Slip & Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident can leave you with serious injuries, excessive medical bills, and the inability to work. If your slip and fall occurred due to a hazard that the property’s owner or management knew about and failed to correct, you may be able to pursue legal action against that person or business. To prove your case and obtain compensation for your injuries, you must first prove legal liability and negligence.
Do not go through this process alone. A slip and fall lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help. Call QBM LEGAL today at +1 (954) 669-0809.
What are some of the most common slip and fall accidents? Who is liable?
Some of the most common scenarios that lead to slip and fall accidents are:
Uneven walking surfaces, such as a broken sidewalk
Unmarked obstacles, such as a step, curb, or extension cord
Wet, slippery surfaces, such as a spill or water leak
Improperly maintained property, such as potholes in a parking lot
Steps or stairs without handrails
Although these are some of the most common situations than can lead to slips and falls, almost any hazardous condition can cause an accident of this nature. Victims may suffer broken bones, dislocated joints, traumatic brain injury, or neck, back, or spinal cord injury.
Your liable party is whoever was in charge of maintaining the property. In most cases, this will be the property owner or manager.
When is the property owner liable?
Under the Florida premises liability law, property owners must maintain their property in a way that is reasonably safe and free of hazards or danger for those who visit. This means that, if the property owner or manager knows — or should have known — about a potentially unsafe situation, they must take quick action to correct it.
If the owner or manager is unable to correct the problem reasonably quickly, he must do something to bring it to the attention to any visitors who might injure themselves. For example, he could rope the area off or place prominent signage in such a way that you can avoid the danger. If he failed to meet these standards, and someone gets hurt as a result, he may be liable for those injuries.
It is important to note that the property owner is only liable if the injured party was an invitee (e.g., customer, contractor working on the property) or licensee (e.g., social guest, someone who came in to use the restroom).
When might a property owner not be liable?
A property owner has no duty of care to a trespasser. This means that if the property owner did not protect a trespasser from a known hazard, he will likely not be liable. This does not mean that a property owner can intentionally cause injury to a trespasser however.
The property owner might also not be liable if you caused your injury. If you were running, engaging in horseplay, or texting as you walked, the court could find that you were at least partially responsible for the incident. Likewise, if you ignored warning signs or you entered an area that was clearly denoted as off-limits, the property owner might be able to deflect liability.
How do I prove the property owner was negligent?
Once you have determined that the property owner is your liable party, you must establish he was negligent. The four elements of negligence that you and your attorney must demonstrate in a slip and fall accident are:
Duty of care: The property owner had a duty to you to maintain the premises free of dangers or hazards that could cause harm.
Breach of duty: The owner breached his duty of care and allowed a potentially hazardous condition to exist on the premises.
Causation: That hazard or condition was the cause of your slip and fall and, subsequently, the cause of your injuries.
Damages: You sustained measurable damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc.).
The biggest challenge in proving negligence in a slip and fall case is demonstrating that the property owner either knew or should have known about the condition.
The standard for whether the owner should have known, the reasonable person standard, looks at whether most owners (or managers, if applicable) would have known about the problem and taken steps to correct it.
How do I find a slip and fall lawyer in Fort Lauderdale?
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer can make a difference in the outcome of your case. A local lawyer that handles slip and fall cases can help explain your rights under the law and provide the guidance and support to help you through this difficult time.
Call us today at +1 (954) 669-0809 to schedule a FREE consultation.