Questions about Slip and Falls?
Ask Our Orlando Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and falls and other premises liability cases are becoming increasingly more complex over recent decades. Because of these complexities, it is imperative for anyone injured to consult with a competent and experienced Orlando injury lawyer who will review and assess the important facts, research the law and counsel the injured with respect to his or her rights.
The following is a list of frequently asked questions that are aimed to assist our clients and the general public who visit our website, and have concerns regarding slip and fall accidents and premises liability cases. If your question is not answered here, feel free to contact us for a consultation, free of charge.
Frequently Asked Questions about Florida Premises Liability
- What is premises liability?
- What is a dangerous condition?
- What should I do if I am injured on someone else’s property?
- What should I NOT do?
- If I was injured on the premises of another and I believe it was the fault of the land owner, what will I need to prove my case?
- Do I need to hire a premises liability attorney?
- What kind of damages can I receive in a premises liability lawsuit?
- Can I bring a claim against my employer if I injure myself from a dangerous condition on the job?
- What happens if I injure myself at someone’s house?
- If a lawsuit is pursued against a land owner, what defenses will the land owner have against the claim?
- Suppose a third party, besides the landowner, was responsible for the accident on the land owner’s premises. What happens then?
Premises liability is the classification of cases including slip and falls, trip and falls or other injuries that result from dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. Injured victims can seek damages from the property owner, the renter, or both. These claims include personal injuries as a result of a body of water, oil, an abrupt change in elevation of flooring, poor lighting or other hidden dangers. Home and business owners are both liable for injuries that take place on their properties.
A property owner is responsible for dangerous or hazardous conditions that he knows about, should have known about, failed to correct and/or about which he failed to warn. The property owner may know about the danger or hazard, such as damaged flooring or a staircase that requires maintenance. A dangerous condition might be hidden, but the owner should have known about it through the exercise of due care.
A land owner has a duty to ascertain whether the premises are in a reasonably safe condition, which requires the owner to inspect the property for possible dangers. The owner may be liable for damages if it becomes clear that she did not perform an inspection to the degree that her property warranted.
It should be noted that a landowner is under no obligation to protect you against known or obvious dangers. The rationale is that people will use common sense to protect themselves from obvious risks. However, the owner may still be liable if he failed to maintain his premises in a reasonably safe manner by repairing the dangerous condition. For example, if the owner knows that accidents or injuries resulted from past safety risks, he should have anticipated the harm to others in the future, and he may be liable for subsequent injuries.
Seek medical treatment immediately. If we feel better and then suddenly the condition deteriorates or does not improve, we should also seek medical care from our primary care physician or an emergency physician.
It is critical to know what condition actually caused the injury and to document the condition via video or photo. It is common that the condition will change subsequent to the injury.
Take note of Florida’s time limits for filing suits after a serious injury. Failing to follow these deadlines could result in a permanently barred claim. This is why it is important for you to consult with an Orlando slip and fall lawyer immediately to preserve your right to bring the claim and to evaluate your legal options.
In addition to taking pictures, record names and contact information for anyone who witnessed your injury or who may have knowledge of the dangerous condition. Also, document the names of any person who can describe the conditions of the floor, lighting, etc. at the time of, or immediately after, the injury. Document and keep records of everything!
If you are injured on the premises of a business, the store manager or security officer might create an incident report. Do not leave without a copy of the incident report. Do not fill out or sign the incident report. Take specific notes if you overhear someone mention that “a similar incident has occurred here before.” Get the name of any person who makes that comment, if possible.
Do not provide any statements to the premises owner and certainly do not sign any statement or incident report, especially if you did not write it. Do NOT say anything that would imply fault on your own part, such as:
- “It was probably my fault.”
- “I am such a klutz.”
- “I did not see the water on the floor.”
- “I am clumsy.”
Stay away from all language that could imply that you were at fault.
Many times after an incident of injury, a claims adjuster or a third party claims administrator will contact you for information about the accident. Do NOT give a statement to any person who contacts you. First, consult with an attorney who specializes in premises liability cases before providing a statement. Claims adjusters want you to admit responsibility for the injury. Any statement made such as “I’m feeling better now” may be used to minimize your injuries. Additionally, the claims adjuster may attempt to persuade you to settle the claim immediately and sign a release in exchange for a minimal amount of money, or the adjuster may try to settle the claim prior to knowing the full extent your injuries.
You or your Orlando personal injury attorney will need the following to help prove your case (at a minimum):
- Photographs or a video tape of the scene, ideally depicting the dangerous or hazardous condition.
- Names and contact information for witnesses to the incident.
- A copy of the incident report, if one was created.
- Proof of your injuries. This includes medical records (and possibly live medical testimony) from your healthcare providers who treated you for injuries related to the incident. Additionally, keep all receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses like doctor visits and medications that resulted from the incident.
- Reports or accounts of prior similar incidents, if they exist.
- Expert testimony to provide scientific opinions regarding the dangerous condition. An expert witness can evaluate the condition and testify as to what caused the fall (such as a slick surface or a violation of a building code) based on the expert’s education, training and experience.
Many cases can be handled without an Orlando personal injury lawyer in small claims court. However, it is important that you consult legal counsel in order to be aware of your rights. Many lawyers will not charge a fee for the initial consultation. In most personal injury cases, the attorney works on a contingency fee, which means that you only pay attorney fees if their services bring a successful verdict or settlement.
In Florida, you could seek the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income from time missed from work as a result of the injury.
- The fair value of any property damaged in the incident.
- Compensation for general damages including pain, suffering and other intangible damages.
Workers compensation covers most work-related injuries. This system gives the employer immunity from injury lawsuits. However, there are several exceptions that remove the employer’s immunity from workers’ compensation. Additionally, there are situations where a third party is responsible for the injury.
If you injure yourself at someone’s house and that person owns the house, the owner likely has homeowners’ insurance coverage. If that individual rents, there may be renter’s insurance or another type of insurance available to cover your injury. Further, if they are renters, the landowner probably has insurance coverage for claims filed regarding the property.
The landowner might argue that the condition was “open and obvious” and that the victim acted in a “careless, inattentive or negligent” manner that caused the injury.
If the condition was a temporary or transient one, such as spilled water, the landowner may argue that this spill occurred too soon to correct the dangerous condition.
Depending on the circumstances, the landowner and/or a third party may be legally responsible. The responsibility for the injury may fall on one or the other, or both with the court calculating the percentage of fault for each party
If you have more questions about premises liability, do not hesitate to contact our Orlando personal injury lawyers. You can schedule a free consultation with us to learn about your available options for seeking recovery.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.