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Grounds for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

slip and fall accident photo paramedicts and fallen senior citizenJust because you slip and fall doesn’t automatically mean you can file a slip and fall lawsuit. In order for a lawsuit to be filed, there has to be reasonable grounds for doing so. In Florida, your lawyer will have to be able to prove that your accident was due to a dangerous condition on the property in question and that the property owner knew about the dangerous condition but failed to act in a responsible way to fix or prevent the dangerous condition. The two requirements for a dangerous condition are that the condition presented an unreasonable risk of harm and that a reasonable person would not have anticipated the existence of that condition.

Proving the property owner knew about the dangerous condition goes back to the idea of “constructive knowledge” mentioned in Florida Statute 768.0755 – Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment. In order to prove the “constructive knowledge” clause of the statute, your attorney will have to show one of the following.

  • The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
  • The condition occurred with regularity and was, therefore, foreseeable.

Your attorney has to show that the property owner is liable for your slip and fall accident by convincing a jury that the property owner was negligent in correcting a dangerous situation. For example, if a supermarket has a piece of equipment regularly leaking water onto the floor and the owner fails to repair that equipment, they could be liable for your slip and fall accident. However, if your slip and fall accident was caused by milk that was just spilled on the floor by a customer, the property owner may not be liable for your accident. In either case, you should always check with your attorney.

Understanding Premises Liability Laws

Premises liability laws aim to determine who is responsible when a person is injured on another’s property. Generally, the law holds the property owner liable for accidents that occur on their property. Of course, as with most things in depends greatly on who was injured, how they were injured, and why they were on the property in the first place. With so many variables in play, the safe bet is always to consult with an attorney if you have been injured as an invitee, licensee, or social guest on someone’s property. If you were trespassing at the time of your accident, then you are likely out of luck as property owners are not liable for injuries suffered by trespassers on their property.

Examples of premises liability

  • Spills left unattended or unmarked
  • Dimly lit walkways that encourage falls or criminal activity
  • Elevator malfunctions
  • Wobbly steps
  • Loose Handrails
  • Toxic Chemicals
  • Construction
  • Lack of Security
  • Negligent Security
  • Children falling into swimming pools
  • Holes in flooring, loose floorboards or tiles
  • Equipment or other obstructions in walkways
  • Poor security leading to burglary, assault, or other crimes
  • Unsafe swings or other playground equipment
  • Falling debris
  • Unguarded pools or ponds

Gathering Evidence

 sign can you prove it written on clear glassIn order for your attorney to prove the property owner was negligent, and thus liable for your injuries, evidence must be collected. The sooner to the time of the accident that this evidence is gathered, the better chance your attorney will have to prove your case and get you the financial compensation you need to deal with your pain and suffering. This is why it is vital to your interests that you contact an attorney as soon after you suffered your slip and fall accident as possible.

Your attorney will collect evidence such as eyewitness reports, medical records, and photographs of the injuries you suffered. He or she would also obtain the accident report if the injury occurred in a public place such as a supermarket. He or she may also obtain any police or ambulance records, 911 calls, or any other evidence that could help support your case and prove the property owner liable for your injuries from a slip and fall accident that occurred on their property.

Defining a “Reasonable” Property Owner

Since your whole case will rest on the notion of whether or not the property owner acted in a manner that a reasonable and prudent person would have been expected to act, it’s vital to understand what it means to be a “responsible” property owner. Among things your attorney will evaluate before advising you as to your ability to seek financial relief for pain and suffering incurred as a result of your slip and fall accident are the following.

  • Was the property owner aware of the dangerous or hazardous situation? In other words, did it exists for a long enough time or did someone spill milk a few seconds before you slipped and fell in the milk?
  • Can the property owner prove that there is a standard process in place to examine the premises?
  • Was there a reason for the area to be hazardous and did the property owner take reasonable steps to indicate a hazardous condition existed?
  • Could a warning sign or other blockade or barrier have been put in place to prevent the accident?

Your lawyer will advise you that your own negligence and irresponsible behavior will be taken into account and mitigate, or even eliminate, the property owner’s liability in your case.

Landlord Liability for a Slip and Fall

Florida law does allow for landlords to be held liable for injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident on their property. Generally, this liability is limited to the common areas of the property. Under Florida law, the landlord is required to maintain all common areas of their property and ensure that said common areas are kept in a reasonably safe condition. In order to prove that a landlord knew about a dangerous or hazardous condition, and thus should be held liable for injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident the court will often look at a variety of factors too including how long the dangerous condition existed prior to your accident and subsequent injury.

There are certain circumstances where Florida law also allows the landlord to be held liable for slip and fall accidents within a tenant’s apartment. The most common times when the landlord would be held liable is when a new tenant is moving in and the landlord failed to inform them about a potentially hazardous condition, or when the interior of the apartment is in violation of building or other codes.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident in the Fort Lauderdale area you need a reliable and experienced attorney in your corner. We are here to help you and always off to evaluate your claim for free. This way we can determine if your case is eligible for legal assistance. We will take your information, carefully weigh all of the mitigating circumstances, and help guide you into the right course of action. Should a lawsuit become necessary we will be there with you every step of the way.

 

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Disclaimer

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

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2000 N.E. 45th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000

Email: info@flinjuryfirm.com