If you were injured because of the dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, do not hesitate to contact the Florida personal injury lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. for a free consultation. You might be entitled to compensation for your medical treatment and other incurred costs from the fall.
A slip and fall can occur on any property at any time of the day. It does not matter if you’re hanging at your friend’s house or shopping at the mall – you could suffer a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. The property owner should adequately maintain every area to prevent an accident. Unfortunately, negligence results in hazards that cause harm to guests.
Slip and fall cases fall under the category of premises liability. This is a type of negligence that holds a property owner responsible when someone gets hurt. The person or entity responsible for maintaining the property must perform routine maintenance, immediate repairs, and remove hazards promptly. If they or their employees don’t uphold their duty to provide a safe place for visitors, they should be liable for resulting losses.
The Florida slip and fall lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. are ready to help you fight for justice and seek compensation from the negligent property owner. Call us at 561.689.8180 for your free consultation to discuss the incident and determine whether you have a case to pursue.
What Is Slip and Fall?
Many people use the terms “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between the two regarding the factors that result in an injury. When preparing a case, you need to know the exact cause to gather the necessary evidence to prove that the property owner was at fault.
A slip and fall accident happens when someone is walking and slips on a transitory foreign substance on the floor, such as a spilled drink. A trip and fall result from a person contacting an uneven surface or encountering dangerous conditions, causing them to miss a step, such as a loose floor tile or inadequate lighting in a stairwell.
Slip and falls often lead to sprained ankles, hip fractures, and other similar injuries from falling backward or forward to the ground. Trip and falls can cause severe injuries because of the body’s instability and sudden downward trajectory. Falling on the knees, hands, and elbows is common, as well as suffering significant head trauma.
Categories of People Involved in Slip and Fall Accidents
Liability for a slip and fall depends on the type of visitor on the property. The three main categories of visitors are:
An invitee is someone who enters another person’s property to conduct mutually beneficial business or upon receiving implied or express invitation from the owner. Examples include:
- Repair person fixing something on the property
- Consumer buying food at the grocery store
Invitees deserve the highest degree of care from the property owner. That means the owner’s responsibility is to provide safe conditions and address any hazards or provide adequate warning of the dangers guests can encounter. This means they should perform inspections on the property and promptly remove, replace, or repair anything that could cause harm to someone.
A licensee is a person entering someone’s property with consent or permission for their interests or the owner’s convenience. This can include social guests, such as friends attending a house party or neighbors asking to borrow something. Owners must maintain a reasonably safe property and warn visitors of hazards they become aware of or fix them immediately.
A trespasser is someone who doesn’t have the owner’s knowledge or consent but enters the property anyway. If the owner is aware of the trespasser’s presence, they must provide a reasonable level of care to prevent injury. If the owner’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence or an employee’s actions cause the trespasser’s injury or death, the owner could be held liable.
However, a property owner is immune from liability if the trespasser suffers injury or death while under the influence of a chemical substance, controlled substance, alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, or any type of substance that affected their normal faculties.
Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
One or multiple people or companies could cause hazards that lead to a slip and fall on private or public property. The most common include:
- Property owner
- Business owner
- An employee of the premise
- Third-party contractor
- Maintenance or repair company
- Leasing company
- Property management company
Although various parties could be at fault for a slip and fall, the property owner is typically liable for the visitor’s injuries and resulting losses. This is said due to the property owner’s responsibility to be aware of the conditions of their property at all times.
For example, if a property owner was to ask an employee to remove debris from a hallway, and the employee did not comply causing someone to fall and get hurt, the property owner is still deemed responsible. In this instance, the owner should have known that the danger still existed and placed a warning sign. However, this does not mean that you cannot pursue compensation from both the owner as well as the employee.
Common Causes of Slip and Falls
A slip and fall case can involve a range of scenarios. The most common causes of these accidents include:
- Wet or slippery floor
- Unsecured cords running across a hallway
- Pothole in the parking lot
- Walkway obstructions
- Cracked or uneven pavement
- Loose floor mats and rugs
- Torn carpeting
- Damaged steps
- Missing or broken handrail
- Poor lighting
These are just some examples of dangerous conditions that can cause injuries. If you were in a slip and fall accident for any reason, you should call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. to discuss the circumstances and find out if you have a case you can pursue.
Common Injuries Suffered in Slip and Fall Accidents
Many people get hurt in slip and falls. The different types of injuries range from minor to severe. Some victims only suffer some cuts and bruises, while others fall hard and require emergency medical care, surgery, and rehabilitation to heal.
The most common injuries caused by slip and fall accidents are:
- Bone fractures
- Torn tendons and ligaments
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Pulled or strained muscle
- Twisted ankle
- Sprained wrist
- Damage to nerves and tissues
- Lacerations to the skin
- Spinal cord damage
- Back injuries
Unfortunately, some accidents lead to permanent damage. You could end up suffering a loss of mobility, chronic pain, or a disability. If you become disabled, it will likely affect every area of your life and cause psychological trauma.
Some victims struggle with depression from an unhealed injury. In some of these cases, the emotional injuries outlast the physical ones resulting in long term consequences.
Compensation Available in Slip and Fall Cases
You could obtain compensation for your losses by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a slip and fall. Examples of losses typically suffered in an accident like this include:
- Medical bills
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Damage to personal property
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, you might be able to recover punitive damages as well. Instead of receiving compensation for your losses, this financial award punishes the at-fault party for their actions. There must be clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s gross negligence or intentional misconduct if you want to receive punitive damages from a lawsuit.
Florida Laws Associated with Lawsuits
A statute of limitations is a timeframe for initiating legal action against another party. Filing a lawsuit requires adhering to this strict deadline. Florida has a four-year statute of limitations, giving you four years from the date of the accident to sue the property owner if you want to seek compensation. If you allow four years to pass without filing suit, you could lose your right to hold the owner liable for your injury.
One particular law could prevent you from pursuing the total compensation you need to cover all of your losses. Pure comparative negligence allows a jury to reduce a victim’s monetary award by their percentage of shared fault. If your actions contributed in any way to the accident, you would be prohibited from collecting the full amount of available compensation from the at-fault party.
For example, if a jury finds that you were 20 percent at fault for the slip and fall and suffered $50,000 in losses, you could only receive a maximum of $40,000. In the event that you share 99 percent blame for the injury you sustained, you could still be compensated, though the maximum you could receive would be $500.
Injured in a Slip and Fall? Call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. Now
The Florida slip and fall lawyers of Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. have more than 40 years of experience helping accident victims reach the best possible outcome in their cases. We understand the devastating consequences of getting hurt on someone else’s dangerous property and how much that can affect your life. When you’re struggling to heal and pay your medical bills, it can lead to significant economic strain. You should not be forced to pay for your expenses if the property owner is entirely at fault for the accident.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida, call Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. immediately at 561.689.8180 for your free consultation and let us help you get on the road to recovery.
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