Florida Slip & Fall Lawyer
A slip and fall accident on the premises of a Florida business establishment can turn a 30-minute errand into an unplanned trip to the hospital. Whether spilled milk in a grocery store aisle or a misplaced wood beam at a home improvement store, dangerous conditions can have serious consequences. Concussions, broken bones, and bruised vertebrae can all result from a slip and fall, and a trip to the hospital isn’t the only consequence. Besides medical bills, there can be lost income from missed work, and of course pain and suffering. Fortunately, Florida protects consumers by imposing a duty of care on business establishments with regard to maintaining safe premises. When this duty is violated, and a slip and fall occurs, it is time to contact an experienced Florida slip & fall lawyer about recovering compensation for the damages you have suffered. The Pendas Law Firm has offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.
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Florida Business Establishments Owe a Duty of Care to the Public
Common places where accidents such as these happen include doorways, cluttered areas, uneven surfaces, busy corridors, ladders or stairs, unguarded heights, and unstable ground. While it may just seem like you should have been paying more attention prior to your fall, chances are the business establishment should have made it safer before you arrived. It is a business’ responsibility to look for dangerous areas on their premises and make appropriate changes to prevent injuries. Some steps they can take include putting in railings, grippy flooring, or even signs to bring attention to changes in the walking space. It isn’t just how the space is constructed; it also matters how the space is taken care of.
The law has long imposed a duty of care on business establishment owners. This duty requires the owners to make the premises of their businesses reasonably safe for business visitors, sometimes referred to as “invitees.” In discharging this duty, it is not enough that business owners survey the premises for safety issues once per day. On the contrary, owners must remain vigilant for all hours that a business is open to invitees. Florida statutes law addresses this duty in its negligence statute. Framing liability in the context of foreign substances likely to cause slip and fall accidents, the law allows for liability to be imposed on a business establishment if a person who slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance (e.g. water) proves that the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition rendered dangerous by the substance and should have done something about it.
Here, it is helpful to understand the difference between actual and constructive knowledge. Actual knowledge is fairly straightforward. If a person has actual knowledge, he or she actually knows something, whether by personally seeing, hearing, smelling, or touching something, or by having the information relayed to them by another person. Constructive knowledge, on the other hand, is a legal doctrine somewhat removed from daily experience. Having constructive knowledge means being “on notice,” or, in other words, that one is reasonably expected to know of something. For example, if a storekeeper sees that the roof is leaking, but doesn’t actually check the floor to see if water has accumulated under the leaking area, the law remains firm that the storekeeper has constructive knowledge that the floor is wet, and therefore dangerous.
What to Do If You Have Suffered a Slip & Fall Accident at a Florida Business Establishment
It is easy after falling to assess your injuries quickly, pretend you are okay around bystanders, and leave the area. However, once the adrenaline has settled you may realize your injuries are worse than you initially thought. Instead of leaving the scene, make sure you look at your surroundings to see what the cause of your fall or slip was. Later, the water you slipped on may be wiped up, the burnt out light bulb may be replaced, or the carpet patch where you tripped may be fixed. It is imperative that you know what the scene was like at the time of your accident. If there is anyone nearby, ask them for their name and contact information. They could prove to be a valuable witness later. Continue this type of documentation throughout your case. If your injuries are visible, such as bruising or swelling, take photographs of those areas. Another item to note includes what you were wearing at the time of the slip because the owner of the business establishment may try to prove you were wearing inappropriate footwear or were otherwise constrained in a manner to cause you to lose your footing. If you go to the doctor’s office, keep documentation of the costs and any diagnosis given. If you miss work, track the hours and salary that you have lost as a result. When we help victims of slip and falls, we use all this information to compile a strong claim so that we can reach the best settlement possible for you.
Proving actual knowledge of a dangerous business condition can be difficult. While Florida statutes 95.11 grant an individual four years to file a claim for personal injury, it is in your best interest to start the process soon after your slip, trip, or fall. Memories around the event will be fresh and your injuries will show the seriousness of the event. This is especially true if you are losing wages throughout your healing process. Having the case resolved can provide you with the money to pay medical bills when they become due. You may wish to focus initially on overcoming injuries but the best way to deal with these situations is by contacting an experienced lawyer who can take care of the legal process. We are here to take the pressure off you.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Slip & Fall Lawyers
Of course business establishment owners will claim that they did not know of the dangerous condition, and that a slip and fall is not their fault. Chances are, they also have insurance to cover them in situations such as these, in which case the insurance company will provide aggressive defense lawyers. These lawyers can be intimidating in order to save their client from being held responsible. Because of this, slip and fall accident victims would be wise to rely on the services of a Florida slip and fall lawyer experienced in proving both actual and constructive knowledge. The Pendas Law Firm – one of Florida’s most prominent in the area of personal injury – provides precisely the highly effective and experienced lawyers needed to handle slip and fall related personal injury claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to learn how we can serve you in this time of need.
The Pendas Law Firm has offices in Orlando, Fort Myers, Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, and is dedicated to serving the community with its highly effective and experienced team of lawyers.