Fort Lauderdale Trip and Fall Lawyer Explains Negligence Claims in Florida
Some of the most common injuries in Florida stem from trip and fall accidents. If these accidents occur due to an unsafe condition on the property, the injured person may be able to seek compensation from the property owner. However, the injured person must be able to demonstrate that the property owner was at fault for the unsafe condition. In other words, the victim must establish the property owner’s negligence. A Fort Lauderdale trip and fall lawyer at the Maus Law Firm can help injured victims obtain compensation from at-fault property owners. We know the standards for negligence in Florida and we will fight for the victim’s rights.
Common Trip and Fall Accidents
While there are numerous scenarios that result in slip and falls or trip and falls due to property hazards, some of the more common are the following:
- Poorly-lit areas
- Slippery surfaces, especially due to spills or water leaks
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Step-downs that are not properly marked
- Unmarked obstacles
- Stairs lacking handrails
- Changes in flooring surfaces
Florida’s Legal Standards for Finding Property Owner Negligence
Florida’s slip and fall law is located in Florida Statute Section 768.0755. It says:
Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment.—
(1) If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:
(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
(2) This section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises.
Because this statute puts the burden on you, the injured person, to prove the business did something wrong, it is critical that you hire the best slip and fall lawyer that will protect your rights. By hiring a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer from the Maus Law Firm, you are assured that the Firm will aggressively pursue its investigation of your claim to ensure you receive ALL the compensation you deserve.
Breaking it down, to prove that a property owner was negligent and liable for your injuries, you must prove the following in the State of Florida:
- Duty: The property owner had a legal obligation or a “duty” to keep their property free from hazards. This is generally true for commercial properties that are open to the public.
- Breach: The property owner failed to meet their legal obligation or “breached” their duty by allowing a hazardous condition to exist on their property.
- Causation: The fall was caused by the hazardous condition.
- Damages: The person who fell suffered legal damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Common Property Owner Defenses Against Florida Negligence Claims
Many people are surprised to find out that Florida actually requires the injured person to prove that a dangerous condition existed that the business ACTUALLY KNEW ABOUT or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT. This is a very difficult standard to meet.
There are some common legal defenses used by property owners in these types of cases. They include the following:
- The fall occurred in a portion of the property that the owner did not have a duty to maintain. This includes areas where visitors are prohibited or not expected.
- The fall occurred due to the person’s own carelessness, perhaps due to distraction or failing to watch where they were walking.
- The dangerous condition should have been obvious to the person who fell.
Complicating all these factors is Florida’s laws on comparative liability. Under comparative liability, the injured person can be found partially at fault, yet still recover damages. For example, a person who trips and falls on a slippery surface could be found 10 percent at fault, while the property owner could be found 90 percent at fault. In this case, the injured person’s recovery would be reduced by 10 percent.
Speak With a Fort Lauderdale Trip and Fall Lawyer at the Maus Law Firm