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Frequently Asked Slip And Fall Questions
What does Florida law say about suing my employer for a slip and fall? In most cases, an employee in Florida is not entitled to sue his employer due to the fact the employer has what is called worker’s compensation immunity. This means, an employer cannot be sued by an employee for negligence. The employee is limited to workers compensation benefits which cover some medical bills and some lost wages.
Can my jury award be reduced if the court determines that I was partly at fault for my slip and fall injuries? Yes, the law in Florida is comparative negligence. If you sue a business establishment for your personal injuries and it is determined by a jury that the business establishment is 60% at fault in causing the incident and the resulting injuries, and you are 40% at fault in causing the injuries then your damages will be reduced by the percentage you’re found at fault. For example, if you’re awarded $100,000 and you are found 40% at fault, your damages will be reduced to $60,000 and you will get a judgement for $60,000.
What do I need to do to receive a settlement if I was injured in a slip and fall at Florida store? You must prove negligence and prove your injuries. Just because you slip and fall in a supermarket, in a Wal Mart, at a Home Depot, at a McDonalds, at a Target does not mean you’re automatically entitled to recover compensation. You must prove somehow that the store owner had knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused you to fall, or that it should have had knowledge, or that it didn’t maintain it’s property in a safe condition which resulted in the dangerous condition. Then of course you must prove that as a result of that fall, you sustained injuries. You can have a claim, but it’s not an automatic just because of the fact you slipped and fell.
Is it a good idea and do I have to talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster if I was injured in a Florida slip and fall? No, you do not have to talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster. There is no requirement that you cooperate with the other party’s insurance adjuster. If you have a lawyer, he or she will decide how best to proceed based upon their analysis of your case. Sometimes, I allow the insurance adjuster to speak with my client informally and that whatever he says will not be recorded and cannot be used in any subsequent litigation. The adjusters normally agree, but you are under no requirement to talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster.
Does Florida law make it more difficult to recover damages for my slip and fall depending upon where I fell? The law doesn’t necessarily make it more difficult, but if you slip and fall in, let’s say an office building on some water on the floor, where it’s less likely to be expected than a grocery store, it may be more difficult to prove that the office building personnel knew or should have known of the condition. The standard in almost all cases is the proprietor of the business, whether it be an office building, or a store, or a restaurant has a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. That’s the definition of negligence. What is reasonable care under the circumstances?
Does Florida law require me to file an accident report at the time of my slip and fall? An accident report does not have to be filled out. However, it’s a good idea to report an accident and ask that an accident report be filled out. Sometimes the store will insist that you sign or fill out how the accident happened. You’re under no obligation to do so, but it would be a good idea when it’s fresh in your recollection, fresh in your mind how it occurred. However, if you’re too seriously injured at the time or don’t know exactly what happened, it may not be advisable. Normally an accident report is filled out either with or without the input of the person who fell. Most like Wal Mart, and Target, Walgreens, Winn Dixie, and Publix they all have their internal policies since they are sued so often for slip and fall cases, on preparing accident reports.
In Florida, does it matter why I was located at a business location at the time of my fall and will it affect my claim for damages? The answer to that is it could. If you’re invited onto the property, either expressly or by implication, and by implication it means any store implies you’re invited to come in, or someone expressly tells you to come onto their property you have the same status. You’re called an invitee. The property owner has the obligation to exercise reasonable care for your safety.
However, if you are a trespasser, if you are totally a trespasser there is much less of an obligation towards you. However, in the context of commercial businesses, it’s hard and difficult to prove that somebody is a trespasser. If I go into a store and I know I’m not going to buy anything, but I’m just walking around in the store looking at the merchandise, I’m not considered a trespasser because that’s what the store is hoping you’re doing. Even if you have no intention to look, they’re always hoping that maybe something will catch your attention that you will want to buy. Your status on the property does affect the rules on what degree of care the store owner or property owner has towards you.
Does Florida law consider my carelessness when determining if I am entitled to compensation for my slip and fall injuries? Well, it’s not really Florida law that determines, it’s you as a reasonably prudent person has the duty to exercise reasonable care for your own safety. If there’s something on the floor that’s readily visible that resulted from the negligence of the store owner, you have a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. A jury would then determine based upon the facts whether or not you exercised reasonable care for your own safety.
One jurist might say to itself, “Well, when you’re in the store you’re looking around, you’re not necessarily looking at the floor, you shouldn’t be held partly responsible.” But many other juries might say, “Well you should be held partly responsible for not seeing it.” It’s what is reasonable care under the circumstances. That’s the definition of negligence for the property owner, the store owner, and that’s the definition of negligence for you as the plaintiff in the case.
Can I file a Florida slip and fall lawsuit against a governmental entity? Yes you can file a slip and fall lawsuit against a governmental entity that owned, or maintained, or controlled the property. If it’s a sidewalk, if it’s a city of Hollywood, Florida, sidewalk, and it’s broken, and you trip and fall over it, yes you can. You must give them a pre-lawsuit notice within three years of the accident and file a Florida statute in providing certain information about the case and about you before you can even file a lawsuit. Furthermore, there are limitations in the amount of money you can recover against a governmental entity in Florida.
Other than that you must prove the same thing that you have to prove against a private entity when suing for a slip and fall against a government.
In Florida, can I obtain an insurance settlement for my injuries if I was hurt due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property? Yes you can. You can, if there’s an unsafe condition which was created by that other person, whether it’s a private person, another homeowner, another store owner, if it’s unsafe and they knew about it, or should have known about it, or somehow created it on someone else’s property you have a negligence claim against that person. You must prove the negligence and you must prove that as a result of the negligence, you sustained injuries (pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses, etc.). This is all done by evidence. You hire a Florida board certified, civil trial lawyer who specializes in accident cases, that attorney will know how to prove your case.
Is there a difference under Florida law between suing a Florida governmental entity, such as a city, and suing a private business establishment for an injury resulting from a fall on a public sidewalk or in a building? Normally, a private entity is not going to be liable for maintaining a public sidewalk. The rules of trip and fall and slip and fall are a little bit different when you’re suing a Florida governmental entity than when suing a private entity such as a business establishment.
Before you can sue a governmental entity in Florida for a trip and fall on a sidewalk, there’s a certain statutory notice that must be given within the first three years of the accident. It must contain detailed information. There is no such requirement to do that when suing a Florida business establishment for defect in the businesses property, whether it’s a private sidewalk, or whether it’s a parking lot, or whether it’s a store. Also, there are limitations in the amount you can recover in a case against a Florida governmental entity. In most cases, starting in 2013 there was a maximum cap of $200,000 per person and $300,000 per accident when suing a Florida governmental entity for personal injury.
Slip and falls are the second leading cause of injuries and deaths after car accidents. Every hour an older adult dies as a result of a fall. The most common injuries resulting from slip and falls include, herniated disc, head injury and/or a knee injury. Learn more from Alan Sackrin, an expert slip and fall lawyer.
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