Slip and fall accidents often lead to severe injuries and tremendous medical expenses for victims. Anytime a person sustains a slip and fall injury caused by the negligence of a property owner or another party, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, it is crucial to first determine liability in order to ensure victims are able to recover full compensation. Here, we want to discuss who may be liable for a slip and fall injury in Florida.
Looking at the Property Owner or Operator
Anytime a person sustains a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property, the owner of the property may be responsible for paying compensation to the injury victim. However, it is crucial to determine liability in these situations.
Slip and fall incidents fall under premises liability law, which covers accidents that occur as a result of dangerous conditions on a person’s property. In order for the property owner to be held legally responsible for the injuries, the person who sustained the slip and fall injury must show that the property owner:
- Knew about a dangerous condition and failed to take steps to fix the problem, or
- Should have known about a dangerous condition, as a “reasonable” person would have, or
- Created a dangerous condition that led to the slip and fall accident.
Property owners have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe for any person who has the right to be there. When making a determination about whether or not a property owner should be held liable, the law will look at whether the property owner made a regular effort to keep their premises safe, up to proper codes, and clear of known hazards.
There are other factors that may be taken into consideration in these circumstances, including how long the dangerous condition existed, whether or not the owner had time to become knowledgeable about the issue, and whether or not their actions taken to fix the issue were appropriate and reasonable.
What if There is Partial Liability Involved?
Another factor that will be taken into consideration is whether or not the injury victim contributed to the slip and fall incident in some way. Florida operates under a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that an individual may still be able to recover compensation even if they are partially responsible for causing their own injury (up to 99% at fault). However, the total amount of compensation a victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault for the incident.
For an example of how this may work, suppose an individual slips on a broken jar of pickles at a grocery store that a store employee knew about the issue but failed to clean up promptly. If the injury victim sustained $10,000 worth of medical bills, they may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against the grocery store. However, suppose the injury victim was found to be 30% responsible for causing the injury because they were staring at their cell phone and not paying attention to where they were walking when the incident occurred. In this theoretical scenario, the individual would receive $7,000 instead of a full $10,000.
Were you or a loved one injured in a slip and fall accident? Contact our slip and fall accident attorneys in West Palm Beach for your free consultation.