You may have a personal injury lawsuit if you recently slipped and fell due to hazardous property conditions. In other words, if any factors (e.g., spill, object) cause dangerous circumstances and result in a person acquiring injuries, they have the right to file a lawsuit. The property owner may potentially be held responsible for any compensation needed to cover any injuries, pain, and suffering.
Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Cases
The statute of limitations, or amount of time you have to file a lawsuit, is four years in Florida. Therefore, a person will have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury case. However, attorneys recommend that you file sooner than later because litigation can sometimes lead to finding other guilty parties.
Awards for Damages
The two variables that determine the amount a personal injury lawsuit is worth include the severity of the injury and the defendant’s liability. When it comes down to it, the lawsuit’s point is to gain compensation for any damages (e.g., medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income).
Degree of Injury
A great example of how awards for damages can be heavily based on the degree of injury is a 2019 case in Tallahassee. After acquiring injuries from slipping on water leaking from a convenience store’s ice bin in 2016, the woman needed physical therapy and multiple surgeries to cope with the damages. Her medical expenses rack up to $111,000, and her doctors anticipate that her future medical bills can rise to about $350,000. In the end, the court awarded her 1.9 million dollars for the lifelong pain and permanent damage she will have to deal with forever.
The defendant is not automatically liable (at fault) just because someone falls. Instead, the plaintiff must prove a level of negligence and the fact that the property owner failed at maintaining the premises. Because proving liability may be challenging, you should take proper documentation after experiencing a slip and fall accident. Take pictures of the unkept area as this can help your attorney create a stronger case in your favor.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to warn people of any hazardous conditions on their property. These warnings may include signage over wet floors or blocked off areas. However, you must prove your injury stemmed from the defendant’s negligence to have a successful premises liability slip and fall case. As stated above, you must take pictures of the area and even request any security footage the defendant may possess. However, they will most likely not provide this unless an actual lawsuit has been filed.
Most of the time, courts will award damages because the property managers (defendants) are aware of the hazardous conditions and fail to prevent accidents. In the Tallahassee case above, the ice bin’s water spilling caused another accident before the plaintiffs. However, they failed to put up proper signage or warn their customers of the danger.
Constructive notice is the concept that the defendant should be aware of the property’s conditions. If a property manager failed to have their premises regularly inspected, this could be considered negligence. Even though they were not aware of the dangers, they are still liable for any injuries caused by their property’s condition. This argument is valid in court because there is a reasonable expectation by people that the property should be safe.
Contributive negligence is the idea that both parties are at fault for the accident. For example, a person cannot prove a property owner’s sole liability if they clearly saw an object and tripped over it anyway. In this case, it is no longer the property manager’s fault alone. In Florida, there is a basic understanding and expectation that every person should make any effort necessary to keep themselves safe. So, improper shoe wear or distractions from a phone are all valid arguments the court will consider when holding both parties partially responsible. The jury will decide how much a person is responsible for their slip and fall accident, and the court will adjust the verdict accordingly.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Injuries
Injury Assistance Law Firm is a personal injury claims lawyer in Orlando. As an Orlando personal injury lawyer, we know what it takes to win a case against an insurance company, and we can provide you with all the help you need to feel confident in your case. If you are interested in learning more, contact us today.