The winter months are upon us. The winter months bring with them several holidays, including Christmas, that bring about millions of shoppers. People all across the state of Florida flock to stores. With the massive amounts of people out there shopping, personal injury rates significantly increase. This post will focus on one type of personal injury in particular: slip/trip and fall. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA our Miami slip and fall lawyers have more than 44 years of successful experience representing clients who are seriously injured from a slip, trip, and fall and other premises liability accident cases. The attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA obtain the advice from experts who use instruments to test floor slip resistance characteristics and provide further evidence of a property owner’s negligence. Our law firm thoroughly investigates each client’s case and will efficiently prepare a sound legal argument.
Florida Negligence and Premises Liability Laws
Slip and fall claims a form of premises liability laws developed from negligence theories. Under Florida, law negligence is the failure to use reasonable care under like circumstances. Florida’s jury pattern instructions state that negligence is doing what a reasonably prudent person woudl do under like circumstances, or doing something or failing to do something that a very careful person would do under like circumstances.
In Florida, as well as most other states, to succeed in a negligence claim, you must prove the following:
- That the property owner owed you a duty of care;
- That the property owner breached said duty of care;
- That the breach was the actual cause of your injury;
- That the breach was the proximate (foreseeable) cause of your injury; and
- That damages resulted from said breach.
- In slip and fall cases, a party much also show that a property owner also either knew or should have known of the risk creating hazard.
In order to establish the first element, duty, you must delve into Florida’s premises liability law. Suppose you suffer injuries from a slip and fall while shopping in someone’s store. Well, Florida’s premises liability law will deem you an “invitee.” Invitees are people that enter one’s property with the express or implied invitation. A common example is a business customer. Invitees have the most legal protection per Florida’s premises liability law for injuries that they sustain on the property. Property owners have the highest duty of care and protection to those they invite to the property. The property owner is obligated to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and if there are places that are not reasonably safe, the property owner must protect an invitee by warning them of the dangers are making reasonable efforts to correct said dangers. Depending on where the accident occurred, ie a supermarket aisle or in a parking lot may determine what is reasonable care. For instance, grovery stores for example have a duty of reasonable care to inspect aisles and common areas were customers are expected to be. Periodic inspctions for items that may spill in the aisle way are required under Florida law in supermarkets and grocery stores. However, it may not be reasonable for a supermarket to inspect the parking lot for spills since these are not as common. However, a supermarket operator or landowner may have a duty of reasonable care to evaluate the parking lot and other common areas if it is on notice for other risk creating conditions or if it knew or shoudl have known of other dangerous conditions that could harm customers but fails to take corrective action or to warn. Examples of other dangerous conditions could be potholes in the parking lot, cracked flooring matterials, or even a history of prior violent crimes on the premises. Although this falls outside the scope fo the slip, trip, and fall accident article, the point is that the same legal principles apply to all business owners such as landlord, proeprt owners, and business operators as each has duty of care to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition under Florida law.
Statute of Limitations
You must act quickly if you seek to pursue a personal injury claim. Per Florida’s statute of limitations law, a claim for personal injury must be filed no later than four years after the injury. This time limitation must be strictly adhered to because if you do not file during this period you are most likely barred from doing so at a later time.
Take Action Now
Florida property owners owe a non delegable duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for customers, invited guests, business people, and the general public such as you. This means that a property owners can’t delegate the duty to another person. If they do and that person or entity breaches their duty of care, the property owner is still legally responsible. The failure to adhere to safety regulations means that you may become injured and the owner may be legally responsible for your injuries. These are some of the reasons why it is critical to contact a Miami injury and accidents lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, PA if you are injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident. For more help, contact our law firm today for a free consultation.