Slip and Fall

E. Keith DuBose

“Slip and fall” lawsuits typically involve serious, life-changing injuries. Slip and fall cases are initiated against the property owner, or another party who may be at fault, for the occurrence of the injury.

Why Matthews Eastmoore?

Attorneys at Matthews Eastmoore have years of experience litigating slip and fall cases. No matter the severity of the injury, we will help you:

  • Understand your rights
  • Determine who may be liable
  • Gather evidence to support your claim
  • Determine the right strategy for your case

Common Case Examples

  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Substance spilled on floors
  • Defective or poorly maintained stairs
  • Obstructions or dropped objects on the floor of a business
  • Sidewalks with uneven surfaces, cracks, or obstructions
  • Rough ground
  • Business parking lots with uneven pavement or poor lighting
  • Trampolines and bounce houses with limited safety precautions

What Constitutes a Slip and Fall Case?

Determining Liability

To prevail in a slip and fall case, the plaintiff must establish that one of these three scenarios occurred:

  1. The liable party created the danger that caused the fall, such as a store employee spilling liquid or breaking a stair;
  2. The liable part knew of the danger, but did nothing to correct it, for example, if the store owner or employee saw the spill or hazardous condition and did not clean it up; or
  3. The liable party should have reasonably discovered the danger and corrected it before the accident, for example, a grocery store owner could reasonably expect product spills in his store, and must inspect for them to protect customers.

Types of Cases

The Property Owner Created the Danger

The liable party may have created the danger that caused the injury. For example, the owner may have dug a hole in the front of a business to do electrical or plumbing work without putting up proper signage that there was a problem, leading to a fall. If this occurs, the property owner may be liable for injuries caused by the danger it created.

The Property Owner Knew of the Danger

There may be proof that the liable party knew of the danger, but did nothing to fix it. For instance, it someone falls on a wet floor after an employee or another patron reported a spill, the store owner could be liable. If a building inspector required the owner to fix faulty stairs and it did not, the property owner may be liable for the injuries caused.

The Property Owner Should Have Reasonably Discovered the Danger and Corrected It

A property owner may be liable for injuries or damages caused by hazards it should have reasonably discovered. Most slip and fall cases fall under this category. For example, if another shopper spilled water on the floor and it stayed there for enough time that an employee should have discovered it and cleaned it up, but no one did, the store owner may be liable.

This category hinges on one important element, what is reasonable for the store owner to detect?

The Reasonableness Standard

Property owners are expected to be reasonable in the maintenance of their property. A grocery store owner can reasonably foresee that some items may spill and that customers may slip on them. Therefore, a grocery owner has a responsibility to inspect the store for hazards, and warn customers of any danger or fix it. The factfinder must decide whether it was reasonable to expect the store owner to have discovered the problem. If the owner is deemed to have acted unreasonably, it may be liable for any damages or injuries caused by the hazard.

To help determine whether the owner acted reasonably, it is useful to consider things like: whether there was a procedure in place to inspect and repair the premise; whether there was a reason for the hazard; whether there could have been a way to reduce the hazard; whether the premises could have been made more safe; and whether warning signs could have been put up.

Who May Be Sued

The liable party may be the owner of the business, the owner of the property, the landlord, the tenant, or in the case of some public land, the government. The lawyers of Matthews Eastmoore can help determine who may be liable.

Who May Sue

The victim of a slip and fall case is the plaintiff and brings the suit against the property owner or other liable party.

If the accident resulted in death, the family of the victim may bring a lawsuit and collect compensation for the wrongful death.

When You May Sue

The statute of limitations in Florida for a slip and fall claim is four years from the time of the injury. After that, the victim may be barred from seeking compensation. There are very few exceptions to this rule, so it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

Damages

The plaintiff in a slip and fall case may be awarded monetary compensation as a result of his or her injuries. This monetary compensation may include current and future medical bills, lost wages and lost future earning capacity, and physical and mental pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has suffered injury on another’s property, call us today at 941-366-8888 or schedule a free consultation. We will work to get you the compensation you deserve.

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The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. We do not undertake representation of your claims until all parties involved have entered into a signed agreement. If we have not entered into a signed agreement with you, you may want to speak with other attorneys regarding your claims since statutes of limitations may apply.