Florida law imposes a legal duty upon businesses and property owners to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, to correct dangerous conditions about which the business or landowner either knew or should have known, by the use of reasonable care, and warn their customers of dangerous conditions about which the Defendant had, or should have had, knowledge greater than that of the injured party. When employees or management of a business fail to correct a dangerous condition which they knew or should have known about or fail to warn their customers of a dangerous condition, slip and falls, trip and falls, and other accidents often occur resulting in serious personal injuries.
The attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys have successfully settled and successfully completed jury trials for our clients in premises liability cases, slip and fall cases, and trip and fall cases for more than 30 years. We are proud of our successful track record holding businesses and their insurance companies accountable for their negligence and recovering millions of dollars for our clients who were injured by the careless and negligent conduct of property owners, business owners, and their employees.
See our Slip-and-Fall Injury FAQ.
The Prevalence of Slip and Fall Injuries
A slip-and-fall accident can occur almost anywhere – at home, work, school, or while playing. Common locations for accidents include grocery stores, offices, parking lots, schools, amusement parks, restaurants, apartments, shopping malls, and many more. While property owners are responsible for upkeep at the locations, visitors also need to be aware of their surroundings. In other words, if you are the victim of a slip-and-fall accident, make sure that you were taking the necessary precautions to avoid injury.
The wide range of injuries caused by a slip and fall accident can take weeks or even months to heal. Just some of these include all types of twists and sprains, broken bones, torn tendons or ligaments, pulled muscles, strains, spinal or spinal cord injuries, head injuries or concussions, bruises and cuts, brain injuries, bleeding, loss of consciousness, and even paralysis or death.
The attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients through settlements and jury trials in slip and fall, trip and fall, and other premises liability cases against businesses and property owners throughout Florida, including:
- Grocery Stores
- Retail Stores
- Apartment Complexes
- Bars, Restaurants and nightclubs
- Private Homeowners
Our Tampa Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall Attorneys Represent Injured Clients in Premises Liability Cases Involving:
- Liquid on the floor or wet floor
- Transitory foreign substance on the floor
- Slippery floor surface
- Ice on floor
- Uneven floor surface
- Falling merchandise
- Insufficient lighting
- Insufficiently lit walkways or staircase
- Poorly maintained sidewalks and parking lots
- Poorly maintained or unsafe staircase and steps
- Boxes or merchandise left on the floor
- Trips over torn, wrinkled, uneven rugs and mats
- Insufficient or negligent security
- Dog bites and attacks
- Assault and battery
- Sexual assault
Our Injury Attorneys Have Helped Clients Recover Compensation For:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disability and physical impairment
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
Building a Solid Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Although a victim might immediately want to hold the property owner responsible, the owner might contend that they were not liable. For example, if another visitor to the facility dropped a banana peel on the ground and you tripped on it five minutes later, the property owner could not have prevented that. In fact, the property owner might insist that the victim should have stepped over the banana peel.
However, you can take proactive measures to back up your claims and show that the other party was responsible. The following steps will help you protect your rights after an injury-accident. First, seek immediate medical attention, depending on the severity of your injuries. Next, report the incident to a property manager or owner on site in order to begin the documentation process. This shows that you followed the standard protocol after the incident. You will also want to take pictures. In today’s world with easy access to cellphones and cameras, almost everyone can take out an electronic device and snap a picture or even a video. Include pictures of the following: the injury, the reason for the injury, an overview of the area, and any missing warning signs.
If witnesses saw what happened, ask for their contact information. After the accident, take the time to either record your version of what happened or to write it down as soon as possible so that you will not forget important details. Finally, put the clothes and the shoes you were wearing in a safe place in case the physical evidence on them can help in a potential lawsuit.
Florida’s Transitory Foreign Substance Law in Florida Slip and Fall Cases
Effective July 1, 2010, the law in Florida regarding slip and fall cases involving a transitory foreign substance is found at Section 768.0755, Florida Statutes. If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. A transitory foreign substance would be something like a spilled liquid, trash on the ground, etc. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing either (1) that the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or (2) that the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
What About Florida’s Comparative Fault Law?
What if the business owner or their insurance company claims that you were partially at fault, and contributed to your own injuries? Section 768.81, Florida Statutes provides that in a negligence action, such as a slip and fall case, comparative fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and noneconomic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.
In other words, Comparative fault means that your financial recovery in a personal injury accident can be reduced by any percentage of fault that is assigned to you. It also means that even if you were primarily at fault, you can still recover compensation for any percentage of fault that can be assigned to the business that caused your slip and fall or trip and fall accident.
For example, suppose a slip and fall results in $100,000 in personal injury damages. If the Defendant business owner was found by the jury to be 90 percent at fault and you were found to be 10 percent at fault, you could still recover $90,000 in personal injury damages from the business owner. And if the Defendant was found to be 10 percent at fault and you were 90 percent at fault, you could still recover $10,000 in personal injury damages from the property owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is responsible if I fall at a store?
The owner of a store is reuired to keep their property reasonably free from dangerous hazards. If you fall because of a hazard at a store, like a slippery floor or a tripping hazard, then you can make a claim for any injuries. Florida law also gives the property owner a chance to fix any problems that come up within a reasonable time. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you need an attorney with experience making successful claims.
What is the deadline for making a slip and fall claim in Florida?
In Florida, the injured person has four years from the date of injury to file their claim against the property owner of the place where you fell. Failing to file a claim during that time could cause the victim to forfeit their right to compensation.
Who do I sue if I’m injured by falling at a store?
Ultimately, the law gives you the right to sue the property owner and anyone else who was negligent in the accident. Sometimes the property owner has leased the property to someone else or a company, so the lawsuit might need to be filed against the lease holder. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you navigate this process.
Need a Slip and Fall Attorney in Tampa Bay?
Proper documentation after a slip and fall injury can make or break a civil lawsuit. If you have questions on the validity of a potential case, our experienced premises liability attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys are here to help. Contact us for your free, confidential consultation at 813-915-1110 or through our contact form. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.