If you were injured by a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you might be able to sue if you believe a dangerous condition on the premises caused your fall. However, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to pursue a slip and fall claim.
Do You Have a Valid Claim?
To win a slip and fall lawsuit, you must be able to establish the property owner’s liability. Doing so will require evidence that the property owner either knew of or should have known about a dangerous condition (e.g., broken steps, wet floors, potholes, etc.) and failed to remove or repair the hazard or warn visitors of its existence.
Some of the elements that an experienced West Palm Beach slip and fall lawyer will look for include:
- Whether the defendant (at-fault party) was aware of the dangerous condition.
- Whether the defendant had any policies or procedures to check for hazardous conditions.
- Whether there is a reasonable explanation for the delay in correcting the dangerous condition.
The evidence must satisfy the four elements of negligence, which are:
- Duty of Care: the property owner owed you a duty of care to keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors.
- Breach of Duty: the property owner breached their duty of care to keep visitors reasonably safe from foreseeable harm. (e.g., being aware of slippery floors and failing to remedy the situation or warn visitors)
- Causation: the property owner’s violation of care caused your injuries, and your injuries would not have occurred if not for their negligence.
- Damages: you suffered financial losses because of your injuries. (e.g., medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering)
Were You Partially to Blame?
Another factor that can impact a lawsuit is comparative negligence. Florida recognizes the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. If you are partially to blame for your fall, you may still be able to recover compensation, but it will be reduced in proportion to your share of the fault. For example, if you are awarded $50,000 for your injury but found 80% responsible, you will only recover 20% or $10,000. If you hold the majority of the blame, a lawsuit may not be worth the time and money to pursue.
Have You Suffered Damages?
To recover compensation in a lawsuit, you must prove that you have incurred expenses or suffered losses due to the slip and fall injury. That can include medical bills, lost wages from taking time off work to recover, property damage, and any other accident-related financial losses. Your pain and suffering, including the physical and psychological pain you have endured, will also be considered. The more severe and permanently debilitating your injury, the higher the value of your claim.
However, some seemingly minor injuries can also be cause for legal action. Injuries that prevent a victim from working for a considerable amount of time or one that is accompanied by an emotional or psychological injury are examples of short-term injuries that could be worth suing. When deciding if your injury is too minor or your damages are too minimal for a lawsuit, it is best to consult an attorney.
Have You Been Injured in a Slip and Fall?
If you or a loved one is considering pursuing a lawsuit after a slip and fall accident, schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced West Palm Beach Slip and Fall Attorney today.