If you have been injured in an accidental fall that was someone else’s fault, you may wonder whether you can make a legal claim to recover your losses. After all, a slip and fall injury can lead to medical bills, lost income, and additional losses.
Can you sue someone over injuries you suffered in a slip and fall accident?
First, it’s not an unusual question here in Florida. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury-related hospital admissions in our state, the Florida Department of Public Health says. Unintentional falls are the leading cause of death among Florida seniors ages 65 and older.
A single night’s stay in a Florida hospital can cost you anywhere from $1,612 to $2,265, according to an annual national survey.
Second, you are right to consider a legal claim after a slip and fall. Property owners of all kinds, even homeowners, have a legal responsibility to maintain property in reasonably safe condition for those who visit their homes and businesses. When a business owner disregards this duty, such as by failing to clean up a spill in a grocery store or ignoring a pothole in a parking lot, anyone on the premises legally who is injured by the hazard has the right under Florida premises liability law to seek compensation for their losses.
The North Tampa premises liability attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC can help you explore whether you have a right to pursue a slip and fall lawsuit. We offer a free initial legal consultation to discuss your legal options.
Were You on the Property Legally?
If you were trespassing, it will be more difficult to pursue a claim unless there are extenuating circumstances. The defense can easily argue that you should not have been there to get hurt in the first place.
What Was the Hazard that Caused You to Fall?
In slip and fall claims, the legal community looks at what’s called the “open and obvious” doctrine. If you were hurt by an obvious hazard that any reasonable person would have realized they should have avoided, such as an open pit at a construction site, then the property owner may not be liable for your injuries.
This does not automatically apply to young children who cannot be expected to recognize hazards. If your child has been seriously hurt in a fall or any premises (property owner) liability accident, you should absolutely have a lawyer review the accident.
Was Your Slip and Fall the Property Owner’s Fault?
When a fall hazard occurs at a store, mall, office, or another private or public place that essentially invites visitors, the property owner has a reasonable amount of time to deal with it. They are expected to repair or remove the hazard, or put out a warning that would be sufficient to alert a reasonable person.
Did a Property Hazard Cause Your Fall and Injury?
You have to be able to point to a specific danger that existed. You have to show that the hazard caused you to fall, and that the fall resulted in your injury. The fall-injury connection depends on the specific factors in your accident. Our attorneys will investigate your slip and fall accident and gather evidence to show how the hazard lead to your injury.
Did the Hazard Exist Because of the Property Owner’s Negligence?
Can you show that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard, but failed to take steps to fix the problem? Property owners are expected to inspect their premises routinely for hazards and address them in a reasonable amount of time.
What is “reasonable” may be a point of dispute. A store manager wouldn’t be expected to clean up a spill within seconds of when it happened. On the other hand, a spill should not go unnoticed for hours. Our attorneys may be able to show through witness testimony or security camera footage that a spill was left untouched for an unreasonably long period of time.
Property owners also are expected to warn adequately about hazards that cannot be quickly corrected. What constitutes an adequate warning may be disputed. The warning has to be located so as to be clearly visible.
Were You at Fault for Your Fall?
Each of us has some responsibility for our own safety. If you were negligent or reckless, and this contributed to your fall, this could affect or prevent your claim. If you were engaged in horseplay or any unsafe activity, it could damage your claim. But even if you were partially at fault, that does not necessarily prevent you from seeking compensation.
Florida personal injury law operates under a doctrine of pure comparative fault. Accidents are often due to negligent behavior on the part of multiple parties. Each party should be held accountable for their portion of the blame. If a court decides you are 40 percent at fault for the accident, your award would be reduced accordingly but you would still be compensated.
As your attorneys, it would be our job to recognize how you might be blamed for the accident and work to mitigate the damage that argument might do to your claim.
Were You Substantially Injured in the Accident?
Typically, a slip and fall lawsuit seeks compensation to cover the injured person’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Our attorneys handle injury claims on a contingency fee basis. We are selective about the cases we accept to ensure each client we represent receives our full attention. If we can move forward with a claim for you, we will do so aggressively.
Our initial consultation is free. If you have been injured in a fall caused by the property owner’s negligence in Brooksville, Lutz or North Tampa, contact Holliday Karatinos Law Firm today. Our premises liability lawyers want to help you.