Slip and Fall Accident in Florida
"Slip and fall" and ‘trip and fall’ are terms used to describe a type of personal injury case. These cases fall under the broader category of premises liability claims. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized as a result of a fall injury, most often a head injury or hip fracture, and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Furthermore, One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head, neck or back injury.
If your slip and fall occurred on someone else’s property, the owner, the tenant, a management company or some other party responsible for maintaining the property where your fall occurred, or a party in control of the property where your fall occurred, may be required to pay you money damages for your injuries. A lawyer can help you decide if you can sue for your slip and fall and if so, who the responsible parties might be.
Can you sue for a slip and fall accident?
You can sue for a slip and fall accident in Florida. You certainly would want to try to settle the case first because a lawsuit takes years to finish. Most of my clients settle their slip and fall cases with the insurance company for the property owner. With my help, they are usually able to recover a fair settlement without filing a lawsuit.
If you do decide to file suit, you or your lawyer would file a complaint for damages in the courthouse, or now online, in the county where the incident occurred. There are some instances where you would be filing suit in other locations or even in Federal Court, but for the most part, if you get hurt locally, you would be suing in the county where the incident occurred. If you do file suit, there are certain procedural requirements you must follow to avoid your lawsuit being thrown out by the judge.
Filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit
First, if more than four years has passed, Florida’s statute of limitations would bar you from filing suit against the property owner. You must remember that a lawsuit must be filed within four years, even if medical treatment is ongoing and the parties are continuing to negotiate towards a potential settlement. Once four years passes, the defendant will no longer offer you a penny to settle your slip and fall case. The biggest and most common mistake many lawyers make in these situations is waiting too long and not settling or filing suit within the four-year statute of limitations.
Assuming you are within the four-year time period required by law, you must file a complaint that states a cause of action. A cause of action is a fancy way to say it has to be a claim that is recognized under Florida law.
For a slip and fall case, this would fall under the general category of a negligence claim and in order for you to be able to continue with your lawsuit you must allege in your complaint the correct elements.
Those elements would be first that the Defendant you are suing (usually the property owner) had a duty to do something to protect you. If you were invited onto a property, the landlord would generally owe you a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, to remedy any conditions that become known to the property owner and to warn you of the dangerous condition.
After alleging that the property owner owed you a duty of reasonable care, you must next allege in your lawsuit that a result of their actions (or inactions), the landlord or property owner breached their duty of reasonable care by failing to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition or failed to remedy a condition they knew about or should have known about had they been acting as a reasonable and prudent property owner would under similar circumstances.
Then, you must allege in your lawsuit that as a result of the property owners breach of their duty of reasonable care, that you suffered some form of injury. The damages you claim in your lawsuit could be for past out of pocket expenses, past medical bills, past lost wages, future medical bills, future wage loss and other economic damages. Additional damages you can claim in your lawsuit would be for non-economic damages in the past and future – such as your pain and suffering and loss of ability to enjoy life due to your injuries.
In conclusion, if you allege in your lawsuit each of the elements mentioned above, you will be allowed to go forward. The case could either settle at some point or end up in a full jury trial. Either way, the first step would be to get your lawsuit filed properly. I can help filing suit for you in any county in Florida.