What You Must Prove in A Slip and Fall Injury Claim

slip and fall lawsuit proving fault

It’s easy to assume that when a slip and fall accident at a business results in an injury, the property owner can be successfully sued for damages and the victim can receive compensation. The truth is that it’s challenging to prove a slip and fall injury claim and, in some cases, the simple fact that an injury occurred doesn’t necessarily mean someone should rightfully be held liable. In addition, there are cases in which negligence or carelessness is not a factor and, therefore, no one is legally at fault. There are even cases in which the slip and fall accident victim is found to be partially at fault.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident that you believe was caused by another’s negligence, it’s important to understand the conditions and laws that apply to proving fault. It’s also important to contact our experienced slip and fall lawyers for advice specific to your individual case.

Any type of premises liability case, including slip and fall injury claims, can be very complex. Below are some of the most important factors involved with such personal injury claims.

Determining Liability

Property owners and/or operators have a “duty of care” and are required to take “reasonable care” to keep their properties safe for the public. If they don’t, the property owner (or his or her employee or agent) may be held liable for damages because they failed to act as a reasonably careful or prudent person would have acted in the same or similar circumstances that led to the accident.

So, for a property owner to be held legally responsible for a slip and fall accident victim’s injuries, certain conditions typically must be proved:

  • Duty of care—It must be proved that the owner of the property or business who invites the public to the property owed a duty of care to the person who was injured.
  • Cause—It must be proved that the property owner or business owner caused the victim’s injury because they failed to use the aforementioned reasonable care to maintain safe conditions on their property.
  • Reasonable care—It must be proved that the business or property owner did not take reasonable care to maintain the property.

As you can see, it’s difficult to discern the nuances that can be involved in defining and successfully proving negligence. As an example of the challenge of proving reasonable care, let’s say a person leaving a checkout line slips and falls on a liquid that was spilled by another customer who checked out before them. How soon should a store employee have recognized the dangerous condition? How soon could they have known of the danger? Once they knew, how much time should they have been allowed to clean it up? In another example, if there was a loose rug on a slippery floor inside the doorway of a business, how quickly should a property owner or operator become aware of the danger the rug posed and how soon should they have been expected to remedy the situation? Circumstances such as these are why having an expert slip and fall attorney at your side is critical to recovering the compensation you may rightly deserve.

Comparative Negligence

In Florida, we have what’s known as a pure comparative negligence standard. This means that the amount of compensation a slip and fall accident victim can recover is limited by the amount the victim herself was negligent. In other words, a person may be found to be partially at fault and a percentage will be assigned to that fault. If a slip and fall accident victim is found to be 30 percent at fault for having been walking and texting before running into poorly stacked boxes and being injured, for instance, compensation can be reduced by 30 percent. Regardless of whether a person is partially to blame for their injuries, it’s common for the defendant’s attorneys to look for any opportunity to place at least some responsibility on accident victims, so it’s critical that a strong case is made on your behalf.

Florida Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations

According to Florida Statutes section 95.11(3)(a), you must file a claim against a property owner within four years of the date the slip and fall injury occurred. This isn’t the only reason to promptly consult a slip and fall lawyer, however—any witnesses to your accident may not have clear memories even weeks later, and you may have sustained injuries that are not immediately obvious. If you believe that negligence may have been a factor in injuries you have sustained in a slip and fall accident, you can receive a free no-obligation consultation, so please don’t hesitate to call us or contact us online.

The Visitor’s Legal Status

One factor that will be examined in a slip and fall or premises liability case is the legal status of the person who was injured. Under Florida law, there are “public invitees” and “business invitees,” both of whom are considered to have been “invited” to visit a property that’s intended to be open to them, such as a store. These two types of visitors will be owed a safely maintained environment while on the owner’s property. Other types of visitors, such as trespassers who are on the property without invitation may have very little protection under Florida law.

Put Expert Slip and Fall Lawyers On Your Team

Expert preparation of your slip and fall case can make the difference between receiving a fair settlement for your injuries or putting your financial health at risk when the costs of treating and recovering from your injuries begin to mount.

If you believe negligence was a factor in your accident, schedule your free consultation now, before you make any statements to or communicate with any insurance companies, attorneys or any other representatives of the property where you had your accident. Our experienced slip and fall attorneys are ready to help—call us anytime at 904-251-1111 or 800-251-1111, or complete the “Do I Have A Case” form at the top of this page.