When property owners fail to ensure their property is safe for guests, slip and fall accidents can occur. Something as seemingly minor as an uncleaned spill can result in serious injuries. Premise liability cases can often be complex, and insurance companies and property owners may offer an unreasonably low settlement or attempt to avoid paying claims altogether. The experienced personal injury team at Redondo Law can help you navigate the complexities of your slip and fall claim and ensure and assist you in pursuing the compensation and support you need as a result of a slip and fall injury.
Premises liability is the legal term that refers to the obligation a property owner has to ensure individuals on their property are not exposed to dangerous conditions that could cause harm. If a property owner discovers an unsafe or hazardous condition on their property, they must generally remove the hazard, or if unable to do so, provide adequate warning of the hazard to guests visiting the property. However, this does not mean the property owner is liable for any injury that occurs on their property. Premises liability only covers injuries that occur due to an accident caused by a hazardous condition the property owner knew about or should have known about.
In Florida, to prove liability for a slip and fall accident caused by a spill, for example, the victim must be able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the spill. To prove the property owner should have known about the spill, the spill must have been untended for such a length of time that its existence should have been discovered if the owner was exercising ordinary care, or spills must occur regularly and should have been foreseeable, such as with a fountain drink machine.
Slip and fall accidents commonly occur in places where many people come and go, such as in grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and similar businesses. Due to the number of people, spills may occur, items may be dropped on the ground, or similar hazards may arise causing someone to slip and fall.
The reason for your visit on the property can impact the property owner’s duty of care towards you. Generally, individuals on a property have one of three statuses: Invitee, Licensee, or Trespasser.
An invitee has the property owner’s express or implied permission to visit the property for the purpose of conducting business transactions, such as a customer in a shop. The property owner owes the invitee a duty of care to ensure the premises are safe form known and unknown hazards.
A licensee has express or implied permission to be on the property but is there for their own reason. There are two types of licensee: invited and uninvited. An invited licensee may be someone invited for social reasons, and an uninvited licensee refers to people such as delivery persons or utility workers. Property owners must ensure reasonable steps are taken to protect or warn licensees of known hazards.
Trespassers are those not authorized to be on a property, and in most cases no duty of care is owed to them other than to avoid intentionally setting hazards for them. However, child trespassers may be owed a duty of care for certain hazards, such as swimming pools or what are known as attractive nuisances.
If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention to diagnose and treat any injuries you may have sustained. If possible, take photos or video of the cause of the accident, and collect contact info for any possible witnesses to the accident. Be sure to also report the accident immediately to the property owner or management. Only give out the necessary information for filing a report after the accident and avoid giving statements about the details until you have consulted an attorney. You should consult an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible, which will allow them to start investigating your claim and help you pursue any compensation you may be entitled to.
You must file any claim for slip and fall injuries within the applicable legal time limits, known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in Florida for a premises liability claim is four years from the date of the accident.
If you have suffered a slip and fall accident, Mike Redondo and the team at Redondo Law can help you by answering any questions you have and allowing you to focus on getting better. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Redondo Law today for a free, comprehensive consultation.