It’s a perfectly sunny day. You’ve decided to go to your local grocery store to pick up some apples. You think that a day this crisp and warm deserves a nice, hot-baked apple pie. You’re rounding the corner of an aisle when, suddenly, you go from staring straight ahead to staring up at the ceiling. You’re dazed. All you know is that your vision is blurry, and your head hurts. As you come to, other body parts begin hurting, as well. If you’re the victim of a slip and fall accident, then you need to know what Florida law says about it.
Slip and fall accidents are some of America’s most common personal injury cases. They can result in minor or severe injuries. Surprisingly, very few slip and fall cases make it to court. Over 90% of slip and fall cases settle. Regardless of whether you’re thinking about suing in court or filing a settlement claim, you should consider what all needs to be true to increase your chances of success.
Negligence—To be successful in a personal injury case, you need to prove that the store owner was negligent. In general, a person is negligent when they have a duty to act, fails to act, and that failure is the main cause of your injuries, resulting in damages (bills, pain & suffering).
Here’s an example of what a negligent store owner might look like. The store owner is the owner of the property, so they must keep the premises clean and free of hazardous, dangerous obstacles. If the store owner knows there is a spill on aisle nine, they are obligated to warn you of that hazard or get rid of it. But if the store owner doesn’t take any reasonable steps to get rid of the hazardous spill or to put you on notice that it’s there, and you fall, breaking your knee, then the store owner was negligent.
Premises Liability—Slip and fall cases fall under premises liability laws. According to Florida premises liability laws, any property owner (such as a store owner) owes visitors a duty of care. You are a visitor when you come onto the property for legitimate business purposes, like shopping (or getting a money order). Because you are a visitor, the store owner must:
- Inspect their property routinely
- Remove or repair hazards, or
- Warn you of any hazards that they know or should reasonably know about.
Comparative Fault—Florida has a law called comparative fault. Under this law, each party involved in the case must pay according to their percentage of fault. For example, if it turns out that you’re 15% to blame for your injuries, then you must foot the bill for 15% of your total damages. If you’re no more than 99% at fault, the other party involved must pay for at least some of your damages.
Bodily Injuries And Property Damage
The impact of a slip and fall can be far-reaching. You may suffer a swollen shoulder bone or a sprained collar bone. Your injuries may be so terrible that you even require hospitalization.
However, it does not have to be your body that’s injured. You are entitled to compensation if your property was damaged due to a store owner’s negligence. If your pearl necklace shatters because you fell, you deserve compensation. Even if an inexpensive watch was damaged, you might be entitled to compensation for that, as well.
It’s not fair that you’re stuck with expensive bills if the store owner was negligent. You only have four years to file a slip and fall claim, so don’t be like a negligent store owner. Don’t fail to act. Act now and call Koberlein Law Offices for a free consultation at 877.556.2889 (toll-free) or contact us online today.
Defenses The Store Owner May Use
Whether it’s a settlement or trial you’re seeking, the store owner may raise various arguments to reduce your compensation. The store owner may say:
- the part of the store where you were injured isn’t an area where visitors are allowed
- the hazard was so obvious that barriers or a warning weren’t necessary
- you weren’t paying attention to what you were doing, and that’s why you fell
- they did take reasonable steps to remove or repair the hazard, such as by setting up cones or announcing the hazard over the loudspeaker
- they didn’t know about the hazard, and it was unreasonable for them to know
Florida Slip And Fall Lawyers
Although a slip and fall case may seem straightforward, it’s rarely that simple. Insurance agents will fight back, hoping to give you as little as possible. You’ll want Florida slip and fall attorneys who’ll fight just as aggressively on your behalf. Call Koberlein Law Offices toll-free at 877.556.2889 or contact us online.