What Are The Typical Causes Of Slip-And-Fall Accidents?
The number one cause of slip-and-fall accidents is the presence of a transient substance, which is anything on the ground that shouldn’t be there (e.g. water, juice, banana peel). A lot of trip-and-fall injuries are caused by unevenness or height differentials on sidewalks (according to the law, there cannot be a height differential of more than a half inch) and holes in pavement.
When Might A Property Owner Not Be Held Liable For A Slip-And-Fall Accident?
A property owner might not be held liable for a slip-and-fall accident if they were unaware and could not have reasonably known of the condition which caused the accident. There are ways to show that a property owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition. For example, there might be photographic or video surveillance evidence of a spill having been on the floor for an extended period of time. This might be the case if the liquid is discolored or had streaks from the wheels of shopping carts.
The most common defense used by property owners is that they were not aware of the dangerous condition. In the past, I have been successful in combating this defense by examining the store or company’s safety rules and inspection guidelines. For example, how often does someone in a grocery store do a complete sweep to identify defects or dangers? Liability can be imputed on a property owner even if their safety policies were up to date. Simply put, property owners cannot use what I call the ostrich defense, which is to stick their heads in the sand and claim that they did not know about the dangerous condition. This is because a grocery store owner should always ensure that regular inspections for safety concerns are being done.
How Does Comparative Negligence Impact Premises Liability Claims In Florida?
Comparative negligence is the idea that the injured person was somehow at fault for their injury, and that their recovery should therefore be reduced. For example, a property owner might say that if the person had been looking where they were going, then they wouldn’t have gotten injured. However, as humans, we don’t look at our feet when we walk; we look straight ahead and our peripheral vision is only about 15 degrees. I don’t think I’ve ever had a client who said that they saw the dangerous condition (e.g. liquid on the floor, uneven sidewalk) and then fell. Instead, they tell me that they did not see the dangerous condition until it was too late. As a personal injury lawyer, it is my job to fight back against the placement of comparative negligence on my clients; I argue that they were hurt through zero fault of their own.
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