Slip and fall accidents account for over eight million trips to the emergency room per year, making up the leading cause for ER visits. In some cases, resulting injuries are serious and require extensive or on-going medical care.
If you’ve had a slip and fall accident or were otherwise injured on someone else’s property in the state of Florida, you may be entitled to compensation.
The question to ask is: Does my case fall under the umbrella of Florida’s premises liability laws?
Read on to find out more about Florida’s personal injury laws and whether or not you have a case.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that dictates that property owners have a certain responsibility to maintain a safe property. In Florida, this applies both to residential and commercial properties. If unsafe or defective conditions exist on the property, the owner must then provide reasonable notice to warn visitors of these conditions.
When premises liability laws are violated, the injured party may file what is called a personal injury claim. In order to prove this violation, the injured party must be able to demonstrate that the owner neglected to address the unsafe conditions.
What Injuries Qualify Under Florida’s Premises Liability Laws?
Not all injuries that occur on or in another person’s Florida property qualify as a premises liability violation. The truth is, the actual type or source of injury isn’t as important as the reason the accident occurred.
You must be able to prove that the property owner failed to address issues on their property either with repairs or a reasonable warning to their presence. This doesn’t mean that you have to prove that they were aware of these conditions.
In some instances, what we refer to under Florida law as “constructive notice” comes into play. This entails that while the property owner didn’t know about the unsafe conditions, they should have.
Slip and fall cases are some of the most common personal injury claims. In the state of Florida, there are often cases involving unsafe swimming pools, dog bites, and medical malpractice.
How Do I Win a Slip and Fall Case?
If you believe that your injury was caused by negligence on the part of the property owner, you may have a valid personal injury case. The first thing to do is to speak with a personal injury lawyer. In the meantime, let’s talk about some of the legal requirements and evidence you should take into consideration.
Statute of Limitations
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you want to file a personal injury claim is the statute of limitations. In the state of Florida, you have four years from the point of injury to file your claim. There are occasional exceptions for instances when the extent of the injury was not made apparent right away, but these are rare.
Although you have four years, it is best to file your personal injury claim as soon as possible. It is much easier to build your case if you start early.
When you slip and fall on someone else’s property, make sure that you take pictures of the surrounding area. Document the source of your injury and the lack of warning. For example, if you’ve slipped due to a wet floor, take pictures of the moisture and the surrounding area to show that there are no wet floor signs in sight.
Some business owners may have caught the incident on surveillance cameras. However, most will not want to release those tapes until they are ordered to by the court. Having your own documentation will make it easier for your attorney to take on your case based on your word, alone.
Establishing Your Need for Compensation
After the accident occurs, seek medical attention and keep track of any resulting medical bills. If you are required to stay home from work, keep records of your reduced hours and reduced pay, if any.
In addition, you will want to keep track of your medical record. This includes diagnoses, medical advice, and any indications from your healthcare provider that your injury is going to cause longterm issues.
The objective is to establish that the accident caused significant suffering, both physical and financial. Depending on the nature of your case, your attorney will fight for compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and any other damages resulting from the accident.
In the state of Florida, contributive negligence, also referred to as comparative fault, can come into play. Contributive negligence becomes relevant when the injury resulted not just from the property owner’s negligence, but from yours, too.
For example, let’s say that the surveillance footage reveals that there were no wet floor signs warning you of the wet floor. However, it also caught you looking at your cellphone, rather than the ground.
In this case, the jury might decide that the accident is 50% the property owner’s fault and 50% your fault. In that case, you would receive up to 50% of the damages you were asking for.
Receive the Compensation You Deserve
If you have recently been injured on someone else’s property in the state of Florida, make sure you’re familiar with premises liability laws. There is a good chance that you deserve some amount of compensation for the damages you’ve endured.
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