Florida slip and fall cases are difficult. They involve many factors, which are listed below.
1. Florida Slip and Fall Law
A slip and fall case requires an injury. If someone falls but has no injury, there is no case. Find out why the victim is so important to a slip and fall claim.
There needs to be a dangerous condition. Otherwise, there is no case.
An example is if you slip and fall in a Florida hotel. You are not entitled to any money if the hotel did not have a hazard.
You Don’t Need to Be Able to Which Substance Caused You to Slip
It is not necessary that you identify with any specificity the nature of the substance that caused you to fall. Kinney v. R.H. Halt Assocs., Inc., 826 So.2d 328, 330 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002).
Types of Footwear, Shoes and Clothing
The type of footwear, shoes and clothing worn by the injured person at the time of the fall are important. They are an issue in every slip and fall case.
The hazard must have caused your injury. The victim needs to document the dangerous condition. The victim may need an expert evaluation. The injured person should complete a case evaluation checklist.
The injured person has the burden of proof. His or her status on the property will determine the duties that are owed. They may include the duty to warn.
Section 768.0755 requires plaintiffs who “slip and fall on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment” to prove “that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”
(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
Subsection (2) of § 768.0755 provides that “[t]his section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises. constructive notice.
At least one Florida federal court has stated that Section 768.0755 has clearly eliminated the mode of operation theory as a basis for recovery in slip-and-fall cases and Plaintiff may not pursue her claim on this basis. Woodman v. Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Inc. Dist. Court, MD Florida 2015.
The injured person’s negligence, if any, can reduce the case value.
The injured person may be able to prove negligence per se. Special statutes such as the Jones Act apply if the claimant is a seaman who was working at the time of the accident.
2. Building Codes
Intent and use of building codes are important. This includes how they apply to existing buildings as well as negligence per se. There are some building codes that apply to exits, hallways, elevation changes, doors and thresholds, stairs, handrails.
Ramps and Inclined Walkways
Building codes apply to inclined walkways and ramps. A building owner may be negligent for failing to follow these codes.
Above is a picture of a ramp and inclined walkway. If it is in Florida, it may not meet the building code. It may not meet the code because the slope is steep.
This ramp is at a mall. Someone may slip on this ramp and get hurt. If a victim is injured, they may be able to recover their damages from the owner and/or mall operator.
Someone in the building industry may be able to quickly tell if this ramp meets the building code.
The slip and fall accident questionnaire that I use asks whether the victim slipped on a ramp or slope.
standards are governed by the Illuminating Engineering Society.
The above picture is from a Miami Beach trip and fall claim. I represented the victim. The outcome is confidential. It is settlement for a fractured hip. It happened at an apartment building.
She tripped on a curb in the courtyard. She had a rod put in her upper leg bone (femur).
Florida has local and special codes. These include the South Florida Building Code. A handicapped access standard applies to parking aisles, elevation changes, ramps and stairways.
3. Basics of Walking
Certain walking surfaces may cause a slip and fall.
Improperly placed wheel stops can cause a trip and fall accident. A metal bar sticking out of a wheel stop can cause a trip and fall injury.
Uneven levels, ramps, stairways, curbs and risers, speed bumps and rough and uneven surfaces can also cause falls.
Balance and Perception
The injured person’s balance and perception are a factor in a slip and fall case. The victim must understand:
Visual flags include:
Lighting and illumination
Determining Visibility such as glare
Distractions include, but are not limited to, floor patterns hiding a riser, or risers hidden by a tile pattern and/or color. Other distractions are point of purchase displays. The victim can argue that they have little fault because of the distractions.
Checking out the walkway
The injured person needs to examine the walkway.
4. Analysis and Examination
In slip and fall cases, the injured person may need to have an expert perform testing on the coefficient of friction and slip resistance.
Dimensional measurements of stairways may need to be taken. A ramp may need to be measured.
Lighting experts have testing instruments to determine if there was reasonable lighting according to industry standards. Glare can also affect the lighting.
Shoes and Footwear
An expert can test the shoes and footwear that the injured person was wearing at the time of the slip and fall. This includes looking at the shoe material, straps and shoe design (e.g. heel).
For a fee an expert will prepare a liability report which explains why the defendant is at fault.
5. Claim Assessment
Components of Liability
The injured person should get all the facts possible from witnesses.
The victim should get as much documentation as possible.
This may include having an expert inspect the scene.
Credibility of the witnesses is an important factor in a slip and fall case.
Showing a Dangerous Condition
The injured person should examine the physical condition of the hazard. Document and preserve all the evidence of the hazard. Send a spoliation of evidence letter to the defendant. An expert evaluation may assist in proving the hazard.
The injured must show that the defendant owed him or her a duty. Duty may be under common law or based on a Florida Statute. Statutes are laws. The duty may also arise from the defendant’s industry standards.
Breach of Duty
The injured person must show that the defendant failed to do something that he or she should have done. The victim could also show that the defendant acted unreasonably. He or she can show that the defendant was not acting in accordance with the custom and practice in the industry.
The victim must show that the dangerous condition caused the accident and injury.
The goal of the injured person’s slip and fall claim is to recover damages. The kind of injury will determine the damages. You need to show evidence of the damages. The adjuster will not take your word for it.
The victim needs to calculate the claim value. The injured person can then make a proper demand to the liable parties.
A claim questionnaire helps the victim immediately document the details. The injured person will forget facts as time passes.
5. Letters, forms and lawsuits
The injured person needs proper letters and forms to effectively handle the claim. He or she should send a notice of claim letter to the property owner and operator. It may also need to get sent to a landscaper, security company or cleaning company.
The injured person should request that the property owner and operator disclose insurance information. Florida law requires they disclose it. The letter should ask the owner and operator to preserve information.
The victim needs to send a written request for the 911 call. The injured person should request medical bills and medical records from the:
- Fire rescue ambulance or private ambulance
- Emergency doctors
- Radiologists at the hospital
- MRI centers
- Treating doctors
- Physical or occupational therapists
The victim should send a letter to any first party coverage. It should request the amounts paid. It should request the first party’s claim of lien. It should also request many other documents.
First party coverage includes health insurers, Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Tricare, short or long term disability insurers, travel insurance and more.
The letter should request certain information. It needs to tell the first party that if they fail to respond, they may jeopardize their right of recovery. The victim should later send letters requesting that they waive or reduce their balance.
The victim may want to send a public records request for the property plans, prints and specifications. It will refresh his or her memory of the property layout. The injured person may want to request the certificate of occupancy.
Statute of Limitations
The defense may raise the statute of limitations as a defense. Most slip and fall cases are against a private individual or premises.
Slip and fall cases are based on negligence. In Florida negligence cases, there are time limits within which you must sue.
The deadline to a sue a private party for a slip and fall that occurred in Florida is four years. No extensions can be granted.
Warning! The time limit to sue the federal government for a Florida slip and fall is shorter. There are also specific notice requirements that must be given before a lawsuit can be filed.
The time limit to sue the state of Florida, a county or municipality for a Florida slip and fall has notice requirements that must be followed.
Tip: The time to sue most cruise lines in Florida is one (1) year. This includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.
Specific notice requirements must be followed before a lawsuit is filed.
6. Choosing and Utilizing an Expert Witness
The victim may need an expert witness. He or she should select the best expert in field. Some slip and fall cases require an expert. Many Florida engineering experts require a minimum of $1,200 to start working on the case.
The injured person’s attorney will pay the cost of an expert. The lawyer will be reimbursed once the case settles.
All the engineering experts that I have hired have nonrefundable fees. They will take measurements at the accident scene. The expert will give you his or her thoughts on liability.
7. Calculating Damages
Types of Damages
There are two main types of damages in a Florida slip and fall case.
Noneconomic damages are known as general damages. They are available in a Florida slip and fall claim. Most people refer to noneconomic damages as pain and suffering. General damages also include mental anguish and inconvenience.
Different Types of Injuries
The victim may suffer a hard injury. This would be a hip fracture, wrist fracture, upper leg fracture, knee fracture, ankle fracture, upper arm fracture, lower leg fracture. It also includes a broken bone, brain injury, amputation, loss of eyesight, paralysis or death. It includes other objectively verifiable injuries.
The severity and residual disability should be documented. Documentation should immediately be sent to the liability insurer.
Soft Tissue Injuries
If the victim is hurt, he or she should get medical treatment. Soft tissue injuries are more difficult to prove. It often becomes a “he said, she said.”
Medical evaluations consist of the treating doctor’s report, specialist’s report and psychological reports may increase the case value.
The victim should document his or her wage loss. In bigger cases, the injured person may need to hire an economist.
Showing Pain and Suffering
An injured person may want to keep a daily journal of his or her pain and suffering. The victim’s memory will fade. People heal.
The diary may refresh your memory. A journal may increase the pain and suffering damages in a Florida slip and fall case.
8. Defense Arguments
A slip and fall victim should want to get fair value for his case. To do so, the injured person must know how the liable party will defend the case.
The defense will argue against everything that I have mentioned up to this point. Assuming their arguments are reasonable.
Examine Defense of the Claim
The adjuster will look at the incident report.
Look at Prior Incidents
The adjuster will find out if there have been prior accidents at the premises. Prior accidents help the injured person prove liability. Lack of prior incidents may hurt the victim’s claim.
Maintenance and Inspection Procedures
The adjuster will look at the insured’s frequency of inspections before the accident. The insurer will see how often maintenance was performed.
The claims adjuster will see if the insured reasonably maintained and cleaned the premises.
9. Falls at Supermarkets
A Florida supermarket’s carelessness may cause an injury to a shopper. Many of those accidents are falls. Learn about falls at:
The injured person has the burden of proof. The supermarket has a duty to inspect its premises. The victim should figure out where the hazard originated.
The victim can claim that the business owner’s failure to warn or failure to inspect the premises caused the injury. The injured person must show that the defendant had notice of the hazard. The victim should take photographs and video of any dangerous condition and the entire incident scene.
Although not technically supermarkets, you may slip and fall at similar business establishments. Learn about slip and fall cases against:
Target in Florida
Find out about Florida Target slip and fall claims and compensation.
I have written in-depth about Florida Petsmart slip and fall claims.
10. Falls in Residences
The accident victim may have an injury case if he or she fell at a residence in Florida. Residences include:
Homes in Florida
The injured person must show that it was foreseeable that he or she used the area in a home that caused the injury.
An apartment complex’s carelessness can cause an injury. If so you may have a case. They may be negligent if they:
- Improperly resealed the stairway
- Did not have slip resistant stairs.
- Had improper handrails.
- Did not have a warning on a door with a step down.
- Had a bench that was improperly secured.
An injured person may have a slip and fall case if a Florida condominium in some of these situations:
Many Florida condominiums have painted walkways. They should use anti-slip additive on them. Their failure to use paint with a slip resistant additive may cause injury. If it does, the injured person may have a case.
Florida condominiums may resurface walkways. Resurfacing needs to be done properly. An improperly resurfaced walkway can cause a slip and fall. If so, the victim may have a case.
Learn about Florida condominium accident cases.
Hotels, Resorts and Motels in Florida
Lady Gets $197,500 for Slip and Fall at Hotel in Florida
See a claim where a lady got $197,500 after she slipped and fell in a hotel bathtub. She fractured her upper arm bone (humerus) and had surgery to fix it.
I represented her. Learn more about Florida hotel, resort and motel slip and fall claims.
A Florida vacation rental property may be unsafe. A hazard may cause a guest to slip and fall. If it does, the guest may have a case.
Dangerous Conditions in Florida Residential Buildings
Florida residential buildings can have these dangerous conditions:
The residential building has a duty to inspect the stairways. The burden of proof is on the victim. He or she may be hurt by:
- Handrails that are too close to the wall
- Handrails that are difficult to grab
- Stairs without tread
- Steps with slippery paint
Porches and Balconies
Slippery decking on a balcony may cause a slip and fall. If it does, an injured person may sue the unit owner.
11. Falls at Recreational Places in Florida
Many hazards can cause a slip and fall at a recreational facility in Florida. Florida recreational places include, but are not limited to:
Other recreational facilities include a movie theatre, race track, casino, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Epcot, Convention centers, Miami Seaquarium, Busch Gardens, Seaworld Orlando, Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Parrot Island and the Monkey Jungle.
Common dangerous conditions at Recreational Facilities
Find out about injury claims where someone slipped and fell on algae in Florida.
Tripping on an electrical cord
Some Florida theme parks and other recreational facilities use electrical cords in pedestrian walkways. The cords should be secured to the floor.
They should also be marked in a matter that is made obvious to patrons. The device that is used in the picture above covers electrical cords.
This is a safe way to protect guests from tripping on the electrical cords. The bright yellow color makes it obvious.
Food and liquid, or garbage and debris may cause your fall.
12. Falls by Disabled or Elderly People
Disabled and elderly people are more likely to slip and fall. They often suffer hip fractures.
Disabled and elderly people may slip and fall on spilled food, ramps, torn carpet or unmarked curbs on private property. The above picture is from one of my trip and fall cases. My client suffered a hip fracture from a trip and fall at a Miami Beach apartment complex.
It happened in the courtyard. She claimed the curb that she tripped on was a hazard.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) increases the regulations that apply to property owners. The owner must look for hazards on the property.
Kinds of Dangerous Conditions
Dangerous Conditions that Cause Slips
There are many types of slipping hazards.
Dangerous Conditions that Cause Trips
Elderly or disabled people can get hurt by a tripping hazard. If so they may have a case.
Falls due to Elevator issues
Disabled or elderly people may have a case if an elevator becomes a hazard.
Falls Due to Faulty Products
An elderly or disabled person may fall due to a hazardous bathtub. An improperly installed or maintained grab rail may cause the victim’s fall.
13. Florida Playground Accidents
Your child may be hurt at a playground in Florida. The playground may be at a hotel, motel, apartment or condominium complex. It could be somewhere else. Your child may have a case.
The parents of a child who falls may claim that the pre-school or elementary school employee was not properly supervising the child. The parent may say that this caused the child’s fall and injury.
A child may fall at a play area at Walt Disney World in Orlando. A child may fall at a playground in an apartment complex.
The property owner will place blame on the parents for not supervising their child. I settled a case for $30,000 where my client fell of a loose bench. It occurred at a Broward County, Florida apartment complex.
The complex’s insurer placed blame on the child’s parent for not supervising the child.
14. Florida Restaurant Accidents
15. Florida Gas Station Accidents
A Florida gas station may let liquid remain on the floor for an unreasonable amount of time. A customer may slip and fall on the liquid. The victim may have an injury claim against the gas station.
16. Falls at Florida Hardware Stores
Florida hardware stores sell liquid products, sand, dirt. They also may sell sodas, water and candy. These items may fall to the floor.
The injured person may slip and fall on these hazards. If so, the victim should immediately take pictures of these hazards after the fall.
17. Slip and falls on Cruises
A cruise ship passenger may slip and fall on the deck of a cruise ship. Many of these falls happen on the lido deck. This is because passengers use the pool. They then walk around.
The victim usually has to prove that the cruise staff should have known that the liquid was on the floor before the fall. Many cruise ships have self-serve ice cream machines. These usually leave a big mess on the floor.
Since food and drinks are served throughout the ship, they may spill on the floor. This may cause a slip and fall.
Some cruise ships have big malls on them. For examples, the Norwegian Victory of the Seas has a large mall. In some regards, handling a cruise ship mall accident case is similar to a Florida mall injury claim.
Most cruise ship passenger slip and fall cases need to be filed in federal court in Miami, Florida. This is true for:
- Slip and fall accident claims against Carnival Cruise Lines
- Slip and fall accident claims against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
- Slip and fall accident claims against Celebrity Cruise Lines
- Slip and fall accident claims against Norwegian Cruise Lines
This assumes that the ship embarked from, returned to, or touched an US port.
Slip and fall claims against Disney Cruise Line must be filed in any court in Brevard County, Florida, or Federal Court in Orlando, Florida.
18. Florida Shopping Mall Slip, Trip and Falls
Find out more about Florida shopping mall slip and fall claims.
19. Slip and Fall Claims against Florida colleges and universities
Did someone’s carelessness cause you to slip or trip and fall and suffer an injury in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? Were you hurt in another type of accident?
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