To Do If You’re Injured In A Public Place In Florida


Public spaces create community, but they also carry risks. While the expectation is that you will be safe and not exposed to undue risks, this is not always the case. For example, there has been much litigation involving large pallets of food products and household goods placed on top shelves of big box stores which have fallen and injured, or even killed, customers. Not infrequently, people are harmed while visiting sporting events by being hit by a hockey puck or an outfield ball. People can be injured by inadequate ventilation or carbon monoxide poisoning in a car repair shop or by falling at a theater due to hand railings that don’t meet code. People are injured in elevators in high-rise office buildings and bitten by dogs in public parks. You can have hot liquids spilled on you in a restaurant accident or trip over a worn carpet. 

Property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises safely, to remove hazards that could injure guests, and to warn people of potential dangers on the premises. Many premises liability cases involve trip and fall cases or slip and fall cases, such as when an unsuspecting visitor has slipped on water or fallen into a trench on the property and broken a leg. Other common issues related to premises liability include escalator malfunctions, inadequate lighting, and many other similar types of issues.  

The laws involving premises liability are complex. For example, the duty of the property owner depends upon whether you’re there legally or whether you’re a trespasser. And the extent to which you may have been responsible for your own injury is also pertinent.

Florida adopted the “modified” comparative negligence standard in 2023. This standard allows an injury victim to recover damages even if they were partially responsible for the accident. However, the victim’s damages award will be reduced in proportion to their share of the fault. If, however, the victim was at least fifty-one percent responsible for the accident, they would recover nothing. If the matter goes to trial, then the jury will determine the extent to which each party was at fault.

A Brief Summary of Florida’s Premises Liability Law

Florida’s premises liability law aims to protect visitors from harm on another person’s property. Premises liability cases typically involve negligence on the part of the person in charge of the premises. This means that the essential elements of negligence are necessary for a successful premises liability claim.

Any victim of injuries on a property in Florida will have to prove the following:

  1. That the defendant was in control of the premises when or where the plaintiff was injured.
  2. That the plaintiff was on the premises with the owner or manager’s consent.
  3. That the property owner had a duty of care to safeguard visitors on the property, including the plaintiff. 
  4. That the property owner or manager breached this duty of care.
  5. That the plaintiff suffered a compensable injury due to the breach of duty. 

What Should You Do If You’re Injured in a Public Place in Florida?

Inform the Building or Property Manager

It’s not always clear whether this should be the first or second step after you’ve been injured in a public place, but it’s important to inform the property owner or manager as soon as you’ve been injured. Whether it’s in a store, a restaurant, an office building, a public park, a library, or anywhere else that’s a public place, you should inform the manager of the facts of the case and your personal information. You should write down all the information, sign and date it, and if possible, have a witness sign and date it. If you have a phone and are able to take pictures of anything relevant to the injury, such as a broken staircase or lack of lighting, take pictures of that as well.  

Seek Out Medical Attention

Another one of the very first steps that you should take if you or a loved one are injured in a public space is to ensure that medical attention is rendered. The first reason, of course, is to ensure that you are not seriously injured. Often, people believe they have a minor injury, but it worsens within a few days. What was originally thought to be a sore back from a slip and fall turns out to be a serious spinal injury. In seeking medical care, you ensure against the possibility that you are letting an injury become more serious. 

But it’s also important to get medical attention in order to protect yourself legally. If you fail to immediately seek medical care and thereafter bring a lawsuit, the defense can and may argue that your injuries were not the result of the accident in question. Likely, they will argue that your injury occurred after the accident and before you sought care. This can dramatically reduce your settlement or, worse, result in a jury finding against you.

Retain the Services of An Attorney 

As soon as it’s clear your medical situation has been properly managed, you should engage a Florida premises liability attorney to help you with your case. It’s important not to interact with the property owner’s insurance carrier. You should be aware that it is common for a defendant’s insurance carrier to contact an injured party and attempt to convince them not to retain an attorney. Do not follow this advice. The goal of the insurance adjuster is to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible. The insurance adjuster’s interest is directly contrary to yours. 

An attorney, on the other hand, is your advocate, and their goal is to get you the largest settlement possible. It is common for counsel to obtain a settlement offer in situations where the insurer attempts to initially deny liability. 

Let Searcy Denney Help

Our Florida premises liability attorneys have been representing Floridians in premises liability cases for more than 45 years. We have helped our clients get the compensation they deserve in every possible type of premises liability case. Contact Searcy Denney today at 800-780-8607.

Share This

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"The attorneys and staff at Searcy Denney are some of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have met in the legal field. They work tirelessly on behalf of their clients to ensure the best possible outcome. I would highly recommend them for anyone who is seeking excellent legal representation."
Posted By: Lauren Schumacher