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Who Is Liable If I Slip and Fall in a Florida Business?

 Posted on November 08, 2023 in Personal Injury

Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyerSlip and fall accidents frequently occur in Florida retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and other business properties. However, determining legal liability when you suffer injuries from a premises fall can be complicated. A Florida lawyer can help you determine if your case has enough evidence to prove you were not at fault and what else to know about Florida law.

Businesses Have a Duty of Reasonable Care

Business owners must maintain their properties reasonably safe for lawful visitors like customers and invitees. This includes regularly inspecting for and fixing hazards that could cause slips, trips, or falls, like wet floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, cluttered aisles, and more. If a business knowingly fails to correct or warn about a dangerous condition that injures someone, it can be sued for premises liability.

You Must Prove Negligence

However, Florida law does not automatically make businesses liable anytime someone falls on their property. To recover damages, the injured person must prove:

  • The business created the hazardous condition or knew about it but neglected to fix or warn about it.
  • The dangerous condition existed long enough that the business reasonably should have known of it.
  • The hazardous condition directly caused the fall and subsequent injury.
  • The injured person was lawfully present on the premises, such as a customer.

So, if you trip over a spill right after it happened, the business likely did not yet have the opportunity to address it.

Modified Negligence Rules Now Apply

In 2023, Florida adopted modified comparative negligence laws. This means if the injured person was also negligent, such as not paying proper attention when walking, their compensation could be barred or reduced depending on their degree of fault. Specifically:

  • If their negligence was under 50% of the total blame, their damages were reduced proportionally to their percentage of fault.
  • However, they recover nothing if their negligence equals or exceeds 50% of the total fault.

So, under current Florida law, having any negligence at all can severely limit or completely bar damage awards in premises liability cases. Be sure to consult an attorney to evaluate fault issues when pursuing claims.

Document the Evidence Thoroughly

To build a strong injury claim, take photos of the hazardous condition, get witness statements, report the incident, and seek prompt medical attention. Keep records of all treatment bills, lost income, and other damages. Make sure you work with your lawyer on submitting all the evidence they need so you can get the most out of your case.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale, FL Personal Injury Lawyer

Though businesses must maintain safe premises, they are not automatically liable for falls. Work with a Broward County, FL personal injury attorney to prove negligence and recover losses. Call The Law Offices of John D. Ameen, P.A. at 800-555-4011 for a free consultation today.

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