Understanding Florida’s Slip and Fall Laws
If you’re injured in a slip and fall, that’s serious business. You may need a qualified personal injury attorney specializing in Florida’s slip and fall laws to help you make things right.
At the Berman Law Group, based in Boca Raton, FL, we stand by our clients when they can’t stand for themselves. Collectively, our personal injury attorneys bring to your case decades of experience in fighting for injured victims who demand justice and compensation for their injuries.
We’ll fight for you in your slip and fall case.
What is slip and fall under Florida law?
In old movies and comedy bits, a slip and fall is hilarious. You know the routine—a guy walking down the sidewalk slips on a banana peel, goes flying through the air, and lands on his behind. The audience laughs, the guy gets up, and it’s on to the next bit.
In real life, however, slip and fall is no laughing matter. A slip and fall personal injury caused by negligence can lead to severe physical injuries, psychological changes, and loss of income.
Here’s what Florida state law has to say about slip and fall under § 768.0755:
“If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”
It’s perfectly clear now, right? No? Let’s translate that from legalese to language you don’t need a law degree to understand.
In plain English, a “transitory foreign substance” is a liquid substance or solid item that is somewhere it doesn’t belong that causes you to slip or trip. This may be spilled soda in a convenience store or a box of bestsellers waiting to be put away on the shelf in a bookshop.
What about “actual or constructive knowledge”?
Actual knowledge means that a business owner is definitely aware of a hazard. Here’s a scenario:
Another customer drops a cup of coffee on the floor of your favorite restaurant. The other customer tells the owner, but it’s the lunch rush so the owner doesn’t clean up the spill right away. You walk in to pick up your tuna salad and end up flat on your back in a puddle of coffee.
The issue with actual knowledge is that you have to depend on the testimony of another person to prove it. In this case, that person would likely be the customer who reported the spill, had the owner respond, then watched the owner hurry off to take care of others in line.
Constructive knowledge means that the hazard was ongoing for an amount of time and that any reasonable person should have noticed.
For example, you drop Fluffy off at the local dog groomer. There’s an old tree on the lawn with roots that have cracked and pushed up part of the sidewalk. As you’re leaving to run the rest of your errands, you trip on the broken sidewalk, falling face-down.
The sidewalk didn’t just break at that moment. This issue has been ongoing, and the owners could not possibly enter or leave their business without recognizing it.
Constructive knowledge can also mean that the hazard was a regular issue and the owner should have known an accident was bound to happen eventually.
Another scenario: Every time it rains, the gutters leak outside the front door of your local brunch spot. The leaking has been happening ever since the grand opening a little over a year ago. You love the atmosphere of the quaint old house-turned-restaurant, but it’s clear that a hole must be in the gutter, and the tile outside is really slick. You show up for pancakes, slip on the tile, and hit your head.
Where’s the proof?
The key elements to either actual or constructive knowledge are your ability to prove that:
(1) The hazard existed for an extended period of time.
(2) The owner knew or should have known about it.
(3) The owner neglected to handle the problem that caused your injury.
You may provide that proof in the form of witness statements, photos, or video.
Another important thing to know is that § 768.0755 only applies to businesses. If you slip and fall at a pool party in a friend’s backyard, that’s an entirely different legal matter. (However, Berman Law Group can certainly help with that, too.)
Whose fault is it?
At Berman Law Group, our job is to look out for you. The business where your slip and fall took place will have an attorney, too, and that attorney is going to try to cast the responsibility for the fall on you. Florida law calls this comparative negligence.
Comparative negligence means that while the business may be partially responsible for your slip and fall, you are, too.
Were you scrolling through social media when you slipped in the spilled coffee? Did you miss the line of neon paint on the broken sidewalk? When you fell on the wet tile, did you ignore the “Please use other door” sign? Were you running? Wearing the wrong shoes? Distracted by a podcast?
The point is that the attorneys for the other side will do whatever they can to prove that their client is not totally at fault. This may reduce the amount of damages the court rewards for your slip and fall. Even if you settle out of court, such a determination will lessen your compensation.
A skilled and knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer will help you make the best case possible so you will receive adequate compensation for your pain and suffering.
The clock is ticking
As with other personal injury cases in the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is four years from the date of your injury as the deadline to file your civil suit.
Four years may seem like plenty of time, but please don’t take any chances. If you’re considering a civil suit, reach out to a slip and fall lawyer at the Berman Law Group to discuss the details of the incident. Only in extremely rare cases will the court allow any leeway on the four-year deadline to file.
What can a slip and fall lawyer do for me?
At first, maybe you didn’t think your slip and fall injuries were such a big deal.
Now, a few weeks or even months have passed. You’re still in severe pain. Your medical bills are piling up. You’re missing days of work and losing income. You can’t keep up with your normal hobbies, household duties, or exercise routine. You may be depressed—and you don’t believe you’ll ever feel like yourself again.
It turns out that your slip and fall accident was more serious than you thought.
You need to contact a personal injury lawyer.
Our personal injury attorneys at the Berman Law Group can help protect your rights in a slip and fall case. How?
Your personal injury lawyer will look into all the details of your slip and fall case. Your attorney will consult with you first. He or she will review photos, video, or other available documentation, and talk to any witnesses. The whole investigation process will help your attorney prove that the business establishment was careless, negligent, and responsible for your slip and fall.
Detailing your losses
While your physical well-being is priceless, your attorney can help put a price tag on your slip and fall damages. Your personal injury attorney will gather medical bills and calculate income that you’ve lost as a result of your injury.
Your slip and fall attorney will also determine the amount of money you should receive for pain and suffering. These non-economic amounts are tougher to calculate since they do not result in bills or pay stubs. A knowledgeable attorney will work with you to determine a suitable pain and suffering amount—then provide reasonable, solid backup evidence for that amount.
Representing your best interests
The business where your injury occurred will probably not be ready to write a check for the compensation you deserve. Their insurance company won’t open its checkbook, either.
The business in question, their insurance company, and their attorneys will mount a defense to your charges and claims. That defense will likely claim that you are exaggerating the severity of your injuries. They will likely also argue that you were partially responsible for your slip and fall accident.
When you retain Berman Law Group, your slip and fall attorney represents you and your best interests. With personal injury experience, your attorney will know what to expect from the defense and how to counter those claims.
We will work with you and for you to win compensation for your slip and fall injuries.
If you’ve been unable to work due to your slip and fall accident, you may be worried about the cost of retaining an attorney. At Berman Law Group, we offer a free consultation, so don’t let that concern hold you back.
Contact a personal injury attorney at Berman Law Group
If you’re the victim of a slip and fall incident, the Berman Law Group can help. As a personal injury law firm, we have extensive experience in slip and fall cases.
We don’t let anything slide in the fight for our clients’ rights. We dedicate ourselves to serving you, and we treat our clients with compassion.
Based in Boca Raton, FL, Berman Law Group has personal injury lawyers available in Florida cities including:
· Boca Raton
· Deerfield Beach
Be sure to contact a slip and fall lawyer from Berman Law Group at 561-660-9995 for a free consultation to get answers and advice regarding your case.
Personal Injury Attorney, Boca Raton
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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Berman Law Group
3351 NW Boca Raton Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33431