In Florida, property and business owners, whether a corporation or a private individual, must maintain their premises, including restrooms, isles, outside areas, etc., in a safe and sanitary condition to minimize the risk of undue harm and injury, you, as their guest or customer. Also, under the “vicarious liability doctrine,” an employer may be held responsible for any of their employees’ negligence, which may have caused you harm.
However, you must prove that the property or small business owner or their employees were negligent and that their negligence was the main reason (or contributed to) the accident that caused your injuries. Slip & fall cases can be legally complex, and it’s always best to consult with an experienced Miami slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible.
Three distinct areas must be addressed (and proven) for you to file and win your slip & fall case. They are as follows:
- Liability – The defendant (business owner, individual, or corporation) had a duty of care and was proven negligent in performing this “duty of care.”
- Negligence – The defendant breached that duty, and you, as the plaintiff, were harmed and injured due to their negligence.
- Responsibility/Fault – The actual breach of duty, or negligence, on the part of the defendant was the primary factor in causing your injuries.
Although the terms “Slip and Fall” are usually used to describe this type of case, it can refer to many kinds of accidents at a private residence, corporation, or small business.
Many of these slip & fall injuries occur in public restrooms, store isles, and more, and the conditions that cause them are varied, such as:
o Not having adequate lighting in a specific area.
o Wires or cords draped across traffic areas.
o Cracks or holes in the flooring.
o Slippery surfaces due to natural or accidental causes.
o Damaged or pulled carpeting.
o Uneven flooring.
o Debris or objects on the ground or in the way, and many more.
A property or business owner has a legal responsibility to repair any defects, or warn customers, visitors, or patrons, of their location. If appropriate warnings, repair, or cleanup, of these areas, is not done, then the owner of the property or business can and should be held liable for any injuries you incur.
Due to the complex nature of these cases, consulting with a knowledgeable Miami slip and fall lawyer will be invaluable to your case and help prove exactly who is at fault.
How May “Comparative Negligence” Possibly Affect My Slip & Fall Case In Miami?
It is common in these cases for the property or business owner to argue that you bear some amount of blame for your accident. If this proves to be accurate, then you could see a sizable chunk of your compensation taken away. Also, a finding of shared fault is likely to reduce the overall value of your slip and fall claim, even if you settle out of court.
Some examples of what the property owner could argue are:
- You were on the part of the property where visitors aren’t usually allowed or aren’t expected to be.
- You weren’t paying attention to where you were walking (looking at your phone, etc.)
- Your footwear wasn’t appropriate or even unsafe for the situation.
- The dangerous area was cordoned off by cones and signage (in other words, reasonable steps were taken to protect you).
- The dangerous condition should have been evident to you.
Combating and defending you in a comparative negligence legal battle is another part of your case that many times will depend on the experience, knowledge, and negotiating skills of your Miami slip & fall lawyer. The outcome of this legal battle could directly and dramatically affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to and receive.
How Could Florida’s “Statute of Limitations” Affect My Slip & Fall Case?
Most Florida laws and lawsuits have a specific time limit regarding your right to have a lawsuit filed and heard in the civil court system. Commonly, if you pass this deadline, your case is almost sure to be dismissed. However, there are rare exceptions that apply, alter, or even extend this filing window. Your professional slip & fall lawyer will be aware of all these deadlines and the details that must exist for their exception in the Florida courts.
Commonly, in Florida, if you are injured in a slip and fall, you must file against the property owner within four years of the occurrence.
From a legal strategy standpoint, you want plenty of time to file your slip and fall lawsuit, even if you’re confident your injury claim will settle in your favor. Your lawyer will explain that, at the very least, leaving your options open for going to court will increase your leverage during any negotiations and settlement talks.
How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Compensation In a Miami Slip & Fall Accident?
Many facets of the Florida slip & fall laws could affect your case, so it’s always best to go over all the details (no matter how small) with a qualified, experienced Miami slip & fall personal injury lawyer.
In many cases, the reason you were invited or present on the property may directly impact the validity of your slip & fall case.
Usually, these reasons fall into three types: Invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
o An Invitee is someone invited onto a private piece of land, and a business Invitee is the most common of these types. Most injuries occur in businesses, including theme parks, retail stores, hotels, and a myriad of others.
o A Licensee may not have been invited to be at the accident site and has a few categories. You could be a friend at a party or an unlicensed licensee, such as a child in the woods of a property owner. Your slip and lawyer will be able to show who and why you are entitled to compensation.
o A Trespasser has no right to be on the property and is usually treated as an unlicensed licensee. Still, their rights to compensation may be severely limited by the act of trespassing.
I Have Been Injured in a Slip & Fall in Miami; How Should I Proceed?
Slip & Fall injuries can sometimes be minor, but many may lead to lifelong suffering, recovery, rehabilitation, and more, primarily if your accident resulted in a brain or back injury. Due to their complex legal nature and proof, consulting with an experienced, empathetic, and professional Miami slip & fall law firm is mandatory.
Remember that you, or your family, don’t deserve to suffer the consequences of a property or business owner’s negligence, and the Miami law firm of Rey Padrone has a solid and successful record of helping slip & fall victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Consult with them today and start on the legal road to get the medical and financial help you need and deserve.