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Akbar Thomas Resources and Education

Understanding Florida Slip and Fall Claims

From when we start learning to walk as toddlers to our elder years, people are prone to slips and falls. Most slip-and-fall accidents result in minor scrape- and bruise-related injuries. However, many people suffer significant injuries that require emergency room care and or hospitalization. Consider that 556,519 people were treated by Florida emergency rooms for unintentional falls in 2022, according to the state’s Department of Health. Of those treated, 80,324 required hospitalization. In Tallahassee’s Leon County, emergency room visits and hospitalizations for unintentional falls were 7,725 and 509, respectively.

While people are supposed to be masters of their own fate, the negligence of others often plays a role in causing slip-and-fall accidents. Property owners and managers have a duty of care responsibility to ensure visitor safety. When unsafe conditions contribute to injury-causing slip and fall accidents, the state’s liability laws provide recourse for victims to seek just compensation.

As experts in Florida’s slip and fall laws, the personal injury lawyers at Tallahassee-based Akbar Thomas Law advise anyone who believes that the negligence of others contributed to their slip and fall accident to seek legal advice. Let’s take a closer look at the basics of Florida slip and fall claims.

Primary Contributors to Slip and Fall Accidents

Anyone can trip over their own two feet, but clumsiness is not a leading cause of injury-causing slip-and-fall accidents. Instead, many severe slip and fall accidents are caused by surface areas rendered unsafe due to numerous potential hazards. Water and other liquids are some of the most significant slip and fall hazards because they make floors, sidewalks, entryways, and other walking surface areas slippery. Installation of non-slip surfaces, regular maintenance, cleaning spills, and clearing water accumulation can mitigate the hazard, but our state’s damp climate makes this challenging. Other primary contributors to slip and fall accidents include:

  • Loose carpeting, rugs, mats, and other floor coverings.
  • Insufficient handrails or guardrails where needed.
  • Debris, clutter, or other tripping hazards.
  • Inadequate lighting.
  • Uneven surface areas.
  • Damaged surfaces.
  • Negligent cleaning and maintenance.

Key Factors Regarding Florida Premises Liability

Under Florida law, property owners and managers have a duty of care responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe and free from hazardous conditions that might injure visitors due to a slip and fall or other accident. Property owners who fail to uphold this responsibility may be subject to a premises liability claim when a visitor is injured. However, the amount of potential compensation allowed under the law depends on the status of the property visitor.

Those visiting commercial establishments have the most protection under the law because their presence on the property benefits the property owners/managers. Because of this, commercial properties have a higher duty of care to conduct routine inspections and address potential hazards than residential property owners. Social visitors to residences can make a claim against private property owners; however, the threshold for proving negligence is higher unless the accident victim is a child. Whether a commercial or residential property, owners must enact extra safety measures to protect children from hazards that might attract them, like swimming pools, hot tubs, construction equipment, and work area sites.

Florida’s premises liability law even extends protection to trespassers if the uninvited property visitor is injured by an intentionally dangerous property feature or condition.   

Proving Liability in Florida

To make a successful slip-and-fall claim in a Florida court, the onus is on the injured party to prove that negligence on the part of the property owner/manager contributed to the accident. Because Florida law allows for comparative negligence, a victim can make a claim even if they were partly responsible for the accident. To make a successful slip-and-fall claim, a victim must prove that:

  • They suffered injuries.
  • The defendant failed to maintain a duty of care.
  • The defendant was aware or should have been aware of the hazardous condition.
  • The defendant failed to address the dangerous condition in a timely manner.
  • The defendant failed to provide adequate warnings about the danger.
  • And that this negligence caused or contributed to the slip and fall injuries. 

Florida’s Statute of Limitations

If you believe you have a valid slip and fall claim, you should seek legal expertise as soon as your health allows. Slip and fall cases can prove complex, and insurance companies are highly adept at fighting claims and limiting compensation. While the state’s statute of limitations allows you four years to make a slip-and-fall claim, starting the claims process as soon as possible is crucial to ensure the preservation of evidence.

Potential Damages in Florida Slip and Fall Claims

Slip and fall claims can go beyond medical expenses to cover other financial impacts relating to the accident, including:

  • Lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Decreased quality of life.
  • Reduced earnings potential for debilitating injuries.
  • Future medical expenses to cover ongoing treatment and/or therapies.

The Importance of Legal Representation

A skilled slip-and-fall personal injury lawyer, like those at Akbar Thomas Law, can be instrumental insuring that you are fully compensated for injuries caused by the negligence of others. In addition to carefully assessing incident details and gathering evidence to establish liability, a personal injury lawyer tends to the numerous procedural details necessary to move the claim process forward. This includes negotiating with insurance company adjusters to secure a fair and just settlement and, when needed, arguing the merits of your claim in civil court. An experienced personal injury lawyer also helps prevent you from making any missteps that might compromise your claim, such as:

  • Making statements to insurance adjusters that can be used to deny or limit your claim.
  • Accepting a low-ball settlement offer that will not fully cover damages.
  • Failing to adequately account for and document all losses.
  • Missing important legal deadlines.

The Importance of Gathering Evidence

Even if you do not quickly secure the services of a competent personal injury attorney, know that timely gathering of evidence is crucial for proving negligence. As soon as feasible, you and/or your lawyer should start securing the following evidence:

  • Photographs of the accident scene with specific emphasis on the hazardous condition(s), if possible (water or other liquids may have been cleaned up).
  • Incident reports (from commercial operations).
  • Medical records and any documentation concerning related financial impacts.
  • Any witness statements.

If You Have a Possible Slip and Fall Claim, Contact Us Today!

With more than 20 years of personal injury practice in the Tallahassee area, Akbar Thomas Law’s personal injury legal team can help you secure just compensation for your slip and fall injuries. To learn more, contact us today at 850-383-0000 or start a conversation with our chatbot by clicking the “Live Chat” box.