What You Should Know About Winning a Slip or Trip and Fall Lawsuit
Slip, trip, and fall accidents are more common than you might imagine, happening in stores, restaurants, and even on city sidewalks. In most cases, these accidents are not the fault of the victim, because the law requires buildings, businesses, walkways, and parking lots to be maintained for safety.
However, it can be difficult to prove who was at fault in a slip and fall accident. While you may be able to hold a property owner responsible for damages you incurred on their property, proving a slip and fall case can be challenging.
Here is everything you need to know to have a chance at getting compensation for your fall.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident Injuries
“Slip and falls” and “trip and falls” commonly cause injuries like:
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Hip fractures
- Leg or ankle fractures
- Broken arms, wrists, or fingers
A slip and fall accident is caused when an individual slips and falls on a slippery floor. The slippery floor may be caused by ice, water, excess moisture, or another slippery condition.
A trip and fall accident is caused when there is a defect in the floor such as an unrepaired hole, a protruding board or wire, or uneven flooring or sidewalk.
Both accidents can cause serious injuries, permanent disability, and even death.
Steps to Take if You Were Injured in a Slip or Trip and Fall
If you have been injured in a slip, trip, and fall accident, you will want to take these steps to ensure you get the help and compensation you deserve.
- Get medical care. In addition to getting the care and treatment you need, your physician can document your injuries.
- Report your slip, trip, and fall accident immediately to the manager, owner, or landlord, who should document the accident in a written report and provide you with a copy.
- Collect and document crucial information like the names and contact information of potential witnesses. Take pictures of the location, write out your account of the accident, and keep the shoes and clothes you were wearing at the time in a safe location.
- Limit communication to the business manager or owner, refrain from posting details on social media, and speak to your lawyer before giving a statement to the involved insurance company.
- Call an experienced lawyer. Victims of slip, trip, and fall accidents often do not realize how complex their incident may become, so you should call on an experienced slip, trip, and fall lawyer to guide you in getting the compensation you deserve.
Determining the Property Owner’s Fault
Whether you are injured at work, while vacationing during spring break at a hotel in Florida, taking a walk outside, or eating at your favorite restaurant, there is no denying the severity of injuries that ensue from slip, trip, and fall injuries. In fact, these are some of the most common types of accidents that result in personal injury.
Many things can cause slips and falls, and it can be hard to tell who is at fault. However, many slip and fall legal cases involve the idea of negligence. If a property owner failed to provide a reasonably safe environment, they may be seen as negligent in the eyes of the law.
The issue of liability in slips and falls occurs when an individual is harmed by negligence through security, malfunctioning elevators, or even contaminated food.
Many cases are won by proving a property owner was aware of a dangerous condition, such as torn carpeting or unmarked wet floors, that may have contributed to a slip and fall.
Target vs Kaufer Slip and Fall Case
One example is the Target vs Kaufer Slip and Fall Case.
Lazaro Kaufer was shopping at Target when he slipped on some liquid laundry detergent and faced costly medical bills. The testimony at trial showed that an unidentified individual was walking in front of Mr. Kaufer and carrying a bottle of leaking laundry detergent, which Mr. Kaufer slipped on.
Mr. Kaufer and his wife, Katia sued Target for negligence. The jury found Target partially liable for Mr. Kaufer’s fall and awarded him $250,000 in damages and his wife $30,000 for loss of consortium.
However, Target appealed the final judgment, and the eventual conclusion was that Target’s alleged negligent mode of operation (bright stores with high-gloss floors) did not cause the unknown patron to spill the detergent that led to Mr. Kaufer’s slip.
What Needs to Be Proven in a Slip, Trip, and Fall Case?
An individual cannot automatically sue just because they slipped and fell on someone else’s property. For a valid slip and fall case, they must prove:
- Liability (the defendant’s duty): The defendant owned or operated the premises.
- Negligence (notice): The defendant was aware or should have been aware of the condition that may have harmed the public.
- Dangerous condition: The harmful condition was not considered a “minor” issue.
- Damages: The plaintiff sustained injuries because of a dangerous condition.
Guests to a property are expected to show a reasonable amount of caution when moving through space, and reckless and careless behavior on the victim’s part can ruin the grounds for a case.
Collecting Proper Evidence
To win a slip and fall case, lawyers provide evidence that helps clearly establish negligent behavior exhibited by the property owner. This evidence can take many forms:
- A victim must show evidence from a doctor that they sustained injuries from their slip and fall incident.
- Pictures or surveillance videos from the crime scene can be used as evidence of a dangerous condition present at the location.
- Witness testimonies can help eliminate the possibility of negligent or careless behavior on the part of the victim and back up the victim’s claims about the existence of the dangerous condition and the property owner’s awareness of it.
Common Slip, Trip, or Fall Questions
Can I Sue the City if I Fall Due to a Cracked Sidewalk?
Yes. Improperly maintained sidewalks are a common cause of lawsuits against government entities in Florida. Cracked or heaving sidewalks can be a serious trip hazard and may result in significant injuries.
What Happens if I Slip, Fall, or Trip at a Store?
If your slip, trip, or fall was caused by the store’s negligence, you may have the right to recover compensation against the property owner. You must show that the hazardous condition at the store was not so obvious and open that you should have taken steps to avoid it.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Slip, Trip, or Fall Case?
Under Florida law, you have 4 years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall injury. If the accident resulted in a death, you have 2 years to file a wrongful death claim.
Winning a Slip, Trip, or Fall Case
The injuries and costs associated with these cases can be incredibly damaging. If you have been injured due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you have a right to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
Need help making your case? Contact Florida Slip and Fall attorneys at SteinLaw for a free consultation.