Legal help for slip and fall injuries.
Have you ever slipped or tripped and fallen? After you pull yourself up, you look around with embarrassment to see who saw. Hopefully you are alright, but sometimes long-term injuries occur from falls. And sometimes those injuries are life altering.
After the original embarrassment wears off, you wonder why, after all these years of successfully walking, you would trip or slip for no reason. You look and realize that someone had left something slippery on the floor, or put a ledge in the floor where no one could see it or expected it. Slip and fall injuries are surprisingly common, and that’s where we come in.
When a property owner breaks safety rules and slip and fall injuries occur, legal action may be necessary.
Sometimes property owners break safety rules and make a fall or an injury inevitable. Examples I see most often are when employees drop things on the ground then leave the area. Other times, employees do not ever check their property for tripping or slipping hazards or don’t put cones or signs out.
Some cases are harder to identify, like when a landlord hires a cut-rate contractor to repave his parking lot but does not raise up drainage grates to match the level of the ground. Others include hotels that have swimming pools that do not comply with regulations or open holes on their property.
This area of law is generally called “premises liability,” and it can take many forms. I’ll walk you through some of the more common ones. If you have been injured and have a question, please feel free to call for a free consultation at (727) 821-3195.
Understanding the basics of premises liability and slip and fall injuries.
Property owners have different jobs (duties) they owe to people on their property depending on why the person is there.
BUSINESS INVITEES (people visiting a business) and INVITED LICENSEES (guests)
These categories involve most slip and fall and trip and fall calls I get as a personal injury attorney. When a person or company invites you or the public on to their property like a grocery store, restaurant, or theme park (like Busch Gardens or Disney), they have the highest standard of care (duty) to their visitors. The law requires that those businesses “maintain it in a reasonably safe condition and correct or warn of dangers that the defendant knew or should have known of, and which the plaintiff did not or should not have known of by the use of reasonable care.” Post v. Lunney, 261 So.2d 146 (Fla. 1972).
So what is reasonable? That is where you start looking at industry standards and safety regulations when it comes to slip and fall injuries. There is way too much information for me to cover here, but suffice it to say I have spent a lot of time consulting experts for clients on these topics. This is why it is so important that you get an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case from the outset. I get calls all the time from people who have been “let go” from their old attorney who got in over their heads but already messed up the case.
Can you sue someone after tripping and falling?
For items or liquids that have been left on the floor (transitory substances), the Florida legislature passed a law limiting when someone can sue. It is Fla. Stat. §768.0755 “Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in business establishment.” It is imperative that you speak with a qualified attorney to walk you through this.
This is defined as people allowed to come on the property solely for that person’s own convenience, without any, not even implied, invitation of the property owner.
In these cases, the property owner/operator owes them no duty except not to harm the person willfully or wantonly, set traps for them, or to expose them to danger recklessly or wantonly. Stewart v. Texas Co, 67 So.2d 653 (Fla. 1953). As you can see, this is a far lower standard than what you see above for business invitees and invited licensees. The courts have noted that active vigilance is not required on the part of the property owner to see that his premises are kept safe for the benefit of licensees.
These are people who were not allowed on the property at all. These people who entered without the right to enter and are actually intruding for some definite purpose of their own or merely as an idler with no apparent purpose other than their own curiosity. The rule here is that owner/operators of property are not allowed to inflict willful or wanton injury on people just for trespassing. In other words, you can’t beat someone up just for being on your property even if you’ve told them to leave.
If your claim is for a sidewalk or some government property, the sovereign immunity statute, found at Fla. Stat. §768.28 will limit your claim.
CRIMES on business properties
There are times when a business owner knows of the danger of criminal activity and don’t do anything opening themselves up to some responsibility for that criminal activity.
While you may read this page and think you may not have a claim, if you have been injured on someone or some business’s property, and you think they may have done something wrong to contribute, please do not hesitate to call for a free case evaluation. We can quickly let you know if you have a case, at no charge to you.