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 assist you in pursuing the compensation and support you need as a result of a slip-and-fall injury.
What is premises liability and where does it occur?
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.
Reason for visiting
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 expressed 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 from 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 licensees: 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.
Common causes of premises liability accidents
- Liquid spills
- Debris, such as litter or plant clippings
- Walkways cluttered with equipment, boxes, or other items
- Cracked or broken floor tiles, torn carpeting or rugs, or uneven flooring
- Stairs with uneven or worn risers, ramps with loose or broken handrails, or poorly constructed ramps and stairs
What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
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.
Statute of limitations
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.
Contact Redondo Law firm if you have suffered a slip and fall 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.