The Basics of Suing for a Slip and Fall Injury
Being out and about in the community, interacting with people, and frequenting local businesses encapsulates what most people see as being part of a society. But, this sociability brings with it the risk of experiencing a slip and fall injury while on someone else’s property. Most people likely know someone personally or through friends that incurred an injury due to a slip and fall incident, but it is also likely few really know how these cases work, and what the injured party can expect. As a brief overview, property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for those who may enter the grounds, and this responsibility includes keeping surfaces clear of substances that could cause someone to slip and fall. The duty to remove such hazardous conditions applies when an owner has actual or constructive notice of an issue. Constructive notice exists if the dangerous condition existed long enough that an owner exercising reasonable care would have discovered it, or the condition was foreseeable because it occurred regularly. Thus, if a patron of a grocery store, for example, slipped and fell due to spilled liquid laundry soap left in a store aisle for two hours, a strong case could be made that the store was negligent and should be liable for the patron’s injuries. Now that the basics of a property owner’s obligation to maintain a safe site are covered, a discussion of some misconceptions and important information about suing for these injuries will follow below.
A lot of businesses are now posting warning signs about the presence of potentially dangerous conditions in an effort to ward of lawsuits, but the presence of a sign alone does not mean a person cannot successfully sue for an injury. While it will be more difficult to prove the business owner is liable, the visibility of the sign or its placement in relation to where the injury occurred can mitigate an owner’s argument that the injured party had notice of danger and chose to proceed anyway.
How Long a Person Has to Sue
It is not necessary to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall injury right away, but the law does place a limit on how long a person has to sue for a personal injury claim. In Florida, injured parties have four years to file a suit for negligence from the date of the injury. However, the longer a party waits to start a case, the greater the likelihood evidence will be lost and witnesses will forget important details. Consequently, it is important to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ascertain if a lawsuit is worth pursuing.
Finally, in this age of social media and the ability to access a variety of information on almost everyone, it is very important to be honest during proceedings related to a case and to not actively try to conceal potentially damaging information. A woman recently learned a hard lesson on this issue when a Florida court of appeals upheld the dismissal of her slip and fall case against Home Depot after it was revealed she failed to disclose previous accidents and injuries during a deposition. The court felt her efforts rose to the level of attempting to defraud the court, which is a serious claim. While the defendant has to meet a high burden to succeed on a motion for dismiss based on omissions and/or misrepresentations, the potential consequences render such actions extremely inadvisable.
Get Legal Advice
If you are the victim of a slip and fall injury due to the negligence of a business or other property owner, talk to a personal injury lawyer before you assume you do not have a claim. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado will help you identify the responsible party, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation.