Have you been injured in a Sarasota or Bradenton slip and fall accident? Here is a quick overview of the law on premises liability cases otherwise known as slip, trip and fall injuries. If you need further assistance please contact our Sarasota Injury Attorney from Harris Injury Law Group. We will come to your home for a FREE CONSULTATION in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Palmetto, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte or Fort Myers. There are no fees or costs unless and until we recover money for you, and then we take a percentage, usually one third of your total recovery. For a free “in your home” evaluation of your injury claim, click on the below “Contact Mr. Harris” link and complete the contact form to email our Sarasota accident attorney at Harris Injury Law Group.
Slip, Trip, Fall Accidents – An Overview
Are you suffering from a Sarasota or Bradenton slip and fall injury? If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, you want to know the black letter law on premises liability. What is premises liability? In lay terms, it’s mainly slip, trip and fall accidents. The term premises liability is used to describe personal injury cases where a person slips or trips and falls and is hurt on someone else’s residential or commercial property. These kinds of cases generally fall under a broad category called “premises liability” claims. When falls occur, the owner, tenant or possessor of that property might be held responsible for your accident and injury.
Control is the keyword to establish the party responsible for a slip and fall accident. This is true whether the property is commercial or residential. Whomever is responsible for controlling the safety and maintenance of the property can be held accountable. Owners, tenants or even property managers can be liable under depending on the circumstances. Often the control is shown by either actual conduct or written contract, such as a lease.
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Duty or level of responsibility.
Florida law recognizes several classes of pedestrians on residential or business properties. The class establishes fault based on how foreseeable the accident must be to the relevant parties. A duty is the equivalent of a legal obligation. The most significant duty is owed to a guest on residential or commercial property, and an invitee (also called a customer) of a commercial property or store. The least duty is owed to a trespasser of property, to basically not intentionally harm him. But for a guest or invitee, the duty to inspect and discover hazards is much higher. You are charged by law with notice of any hazards that a reasonably prudent person would discover through observation and/or inspection.
There are certain conditions that increase the likelihood of a fall, either inside or outdoors. Examples of these hazards include: poor or inadequate lighting, uneven or unexpected elevation changes in floors or sidewalks, spills or liquids on floors, stairs and escalators, fallen objects, and any other transient or out of place object or substance. Weather conditions such as ice, snow and rain create slip hazards. Sometimes the objects causing a fall are hidden, such as a potholes.
Proof of fault.
How does a Sarasota or Bradenton personal injury lawyer prove fault in a slip and fall case? The short answer is there is no set or exact way to determine fault. Each case is different and turns on whether or not the property owner, tenant, or party in control knew of the hazard and took preemptive action to eliminate or warn of the slip or trip hazard. In almost every case, the allegedly at fault party will claim that you were just careless for not seeing the “open and obvious” danger or hazard, and you were therefore to blame for your own careless fall.
Here are some helpful points you should know. In the majority of cases, a person who becomes hurt from a slip and fall on another person’s property must show not only that the slip hazard existed, but that the owner or party in control of the property knew or should have known of the slip hazard. What is a slip hazard? Anything that a reasonable person would conclude increases the risk of falling to someone on that property. It’s a condition the injured party would not be expected to know about or encounter in the particular situation. In short, the owner must have reason to know of the hazard and the guest or invitee must not have reason to know of the hazard. This is the central premise in any fall down case.
Thus, in any case involving a Sarasota or Bradenton slip and fall, establishing owner knowledge, also called notice, is done in one of three ways: The owner/possessor (1) created the slip hazard or (2) knew of the slip hazard, and did nothing to either eliminate or repair it, or warn others or (3) the hazard existed for so long that the owner/possessor should have noticed and then repaired, eliminated or warned about the hazard.
Reasonably foreseeable accident.
The essence of owner fault lies with whether the accident is foreseeable. This is often shown by lack of or careless inspections. For example, a grocery store has internal guidelines for who, what, where and when (how often), certain isle inspections take place. If a store employee sees a spill on isle six at 3 pm, but by 3:30 pm it has not been mopped up and no warning signs are posted, when someone slips and falls they can and should argue that the store is negligent in failing to either inspect the aisles to discover the hazard or in failing to eliminate or warn of the hazard in time to prevent an accident.
Code violations can constitute fault.
There are occasions in which a plaintiff can prove a property owner’s negligence by proving they violated applicable codes or statutes. For example, building codes govern the installation and placement of hand rails, ramps and other safety features. If a person falls in a stairwell with inadequate of no hand rails, or improper lighting or inadequate lighting, and this led to their injuries, the injured party might have a valid claim against the owner or party in control of the building due to building code violations.
Must have at fault parties.
In order for Sarasota lawyer to recover damages for a slip and fall on a Sarasota or Bradenton business or residential property, the owner or party in control must be responsible for your accident. While it should be obvious, most people don’t seem to understand that some injuries are really the result of an accident caused by their own carelessness. For example people sometimes fall only because they did not watch where they were going. In this kind of case, the careless pedestrian cannot recover damages from the property owner since the owner is not at fault, regardless of how bad badly he was hurt. If the person who became injured is partially to blame for the injury, then in most states they can recover from the owner, but the amount awarded is lowered by their comparative fault, so they receive less than full damages.
Commercial property falls.
When a Sarasota or Bradenton commercial property is involved in a slip and fall case, the injured party must prove that the owner or tenant or property manager of the restaurant, store, or other kind of business knew of or created the hazard, such as spills or transient objects. They must be shown to have had prior knowledge of the hazard before the accident occurred and failed to take steps to eliminate or warn of it. Or, they should have been aware of the slip hazard on the floor, because a reasonable person in care of the property would have discovered it through routine inspection and repaired it.
The most common situation is the third one but it’s generally more ambiguous than the others mentioned due to the phrase “should have been aware”. Common sense tends to dictate liability in this instance. The law will determine if the owner or tenant took reasonable preventative measures before the accident took place.
Often times, a Sarasota or Bradenton accident lawyer can find multiple parties to hold liable for an accident or injury on commercial property. For example: A property owner decides to rent out space to a tenant. Both may be named as defendants should someone get hurt on that property. The tenant is called the property possessor and has the duty to take reasonable, preventable measures to keep accidents from occurring on the grounds. Even parties that do not possess, but do exercise control or have responsibility for maintenance and repairs, such as a commercial property management company, are liable for falls due to their lack of inspection, repairs, warnings etc.
Residential property falls.
When it comes to a residential setting, Sarasota or Bradenton landlords can be held liable if tenants or a third party slips and falls, and can prove notice. The landlord is liable where: (1) The landlord created or controlled the hazard that caused the slip and fall.< (2) The hazard is repairable, without undue difficulty or expense. (3) The accident is reasonably foreseeable if the hazard is not repaired. (4) The landlord’s act or failure to act causes the injury.
Government property falls.
If a slip and fall injury transpires on any local, state or federal government property, such as Sarasota or Manatee County, there are extraordinary regulations that apply. There are very strict requirements in regards to notice and broad exemption provisions that will protect entities from legal responsibility for injuries that take place on their property.
Getting help for your Sarasota slip and fall accident.
Have you recently been injured on another person’s property? If so you should contact a Sarasota or Bradenton lawyer immediately to determine your legal rights against the at fault party? Call Harris Law Group 941-366-0860 or 888-717-4878 today for a free consultation.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall on Sarasota commercial or residential property and are considering a legal claim against those who were at fault, you should discuss your potential case with an experienced Sarasota personal injury attorney soon, especially in light of time limits in which injured persons may file a personal injury lawsuit. Fill out the contact form below for a free evaluation of your slip and fall injury claim.
Before you consider settling your Sarasota or Bradenton slip, trip and fall claim, give us a call at 1-888-717-4878 (local 941-366-0860) or email us by completing the below contact form.