Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of premises liability accidents. If you have suffered injuries due to a slip and fall accident, it only makes sense to explore your legal options for getting financial compensation for your losses. You should never have to pay for someone else’s negligence.
Insurance Commissioners announced last month that they issued three warrants for arrest for three men who have been participants in a staged accident ring operation in Georgia. The three men from Thomasville, Georgia, are Germain Baynard, Ryan Law, and Demetrius Lee. A fourth suspect, Keronda Ball, is still being sought by authorities.
The people involved in the incidents allegedly staged slip and fall accidents at several businesses in Thomas, Colquitt, and Brooks counties. Bell is the ringleader who planned and filed the fraudulent claims. All involved could face criminal charges including felony theft by deception and criminal attempt to commit a felony, just to name a few.
While the above slip and fall accidents might have been fraudulent, plenty of very real slip and fall accidents happen daily. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident in Florida, it only makes sense to explore your legal obligations for getting financial compensation for your losses, especially if it is clear that the property owner or business was negligent.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
The term slip and fall is frequently used to describe a variety of accidents. Typically, slip and fall accidents are accidents in which a person loses his or her grip on the ground, falls, and suffers injuries on another person’s property. Slip and fall accidents may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- Trip and fall: A person trips over an uneven surface or object in a path.
- Step and fall: Injuries are caused when a person falls due to a low spot or hole in a path.
- Slip and fall: A person falls due to an object or slippery liquid.
People are injured all the time in falls, but only some of them are due to the fault of another person or business. In Florida, premises liability laws say that individuals and businesses are required to keep their property in reasonably safe condition for guests or customers. If an owner or manager knows that part of the property is not safe, the problem must be repaired quickly. If the problem is not fixed and a person falls and suffers injuries, the owner or manager may be responsible for the resulting injuries.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it is likely that the owner will argue that you are at least partially to blame for the accident. If they are successful in proving that you are partially responsible, it could result in loss of compensation. For example, they could argue that you were not paying attention to where you were walking, you were on a part of the property on which you were not allowed to be, or that you were wearing inappropriate footwear for the conditions.
If your case makes it to court, Florida courts use the pure comparative negligence rule. This means that any damages awarded to a personal injury plaintiff will be reduced according to the percentage of their fault for the accident. So, if the judge, for example, says that you were 15% to blame for your accident, he or she will reduce your compensation by 15% to accommodate your responsibility for the fall.
Even if your case does not make it all the way to court, the comparative negligence rule may still come into play. The property owner’s insurance company or attorney will likely argue an offer or settlement based on their view of the role you played in causing your own injuries.
Proving Your Slip and Fall Case
If you have been injured in a Florida slip and fall accident, it is important that you know your rights and what options are available to you under the law. If you take your case to court, there are three things that you will need to be able to prove.
- Duty of Care: You will have to prove that the business or property owner owed you the duty of care. For example, when a business owner invites someone onto the property to shop, he or she must make sure that the property is safe for people to be on.
- Reasonable Care: If the business or property owner failed to use reasonable care in operating or maintaining the property, he or she could be held liable. The court will decide what is reasonable in each case.
- Injuries: You must prove that because the property owner or business failed to exercise reasonable care, you had resulting injuries.
What Damages are Available in a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you suffer injuries in a Florida slip and fall accident and you win your case, the judge will decide the compensation to which you are entitled. You may be compensated for any of the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages, both present and future
- Permanent disability
- Emotional distress
- Other costs directly resulting from your injury
The law surrounding Florida slip and fall accidents can be complicated. You may find yourself up against large corporations that have seemingly unending resources. If you have suffered injuries, it is important that you have an experienced slip and fall attorney representing your rights in the case.
Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations
A slip and fall accident in the Sunshine state must be filed in court within four years of the date the injuries occurred. If you fail to file within that deadline you will lose your right to file the claim ever again. There are a few rare exceptions to the rule, and an experienced Florida slip and fall injury will be able to discuss those exceptions with you.
It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after you are injured so you have plenty of time to file the suit if need be. Call today to schedule a consultation with the attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident. They will review your case and help you determine what rights you have under Florida law.