In Florida, the laws governing slip and fall accidents, often referred to as “premise liability laws,” mandate that property owners maintain their premises in a condition free from known or obvious hazards. If you can demonstrate that your fall was due in part to a property owner’s failure to fulfill this obligation, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Florida Premises Liability Law
Florida law outlines the duty of care owed to a customer and a social guest. A person who enters a property for business purposes (such as a store customer) is considered an invitee. Invitees are granted the highest level of protection compared to social guests or trespassers. Property owners must take reasonable care to ensure that areas open to customers are devoid of any potential defects that could result in injury.
Property owners must address dangerous conditions or post warning signs. They also are expected to regularly inspect the property. The property owner may be liable if he or she didn’t know about a hazard but should have discovered it through proper diligence.
Licensees are people such as friends or neighbors who enter a property for their own benefit. Property owners have a duty to warn social guests of known dangers.
The Transitory Foreign Substance Law
Florida Statute § 768.0755 governs slip and fall claims from “transitory foreign substances” at a business. A transitory foreign substance is a liquid or object that isn’t supposed to be there, such as a banana on a floor or spilled water.
The law requires a plaintiff to prove that a property or business owner not only failed to reasonably maintain the premises in a safe condition but also knew or reasonably should have known about the hazard. For example, a lawyer may demonstrate that a spill in a grocery store was there long enough that management should have discovered and cleaned it up.
Proving Fault for a Slip and Fall Accident
In order to demonstrate negligence in a slip and fall case, it’s necessary to show that the incident was a result of the property owner’s negligence. The owner isn’t responsible for every accident that happens on their property, only those they could have reasonably prevented. Here are some strategies to provide evidence of negligence in your slip and fall case.
Record the Incident
Photograph the scene and any visible injuries. These images can provide essential evidence of the conditions that caused your fall. If there were any security or surveillance cameras that might have recorded the incident, try to secure this footage as it can be a valuable piece of evidence.
Maintain Physical Evidence
Preserve any clothing and footwear that you were wearing at the time of the slip and fall. These items can help illustrate the circumstances of your fall and the severity of your injuries.
Identify Conditions of Negligence
Typical conditions of negligence that lead to slip and fall accidents include failure to clean up liquid spills, poor lighting, exposed wires on the floor, slippery flooring surfaces, cracks or holes in flooring, debris or objects in walkways, uneven floors, and tears or pulls in the carpet.
Establish the Property Owner’s Awareness
You need to demonstrate that the property owner should have been aware of the danger that led to your fall. Once they’re aware or should have known about the condition, the owner has a duty to correct the hazard and ensure the safety of their premises.
Demonstrate Failure to Warn
In addition to the responsibility to fix potentially hazardous conditions, a property owner also has a duty to warn visitors or customers of possible dangerous hazards. If they fail to post an appropriate warning sign and someone falls and suffers injury, the store should be held liable for all injury-related losses.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, a slip and fall injury lawsuit against a property owner must be filed within two years of the incident. This deadline, found in Florida Statutes section 95.11 (3) (a), applies to nearly all personal injury cases brought in Florida’s civil courts.
Call Our Slip and Fall Lawyers in Hollywood, Florida
According to Florida premises liability law, a property owner is liable if they were negligent in keeping their property free of hazards and conditions that can cause slips and falls. Negligence doesn’t have to be intentional so long as it occurs when the person responsible should’ve been aware of the risk to others.