Slip and Fall Florida Lawyers
Recent changes in Florida legislation have had an adverse effect on the rights of slip and fall victims, making an experienced attorney essential to securing a fair verdict or settlement in these types of cases. At The Berman Law Group, our attorneys understand the difficulties presented by slip and fall lawsuits, and have the resources needed to addresses these issues appropriately.
Grounds for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
In your slip and fall case, your attorney will have to prove that your accident was caused by a “dangerous condition” on the property, and that the owner knew about the dangerous condition. A dangerous condition must present an unreasonable risk of harm to those on the property, and must be a condition that a reasonable person would not have anticipated. (The latter requirement implies that people must take note of and avoid obvious hazards.)
To prove that the property owner knew of the dangerous condition, your attorney will have to show the following:
1. The property owner created the dangerous condition
2. The property owner knew of the condition and was negligent in failing to correct it; or
3. The condition existed for a long enough period of time that a reasonable property owner should have discovered and corrected it before your accident.
To hold a property owner liable for a slip and fall accident, it must be foreseeable that their negligence would create the hazard at issue. For instance, if a gallon of milk spills in a grocery store, and the store still has not noticed or cleaned up the spill for an unreasonable amount of time, it could be argued that it was foreseeable that the grocery store’s negligence in failing to clean up spills would result in a slip and fall accident. In some cases, your attorney may be able to prove negligence by showing that the defendant violated a relevant statute. For instance, building codes establish where railings and other safety features must be installed. If you fell on a walkway which did not have appropriate railings, you may have a claim against the property owner based on their violation of relevant building codes.
To help prove the property owner was negligent, your attorney will gather evidence shortly after the slip and fall. He or she will take photographs of your injury, obtain your medical records and question witnesses to the hazard or incident. If the accident occurred in a public place, such as a grocery store, your attorney will obtain a copy of the accident report. It is important to contact an attorney soon after a slip and fall, as witnesses can forget vital details and key pieces of evidence can be lost.
Defining a “Reasonable” Property Owner
Slip and fall cases will hinge on whether the property owner acted as a reasonably prudent person would have acted. Filing a successful claim can be difficult if it is apparent that the property owner acted reasonably; however, if the property owner acted in a manner that others in a similar situation would not have, legal action may be available to those injured as a result. Our attorneys will seek answers to the following questions as we investigate your slip and fall claim:
· Did the hazardous area exist long enough for the property owner to be aware of it?
· Is there a standard procedure in place for examining the premises?
· Does the owner have proof that there is a standard procedure for examining the premises?
· Was there a legitimate reason for the area being hazardous (such as a slippery floor after being washed)?
· If there is a reason for the area to be hazardous, was there any way to make it safer?
· If an object caused the slip, trip or fall, was there anywhere else the object could have been stored to make the premises safer?
· Could a warning sign or barrier have been created to prevent injury?