A slip and fall accident can turn an everyday errand into a catastrophe. You could find yourself with medical bills, serious injuries, and weeks or even months away from work. If your accident occurred on someone else’s property and the owner knew about the hazard, you could be due compensation.
But to win damages, your case must prove the property owner’s negligence caused your injuries. This requires evidence collection, case building, and more. A Jacksonville slip and fall lawyer at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help you pursue damages from a negligent property owner. Call today: 800-747-3733.
How does the cause of my slip and fall affect liability?
Among the most important aspects of your slip and fall case is proving the cause. Our case must establish not only what caused your accident (e.g., you slipped in a puddle on the grocery store floor) but the source of the hazard that caused your slip and fall (e.g., the staff failed to clean up the spill in a timely manner).
Here are some common causes of slip and fall accidents:
Wet floor surfaces: Even if the property owner did not personally spill something onto the floor, there still exists a duty to regularly monitor and address any spills in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if another shopper spills a liquid in a grocery store, and the spill sits on the floor for 20 minutes before you slipped and fell, the grocery store may be liable for not warning of and cleaning the spill in a timely manner.
Unmarked obstacles: Property owners have a duty to mark hazards like curbs, wires, and other obstacles that a reasonable person would not expect. Failure to do so could leave the responsible party liable for a trip or slip and fall.
Poorly maintained property: Property owners must keep their properties reasonably maintained. This includes addressing issues such as potholes, crumbling asphalt or concrete, and downed trees or wires that can become slip or trip hazards.
Steps without handrails: Failing to install handrails may constitute negligence, as it ignores a common and expected safety mechanism to prevent falls. A property owner that fails to install or fails to repair handrails may be liable for a fall.
If you fell on someone else’s property due to a hazard the property owner failed to address, talk to our slip and fall lawyers in Jacksonville at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine. We will examine the details of your case, identify the cause and contributing factors, and determine the best way to proceed.
When is a property owner NOT liable for a slip and fall accident?
Not everyone who slips and falls on someone else’s property can recover compensation. Defendants in slip and fall cases often attempt to claim the victim was not on the property legally, thus creating a legal argument regarding the victim’s “status” at the time of the accident.
Property owners owe a duty of care to invited guests like customers, employees, business guests, or social guests. But they have limited responsibility to trespassers, per Florida Statute § 768.075.
So, for instance, if a trespasser slips and falls in an unmarked puddle on the property, the property owner may not be liable. That said, a property owner cannot set up traps or take other steps to intentionally injure a trespasser.
If the defendant argues you were trespassing at the time of the accident, our case will aim to prove your status was that of an invitee or licensee, to which the property owner owes a duty of care.
Further, the injured party’s behavior at the time of the wreck might affect liability. For example, defendants might argue that the victim was texting at the time of the accident, thus negligently failing to pay attention to surroundings. If the defendant is successful in arguing this point, the insurance company or court may consider the victim comparatively negligent, thus reducing the settlement or judgment in proportion to the victim’s percentage of fault.
Our lawyers will interview eyewitnesses, secure video surveillance and photographs, and may even call upon expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf in order to refute accusations of trespassing or comparative negligence.
What should I do to help my slip and fall accident claim?
Seek medical care: Our lawyers will rely on your medical records to help prove a connection between your injuries and the accident as well as to prove the value of your damages. Even if you feel okay, visit a doctor for an evaluation. You might have an injury that doesn’t present symptoms right away. This is important not only for your health, but for your claim too. If you wait too long to seek medical attention, the defendant might argue your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
Save any photos, videos, or notes from the scene: Make copies of any photographs or videos you took of the scene. If others took photos or videos, ask for copies or give us the contact information of these witnesses so we can secure the evidence. We also advise writing down the name(s) of the property owner, manager, or any other people present (witnesses, store employees, etc.).
Contact a Jacksonville slip and fall attorney: Call us at 800-747-3733 as soon as possible. The sooner we become involved in your case, the sooner we can act to secure evidence, request evidence that is in the possession of the property owner, and start building your case.
The consultation is always free and you do not pay us unless you recover compensation. Contact us today to speak to a slip and fall lawyer in Jacksonville: 800-747-3733.