Every day, people run the risk of falling and slipping on someone’s property in locations such as supermarkets and convenience stores. Such an accident could result in bodily injury and medical expenses. However, if the property owner’s negligence was responsible for the injury, you may be entitled to damages. As Miami personal injury attorneys, it is important to understand what elements need to be met in order to have a viable claim.
Florida operates on a comparative negligence standard. That is, the damages you recover can be lowered if you are found to be partially responsible for an accident. For instance, if the floor in a supermarket is extremely slippery, but you are running rather than walking, you may be found to have been comparatively negligent. However, just because you may have been partially responsible for the accident, any potential recovery will only be limited by your percentage of the fault. As such, if you were found to have only been 10% responsible for the accident, you are still entitled to 90% of the total damages.
It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to adequately establish that it was the property owner’s negligence that was responsible for the fall. To prevail on a claim for a slip and fall, a plaintiff must prove that the property owner or business owed a duty of care, the property owner or business failed to use reasonable care, and because of the lack of reasonable care, the plaintiff was injured. With respect to the reasonable care, there are three major factors to assess: (1) whether the property owner was aware of the situation; (2) whether reasonable steps were taken to prevent the fall; and (3) whether the danger was obvious to a reasonable person.
Beginning with the first of the three major factors, the standard relies on the fact that a “reasonable” property owner would have recognized the potential harm on the premises. If the property owner has sufficient notice of the hazard, or as a reasonable owner, should have had sufficient notice, it will help to further the case. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner failed to take the reasonable steps necessary in order to prevent the fall. And finally, the danger must not have been obvious prior to the fall.
As Miami personal injury attorneys, it is essential to understand these necessary elements in order to successfully bring a claim against a property owner. Having an attorney well-versed on this matter is something that cannot be overlooked.