Slip and fall accidents are part of the personal injury field of law. While the term implies a fall from actually slipping and falling down, it actually covers much more than that.
Slip and fall accidents happen when a person:
1. Slips on a surface such as a wet or slick floor which causes them to fall;
2. Trips over something in their way and falls; or
3. Steps down into a hole or low spot and falls.
In this article, we are going to discuss some frequently asked questions that will help you win a slip and fall case.
Where Can Slip and Fall Injuries Happen?
Slip and fall injuries can take place at businesses, on private property, or on government property. The type of property it is, along with what you are doing on the property, determines what sort of responsibility, or duty, the owner owes to you.
If you go to a business establishment as a customer, they owe you the highest standard of care. On the other end of the spectrum, if someone is breaking into your house and slips and falls, they are a trespasser, and you are not liable for their injuries.
What Standard of Care are You Owed?
In order to win a slip and fall case, you have to show that:
1. You are owed a duty by the responsible party;
2. They breached that duty to you; and
3. The breach of duty caused your injuries.
In slip and fall cases, you first have to consider what duty the business owes to you. For example, if you are in a grocery store shopping for your food and fall, then you are considered an invitee and are owed the highest standard of care, or duty, by the business. Much higher than if you were a guest in someone’s home or a trespasser.
How does Florida Law Regulate Slip and Fall Cases?
Florida’s slip and fall laws have changed over the years making it harder for injured people to get compensated by businesses. The courts and legislature shifted much of the burden from the business to the customer. As the injured party, you have to prove that the business knew, or ought to have known, about the danger and failed to fix it, which led to your fall and injuries. This is a high burden to place on the injured party. Which is why it is important that you contact a slip and fall personal injury attorney in Jacksonville as soon as possible after any slip and fall injury.
Florida slip and fall law is codified by statute. If you cannot prove that the business actually knew about the danger which caused you to fall, the statue allows you to prove that they should have known about that danger. You can do this by showing:
1. The danger was there for a long enough time that, when taking ordinary care, the business should have seen the danger and remedied it; or
2. The dangerous condition occurred often enough that the business could foresee that it would happen again.
So, you need to prove that either they knew and didn’t fix it, or they should have known and didn’t fix it, which caused you to fall. And that the fall was the proximate and actual cause of your injuries. And that it was foreseeable that the negligent act by the business owner of not fixing the dangerous condition would cause injury.
For example, if you slip on the liquid in a grocery store, you have to prove the business already knew about the liquid when you fell and failed to clean it up. Or that they ought to have known about it and failed to clean it up. And that failing to clean it up caused you to fall with subsequent injuries. And it was foreseeable that the liquid on the floor would cause a fall and injuries.
What Evidence Do You Need?
A slip and fall personal injury attorney in Jacksonville will know what evidence you need to collect and will instruct you to do so. However, there are a few things you need to do immediately to protect yourself.
Make sure the business fills out an accident report. You should seek medical attention for any injuries. Use your cell phone and take photographs of the scene. You may even want to record yourself speaking to the employees and of the scene as well. Save any physical evidence you have like your shoes and clothes. You don’t want the store owner to say your flip-flops were the cause, so it was your fault, when in fact you were wearing tennis shoes.
Take full body photos of what you are wearing and your injuries. Get witness information. When you seek medical attention, make sure you inform them you are injured from the fall.
It is very important that you do not sign any documents the business asks you to sign releasing them from liability. Do not sign anything you don’t agree with. Do not refuse medical assistance if you are injured.
How About Damages and Fault?
When in a slip and fall accident, you may also have more damages than medical bills. While that is certainly damaged you can recover against the at-fault party, you can also recover your past and future lost wages, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent injury. You will need to present evidence of all of these damages.
Under Florida law, any slip and fall award is reduced by pure comparative fault. That means that the injured party will be attributed to a percentage of fault, which will be deducted from any award. For example, if you fall on some liquid at the grocery, but were looking at your phone instead of paying attention where you were walking, the business will argue that you were the one at fault because you had a duty to watch where you are walking. The decision-maker in your case can attribute a percentage of fault to you. That percentage is subtracted from any award. For instance, if someone is owed $10,000 total damages and they are 20% at fault, then they would collect $8,000.
So, being proactive and collecting evidence and protecting your interests should begin the moment your slip and fall accident occurs. You must take steps to ensure you do all you can from that moment on to get the monetary damages necessary to make yourself whole again and win your case. A slip and fall personal injury attorney in Jacksonville will help you with this. Let the experienced slip and fall personal injury attorneys at RITE Law, help you. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed. Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.