If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property or on a business property, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an Orlando slip and fall lawyer at Spetsas Buist for a free legal consultation.
When landowners and tenants of property in Florida open their premises to guests and the general public, they have a big responsibility to those visitors. For example, landowners have a responsibility to make frequent inspections of their properties, maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition, and warn of hidden dangerous conditions. Hence, when landowners fail to take these precautionary measures, the results can be harmful and disastrous. Now, let’s talk about slip and fall accidents as they relate to Florida law.
Invitee, Licensee, and Trespasser
In Florida, the duty a landowner owes to a visitor depends on the relationship between the owner and the injured person. There are three general categories of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Let’s talk more about the differences between the different types of visitors.
An invitee is a person invited onto someone else’s property for public or business purposes, and a common example of an invitee is a customer in a store. Owners and tenants owe the highest duty to invitees. Specifically, the owner or operator owes a duty to invitees to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Moreover, the owner has a duty to warn invitees about any nonobvious dangers that the owner knew about or should have known about.
A licensee is a person who enters another person’s property for his or her own benefit. Here, we’re typically talking about a guest. For example, a person who comes over for a party or for dinner is a licensee. A landowner does not owe the same duty to a licensee as a landowner owes to an invitee because, unlike the invitee who enters the property to do business with the landowner, the licensee is there because the licensee wants to be there. Essentially, a landowner only owes a licensee a duty to refrain from willful or wanton injury to the licensee. For example, a landowner has a duty to remove any hidden “traps” on their property.
A trespasser is a person who unlawfully enters a landowner’s property. In Florida, a landowner owes a similar duty to a trespasser as the landowner owes to a licensee. Thus, a landowner essentially has a duty to avoid intentionally or recklessly harming the trespasser.
As discussed above, whether a case is a good case or not can largely depend on how a visitor is classified. Therefore, these distinctions are an important part of evaluating a slip and fall accident in Florida.
Slip and Fall Statistics
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls.
- Falling once doubles a person’s chances of falling a second time.
- Falls cause nearly one-third of all non-fatal injuries.
Slip and Fall Accident Causes
There are many ways a slip and fall accident might occur, and some of the most common slip and fall accidents involve the following:
Wet Floors Without Warning Signs
Here, we’re talking about freshly cleaned floors or liquids and no bright sign to let the visitor know about the hazard. This is an extremely common cause of slip and fall accidents.
Loose mats in entry and exit ways cause many slip and fall accidents because people can easily trip over the mat or an upturned edge of the mat. Thus, loose mats or folded mats are a leading cause of slip and fall accidents.
Improper or poor lighting can make it difficult for visitors to see hazards or defects in flooring or stairs. Hence, many people fall each year as a result of poor lighting.
The quintessential foreign object hazard is the banana peel. However, banana peels are the only foreign objects that can cause a fall. In fact, depending on the shoes a person is wearing, a small piece of plastic or cardboard can cause a serious slip and fall accident.
Cleaning Materials or Wax
Everybody loves a clean and shiny floor. However, sometimes a cleaner will apply too much wax or cleaning material. As a result, the floor can be much too slippery and cause a slip and fall accident.
A pool of soda or juice can be a serious hazard, especially if it’s a clear and slippery liquid. Spilled liquids are a major cause of slip and fall accidents in bars and restaurants.
Sometimes items fall off a shelf, or clothes fall off hangers. As a result, people can easily trip over merchandise and suffer a fall.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
People are injured every day in slip and fall accidents, and it’s often because of a trip hazard or a slippery substance on the ground. Visitors can suffer a variety of injuries as a result of a slip and fall, and we have listed some of the more common types of slip and fall injuries for you below.
Broken Bones and Fractures
A slippery floor or a slippery set of stairs can cause a hard fall, and these types of accidents can cause broken and fractured bones. As a result, the victim can be in for a long period of healing and inconvenience. Moreover, in more severe circumstances, slip and fall victims will need one or more surgeries to repair the injured bones.
Head and Brain Injuries
Whether a person slips on a slippery floor or trips over an object, the ground underneath is typically unforgiving. As a result, head and brain injuries are common in slip and fall accidents.
Neck, Back, and Spine Injuries
When a visitor slips on a floor or slips down a set of stairs, spinal or neck injuries can be fairly common. Moreover, these injuries can be quite severe, and sometimes they don’t show symptoms until much later.
Soft Tissue Injuries
As we all know, a hard fall can cause serious bruises and strains, which can cause extreme and lasting pain. Thus, soft tissue injuries are an extremely common injury in slip and fall accidents.
Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Depending on where the slip and fall occurred, a variety of individuals and businesses could be liable for your slip and fall accident. For example, a property owner, property management company, and a tenant may all be liable for your slip and fall injuries. Additionally, if a location contracts with a security company or a maintenance company, and if those companies are charged with keeping an eye out for hazards on the property, the security company may also be liable for failing to fix the problem or warn visitors about the dangerous condition on the property.
A great service your personal injury attorney can provide is identifying all the proper defendants, and this process can greatly increase the value of your case. The Orlando Slip and Fall lawyers at Spetsas Buist have the knowledge to identify all potentially negligent parties in your slip and fall accident claim.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
There are several things you can do after your slip and fall accident to help yourself and improve your chances of having a successful slip and fall accident claim. Thus, we have listed some of the more potentially helpful actions you could take.
Report Your Injury
If you suffer a slip and fall, the first thing you should do is request to fill out an incident report at the scene of the fall. After your fall, you should demand that the property owner or operator complete this report. If possible, obtain written statements from any witnesses to your fall. Additionally, try to get the names of the property owner and its agents, managers, and employees. This information could help show that the owner had knowledge of your incident. Additionally, if possible, take photographs of the defect that caused you to fall and the area where you fell. Also, take pictures and videos of your injuries. Photographs are critical because they may assist in proving the existence of a defect and other important facts in your slip and fall case, should you decide to make a claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Most importantly, if you are injured, you should seek immediate medical attention because even minor injuries can transform into serious injuries if left untreated. Your injuries can be masked by adrenaline. Thus, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. At the doctor’s office or emergency room, explain the circumstances of your fall. That way, the medical provider can document how the accident occurred, and this documentation can help you with your claim.
Maintain Detailed Records
As with most personal injury claims, victims of slip and fall accidents may be entitled to past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and past and future pain and suffering. Therefore, you should keep detailed records of your medical expenses and lost wages.
Don't Talk to the Insurance Company
At some point after your slip and fall, you may be contacted by the property owner’s insurance company or risk manager. If you speak with a risk manager or insurance company, the information you provide them could be used against you. Liability surrounding slip and fall accidents is not as straightforward as it may seem. Thus, it’s best to say as little as possible until you contact your attorney.
Do You Need to Speak to an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney?
When you’re facing a financial burden caused by another party’s negligence, you need an attorney who will fight for you like family. Spetsas Buist is based in Orlando but serves clients in all of Florida, as well as in South Carolina and North Carolina. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.