Outcome of Slip-and-Fall Case Relies On Ability to Prove Injuries
In April of 2009, a 14-year-old boy allegedly slipped on a piece of chicken in a Tampa, Florida KFC and won $20,000 from the restaurant chain in a slip-and-fall lawsuit. In 2010, William Joseph Cohen sued the Renaissance Hotel Management Company for $770,121 for slipping on a wet wooden deck at the hotel’s pool. The jury deemed that the defendant was 50 percent responsible for the accident, and went on to award him $385,061. In July of 2014, Milena Krusteva sued Gaymart USA for $4,717,055 for slipping on a spilled drink on a dance floor in a nightclub.
Slip-and-fall lawsuits are difficult to win, as any defendants have trouble proving that their personal injuries were, in fact, sustained from the accident. However, positive outcomes do occur, as evident by the three cases mentioned above. If you were involved in a slip-and-fall accident, and if you sustained serious injuries as a result, you may have a lawsuit on your hands. The personal injury lawyers at the Pendas Law Firm can help you determine whether or not you have a case, and if you do, how to go about winning the compensation you need to recover and get on with your life.
How to Win a Slip-and-Fall Case in Florida
In order to win a slip-and-fall lawsuit, you must prove two things:
- That the establishment you are suing was both negligible and liable; and
- That you were in no way at fault for the accident yourself.
In order to prove negligence and liability, you need to prove that the property owner failed to act as a reasonably prudent person would have regarding the circumstances that led up to your accident. In order to prove this, the judge will need to know at least one or more answers to the following:
- Did the hazardous condition exist for a long enough period of time that any sensible individual could have and should have taken action to eliminate the hazard?
- Were there protocols in place meant to prevent such hazards from occurring?
- Was there a reasonable excuse for the hazard to be present at the time of the fall?
- Was there a way that the hazard could have been made less dangerous, such as relocating the hazard, placing adequate warnings throughout the area, or blocking access to the hazardous site entirely?
- Was the hazard rendered invisible due to poor lighting or other obstruction?
If you can prove that the answer to one or more of the above questions is in the affirmative, you have a strong basis for a slip-and-fall lawsuit.
However, you must further prove that you were not at fault in anyway. In many states – Florida included – there is a concept of law called comparative negligence. If the plaintiff can prove that you were in anyway responsible for your accident, you may only receive part of your desired claim. If the plaintiff can prove that you were entirely at fault for your accident, you may receive none of the desired claim. The amount your award will be reduced is relative to the percentage of your share of liability. In order to determine whether or not you were at fault in anyway, the courts will look at the following:
- Whether or not you engaged in an activity that would have prevented any reasonable persons from noticing the accident;
- Whether or not the plaintiff had access to the area in which the accident occurred; and
- Whether or not there was adequate signage warning of the hazard that the plaintiff ignored.
If the defense can prove any of the above three, your chances of winning an injury claim become unlikely.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
The personal injury lawyers at the Pendas Law Firm have extensive experience with slip-and-fall lawsuits, and can guide you through the entire process to achieve the best possible outcome. If you sustained injuries from an accident at a Florida business establishment, contact our law offices at 1-888-LPENDAS, or online today. Our firm serves clients throughout Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.