If an individual is hurt as a result of a slip-and-fall accident, they may be entitled to recover compensation for injuries sustained. This is especially true where the property owner was negligent in connection with the accident. According to the National Safety Council, it is estimated that 9 million individuals in the United States go to the emergency rooms for injuries from slip-and-fall accidents each year. Some of these accidents can result in serious injuries that can have a severe impact on an individual’s life.
A premise liability action arises when a property owner is negligent in some way which leads to the injury of another person. These types of cases are based on the theory of negligence, which allows victims to be compensated from a defendant if they can establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care, which was violated by some act or omission. Moreover, plaintiffs in a premise liability case must show that it was the defendant’s alleged negligence which caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
A statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on the right to have a lawsuit filed in civil court. When a person suffers injuries from a slip-and-fall accident, they have 4 years from the date of the incident to file their lawsuit in Florida. Almost all personal injury lawsuits, including accidents involving slip-and-falls, are brought and litigated in Florida civil courts.
Once the lawsuit is brought, it must be determined whether a landowner breached a duty of care to a visitor. Florida Statute section 768.0755 applies to cases where a plaintiff is injured after slipping on a “transitory foreign substance,” and requires the Defendant to have actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard. In situations where the Defendant has actual or constructive knowledge, they are required to remedy the hazard. Actual knowledge is most often proven through physical evidence such as cleaning logs or through witness testimony. For instance, a convenience store worker could testify that he knew about the puddle of melted ice, but didn’t get around to cleaning it. On the other hand, constructive knowledge is more difficult to determine because it relies on circumstantial evidence. The statute explains that constructive knowledge can be shown by evidence such as the amount of time the substance was present and the frequency with which this has occurred in the past. These factors support that the property owner could have reasonably anticipated the hazard.
A slip-and-fall accident in Florida is also subject to rules regarding comparative negligence. Florida’s “pure comparative negligence” rule will be used to determine an injured party’s share of legal blame for an accident. Under “pure comparative negligence,” any damage award a personal injury plaintiff receives will be reduced according to the percentage of their fault for the underlying accident. For example, a property owner could argue that the injured party was on a part of the property where visitors are not normally allowed, thus reducing his share of legal blame.
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The knowledgeable attorneys at Wittmer|Linehan have extensive experience dealing with a wide-range of personal injury cases, including slip-and-fall accidents. Call us at (941) 365-2296 to discuss your case today.