Injured in a Slip and Fall – What You Need to Know
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt on someone else’s property, you may be able to file a premises liability claim to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses. Under Florida law, a slip and fall injury claim may be viable if your injury was the result of negligence by a property owner or property manager.
What Must be Proven to Prevail in a Slip and Fall Injury Lawsuit
In a personal injury lawsuit, the burden is on the plaintiff (i.e. the injured party) to prove that a defendant was negligent. This means you must produce sufficient evidence to convince a judge or jury that:
- A dangerous condition was on the premises;
- The property owner or manager knew, or reasonably should have known, of the dangerous condition and failed to take the necessary steps to correct the condition; and
- The negligence of the property owner proximately caused your injuries.
Furthermore, the dangerous condition must have created a serious risk of harm to visitors and other individuals on the property and it must be a condition that a reasonable person could not have anticipated.
Your Designation While On the Property is Important
Under Florida law, there are three distinctions that play a role in determining whether a property owner can be held liable for your harms and losses. It depends on if you were designated as a licensee, invitee, or a trespasser.
Invitees are visitors on the property conducting commercial activities. For example, a customer who visits a 7-11 convenience store to purchase a slurpee but winds up suffering a slip and fall in the store parking lot probably meets the invitee designation. Licensees, on the other hand, are individuals given permission or an invitation to be on the property. For example, your family members or friends would qualify for the licensee designation.
If either invitees or licensees suffer injuries while on a premises, the owner could be held liable if they knew of a possible dangerous condition and did not take reasonable steps to correct the condition or warn the invitees and licensees of the safety risk.
Property owners are, in general, not responsible for injuries sustained by trespassers at the time they suffered their injuries. However, a big exception to this rule is if there is evidence that the property owner knew of regular trespassers on their property. Known trespassers are treated the same as licensees, meaning that a property owner must warn of or fix known dangerous conditions.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Suffering a serious injury while at a store, at a pool, at a friend’s house, or any other premises can be traumatic and overwhelming. Your injuries may be so severe that you are forced to spend weeks or months in the hospital and in a rehabilitation program. Some injuries are so bad that they can leave you permanently damaged. This is why it makes sense to retain the services of an experienced Jacksonville slip and fall injury lawyer. A lawyer can take the burden off your shoulders of dealing with the insurance company and will make sure your case meets all of the statutory deadlines and requirements to pursue an action in civil court. Your attorney can also investigate the accident and assist in collecting relevant evidence, interviewing witnesses, taking depositions, and so forth.
Speak to a Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
As you can see, it makes sense to hire an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer. Charlie J. Gillette, Jr. is an experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorney who has represented numerous slip and fall accident victims. Contact his office today to schedule a free consultation.