Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, and at any time. Many times, falls happen through the negligence of the injured person, but other times, they occur because of the negligence of the property owner or business.
Slip and falls can occur at restaurants, malls, water parks, clubs/bars, amusement parks, grocery stores, on cruise ships, and more.
Injuries sustained in a slip and fall can oftentimes be serious enough to require extensive medical tests, such as MRI’s or CAT scans, ongoing physical therapy, surgery, and hospitalization. Treatment can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars and potentially cause a person to miss work or be unable to perform the daily activities they had once done before the fall.
Wet and uneven surfaces, spills, rain, loose mats, rugs, and stepladders are some of the common causes of slips, trips, and falls. In addition, poor lighting, clutter, and improper safety practices can result in slip, trip and fall injuries.
To win a slip and fall case in Florida, you need to establish the property owner or business owner ‘knew or should have known’ of the dangerous condition that caused your fall. Another crucial element to winning your case is defending the argument that the injured plaintiff’s own carelessness somehow contributed to the fall.
Here are some of the most common defenses raised in Florida slip and fall claims.
The defendant was unaware of the dangerous condition. The business or property owner may argue they were unaware of the hazard that led to the plaintiff’s fall and injuries. However, whether the hazard that led to the fall was evident to a reasonable property owner is the question.
The defendant took ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent the accident. Not every fall at a supermarket, restaurant or shopping center is enough to file a personal injury lawsuit. The plaintiff must prove that their injuries were caused by the property owner’s negligence. Property owners must take ‘reasonable steps’ to protect individuals from harm.
The danger was obvious to a reasonable person. The open and obvious doctrine can deflect liability when accidents and injuries are caused by a known hazard. Individuals visiting a property have a duty of care to avoid obvious dangers. The open and obvious defense would fail if building code violations are discovered that led to the accident.
The claim was filed after the statute of limitations. In Florida, a plaintiff has four years from the date of injury to file a slip and fall injury lawsuit. After that date, a person is barred from filing an injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for injuries and damages.
A slip and fall defendant is liable if:
- they knew or should have known about the dangerous condition;
- they are responsible either by causing the hazard or not fixing it in time;
- they had reasonable time to fix the condition or set up barriers preventing access to it.
Consult 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.
As experienced Miami slip and fall accident lawyers, we understand Florida’s slip-and-fall laws and how to hold businesses accountable for our client’s injuries, lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. If you have suffered a slip and fall at a grocery store, restaurant or retail store in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, The Keys or anywhere in the State of Florida it is critically important for you to consult with an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer who will fight to protect your legal rights. When selecting a lawyer- ask them about their qualifications and experience in claims against grocery stores, retailers, and restaurants. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer and our firm, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has successfully represented people and their families in slip and fall claims across the country since 1991. Call us today for a free initial consultation 1-866-597-4529 or email [email protected] and speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your potential claim.