If someone falls on your property, one of the first thoughts that may come to mind is “will I be responsible if that person gets hurt?” It is not always clear how liability will play out when it comes to slip, trip and fall cases.
When determining liability, certain conditions must be met. For you to be legally liable if someone slipped and fell on your property- you, as the property owner, must have either caused the condition on the premises that resulted in the fall, must have known of the dangerous condition and done nothing about it, or should have reasonably known of the condition that caused the harm.
Many times, this question is one of common sense. A judge or jury will look to whether the owner or occupier of the property took proper measures to keep the property reasonably safe. This question of reasonableness centers on whether the owner makes regular efforts to ensure that the property is up to code and is safe for those invited to come onto the property.
If a dangerous condition has been brought to the owner or manager’s attention, such as a wet or slippery surface in a department store or mall or a supermarket, and nothing was done to correct it, the business will likely be held liable if someone slips and falls as a result.
Sometimes, however, a dangerous condition cannot be quickly fixed. In these situations, if the property owner closed off the area or put a warning sign up but someone still proceeded to walk in that area, the property owner may not be found liable.
This is not to say that you do not have defenses as the property owner if someone falls on your property. For example, if the injured party was in an area of the property that is private and not open to visitors, the injured party may be found to be partially responsible for his or her own injuries.
In addition, if the person’s own carelessness caused the fall, such as the person was not watching where he or she was going or deliberately did not follow safety warnings, the property owner’s responsibility may be limited, or at the very least, reduced.
As a property owner, your liability for a person’s injury on your property can be reduced by the law of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence reduces a person’s award for damages based upon the percentage of fault he or she has in why the accident occurred.
Florida operates under the pure comparative negligence standard which allows an injured victim to receive compensation regardless of how much he or she played in the reason for the accident, even if the injured party’s fault is 90 percent.
When considering the severity of injuries, Florida law focuses on three important factors: (1) your past and future medical treatments for injuries caused by the accident, (2) past and future loss of wages caused by the accident, and (3) your pain and suffering as a result of the accident. The first two factors above are more straightforward and merely require some simple calculation to determine a value. However, how does one measure the value of a person’s pain and suffering? This is the hardest factor to quantify, but often the most important to consider.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN EXPERIENCED SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is extremely important that you sit down with an attorney to discuss your legal rights. The sooner you do this the better. Important evidence (such as photos and video surveillance footage) must be obtained quickly to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. For over 25 years, we have represented families of people injured across the State of Florida in slip, trip and fall accidents. If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident in Florida whether at a shopping mall, supermarket, theme park or at a private residence, call Aronfeld Trial Lawyers for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights as an accident victim.