Florida Slip and Fall Injury
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common kind of personal injury lawsuits. If you were injured in a Florida slip and fall accident on someone else's property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Just as it sounds, a slip and fall accident occurs when you trip over or slip on something on the floor, then fall down and injure yourself. A slip and fall accident may also be known as a:
- Trip and fall accident, when you trip over a foreign object
- Stump and fall accident, when you trip over an impediment while walking
- Step and fall accident, when you encounter an unexpected failure or hole while walking
Slip, trip, stump, step and fall accidents can occur from problems such as water, ice, grease, or food on a walking surface. They can also occur from a poorly maintained walking surface, including broken floorboards or crumbling steps, and in poorly lit areas.
When there is a potentially dangerous walking surface, the property owner (or tenant) and the person who is walking on the surface bear some responsibility for preventing the slip and fall and avoiding injuries. The property owner must keep the property safe. Anyone who encounters a slippery or otherwise dangerous walking surface must also exercise reasonable care to avoid hurting themselves.
In a slip and fall lawsuit, each party has some degree of responsibility. The injured party has to show that he or she exercised reasonable care when walking on the dangerous surface, and the property owner has to show that he or she took reasonable care to keep the property safe.
Slip and Fall Injuries at Work
If you are involved in a slip and fall injury at work, you normally cannot sue your employer under state personal injury laws. Work-related injuries instead would be covered under Florida workers' compensation laws.
Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical bills for treatment related to your injuries
- The repair or replacement of any property (such as eyeglasses) that was damaged or destroyed when you fell
- Lost wages for time off from work (including time spent going to doctor's appointments and physical therapy)
- The cost of hiring someone to do household chores that you're unable to do because of your injury
- Permanent disability and disfigurement stemming from the accident
- Emotional distress stemming from the accident
- Any other costs you've incurred because of the accident
Florida courts will look at the comparative liability of each party (in other words, how much responsibility the injured party bears and how much responsibility the property owner bears for the injury). This percentage of liability is then used to calculate how much the property owner must pay in damages or compensation to the injured party and how much of the cost the injured party will have to bear.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
Florida law gives you four years from the date of your personal injury to file a claim against the party at fault. (This is known as the statute of limitations.) If you and your Florida personal injury lawyer are unable to negotiate a settlement with the property's owner or tenant (or with their insurance company), you should consider filing a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
If your injury claim is for $15,000 or less, you would file your personal injury lawsuit in the Florida County Court that has jurisdiction. For injury claims worth more than $15,000, you would file your lawsuit in the appropriate Florida Circuit Court.
Additional Florida Slip & Fall Resources
Florida State Courts information
Lawyers.com's Personal Injury in Florida