What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in the State of Florida
Unfortunately, most people will suffer a slip and fall accident at some point in their lives, and many times these accidents will be through no fault of their own. In some cases, these accidents can cause permanent and life-changing injuries, leading to lifelong disability and inability to work. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident in the state of Florida, it’s important to understand the laws in place for these incidents and what steps you need to take to be fairly compensated for your injuries.
Florida Slip and Fall Laws
Statute of limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on your right to have your lawsuit heard in court. If you miss the deadline the case will be dismissed, unless it falls under rare special circumstances for which the deadline can be extended. Speak with an attorney to see if your case falls under those circumstances and how the statute of limitations applies to your case. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for a slip and fall case is 4 years. This means that the lawsuit against the property owner must be filed within 4 years of the incident [Florida Statute section 95.11(3)(a)]. This statute applies to almost all personal injury cases filed in Florida’s civil court system, not just slip and fall cases. It also applies to any property damage incurred as a result of the slip and fall, such as an expensive pair of glasses being broken during the fall.
“Pure Comparative Negligence” Rule
Comparative negligence states that when an accident occurs the fault and/or negligence of each party involved is based upon their own individual contributions to the accident. In Florida, this means that whatever amount you were negligent, your recovery will be limited by that amount. So, if you were deemed to be 20% negligent in a slip and fall accident in which you are the plaintiff, your damages would be reduced by 20%. There are several arguments that property owner can use in regard to your amount of negligence:
- You were wearing unsafe or inappropriate footwear
- You were not paying attention to where you were walking
- Steps were taken to protect visitors, such as signs indicating the danger or cones cordoning off the area
- You were on a part of the property where visitors are not supposed to be
- The dangerous conditions were obvious and easily visible to you
Comparative negligence laws in Florida are still a factor even if your case never makes it to trial, meaning that if the property owner chooses to settle with you outside of court, they and their attorney will still determine the amount for which you were at fault for the accident to determine the amount of compensation they are settling with you for.
Steps to Take if You or a Loved One Have Been Involved in a Slip and Fall Accident
- Seek immediate medical treatment and see a doctor as soon as possible so that your injuries can be promptly treated and documented. These medical records are important pieces of evidence if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries.
- Report the accident, whether outside on a sidewalk, in a store, or at someone’s home. Find a manager, property owner or landlord and make a written report of the incident, ensuring that you receive a copy before leaving the premises.
- Document everything, likes names and addresses, phone numbers and/or email addresses of witnesses, time and date of the accident, the exact location where you fell, and any conditions that contributed to the accident. Write down what you were doing before the accident and how you fell. You may also want to keep the clothes and shoes you were wearing during the accident in a safe place, as they may be relevant pieces of evidence should your case go to trial.
- Do not post about the incident on social media, and do not give any statements. Limit the amount of communication you have with the property manager or owner. Do not give a statement to any insurance company until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
- Consider legal action and contact Armour Law Group, Lake Nona’s personal injury lawyer. These can be complicated cases and difficult to prove on your own. Finding a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who handles these types of cases on a regular basis can help you to receive the compensation you deserve.