If you have sustained physical injuries and/or property damage in a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering how you can prove negligence of the other party. In most cases of slip and falls accidents, proving negligence is challenging, but it is important if you want to up your odds of getting any compensation.
You can possibly prove negligence if there were hazardous or defective conditions on the property, where the accident occurred, and you sustained injuries as a direct result of those conditions. Having said that, you may require proving the following when making a claim:
- The owner of the property owed you a “duty of care”
- The owner breached the duty of care
- The breach led to the accident and/or your injuries
- You have sustained damage as a consequence of the accident
You might be knowing that the injury-causing accident is totally the fault of the property owner. Therefore, in order to receive recompense, you will have to prove the same with solid evidence. A slip and fall injury attorney in Florida can guide you and gather the evidence, necessary to prove the negligence.
Slip and Fall Laws in Florida
Whether you choose to file a claim with the insurer of the property owner, or take the case to trial via a personal injury lawsuit, some specific Florida laws and regulations may apply to your case. The two most important ones are: the statute of limitations, and “shared fault” rules that may impact your right to receive compensation if you hold some responsibility for the slip and fall accident.
Florida’s Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations
This law places a time restriction on the right to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court. If you miss the deadline, your case will be dismissed, unless an exception applies to your case to change or extend that window. It is best to consult with your slip and fall injury lawyer in Clermont to get the details on these exceptions.
In Florida, a slip and fall accident victim must file a lawsuit against the property owner within four years of the accident. This deadline can be found at Florida Statutes section 95.11(3) (a), which is applicable to virtually all types of personal injury cases brought to Florida’s civil courts. Remember that the four-year deadline applies to any lawsuit related to property damage caused due to slip and fall.
Be it an injury or property damage lawsuit, a slip and case in Florida will almost always rely on whether or not the negligence of the property owner led to the accident.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Injury Cases in Florida
If you are filing a claim or lawsuit over your slip and fall injury, be ready to hear from the property owner that you bear some extent of responsibility for the accident. If this trick works for the property owner, you may lose a significant chunk of monetary compensation awarded by the court. Plus, a finding of your shared fault will potentially lower the value of your slip and fall injury claim – even if you try to settle outside of the courtroom.
For instance, the property owner may argue that:
- You were on a section of the property, where visitors are not allowed or expected to be.
- You failed to notice where you were moving (such as, while using a cellphone)
- You were wearing footwear that was either unsafe or not suitable for that situation.
- The risky condition had already been cordoned off using signage and cones (i.e., necessary steps were taken to safeguard employees/visitors).
- The hazardous condition was obvious to you.
If your Florida slip and fall case goes to trial, Florida’s “pure comparative negligence rule” will be used to find out your share of blame for your injury, and the compensation you may still obtain from the other party.
How to Prove Liability or Negligence in Slip and Fall Injury Cases in Florida
Any property owner has the duty to maintain their premises to an acceptable standard and fix any potential dangers in a timely fashion. However, in real world, it can be tough to prove the property owner’s fault. In all probability, they will argue that you had part or all of the fault in the slip and fall accident. So, to prove the property owner’s negligence decisively, you would require proving that:
- The property owner knew the hazardous or dangerous condition on the property
- The owner or an employee was aware of the condition but did not care to fix it
- The property owner was responsible for the dangerous condition
Timing is a crucial factor in slip and fall accident cases. If a risky condition existed for a long time, and a property owner did not bother to take remedial steps or warn visitors of the possible risks, you may have a solid claim.
Dangerous or Hazardous Conditions on the Property
There can be different types of dangerous or hazardous conditions on a public or private property that could result in minor to severe injuries to visitors, including:
- Broken or cracked flooring
- Missing handrails
- Wet or waxed floors
- Uneven steps
- Loose mats or rugs
- Not enough lighting
- Bulging or torn carpets
- Potholes on the sidewalk or in the parking area
- Snow or ice on sidewalks
- Hurdles that may cause tripping
Property owners should ideally eliminate or remedy any risky conditions. Mopping up spills as soon as possible, fixing broken floor in a timely manner, and removing all possible tripping hazards are a few things they can do to make the property safe for everyone. In case they fail to do so, it can possibly render them responsible, should a person sustain injuries while being on that property.
Evidence in Slip and Fall Injury Cases in Florida
To fortify your slip and fall injury claim, you would need to provide clear evidence of the property owner’s negligence along with evidence of your personal injuries and fiscal losses. This may include:
- Accident reports
- Security camera footage
- Witness statements
- Your medical records
- Medical bills
- Receipts of out-of-pocket costs (if any)
- Pictures of the hazardous condition
Recompense in Slip and Fall Injury Cases in Florida
If you or your loved one suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident, you may be eligible to get economic and non-economic damages should you be able to prove that a negligent business, government body, or property owner caused the accident. However, these damages depend on the type and severity of your injuries. Some common types of economic compensation you might pursue are:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Other costs, associated with your injuries
You may also receive non-economic damages, especially if your injuries require extended medical care or have long-term health consequences. These may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
This is not an all-encompassing list, and you may receive different or extra compensation, depending on your slip and fall claim.
Hire a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer in Florida
To fully understand how to prove negligence in a slip and fall case, you best option is to get in touch with a reputed law firm in Florida. Hiring a slip and fall attorney can give you peace of mind that you case will be handled by experts. An experienced lawyer will fight for your rights to recompense while working in your best interests – whether it is about negotiating an out-of-court settlement or taking the case to trial.