A slip and fall accident is a type of personal injury case. Depending on your situation, you might be able to obtain compensation for medical bills and other costs. However, liability is a crucial consideration. Here is how it can impact your slip and fall claim.
What Is Liability?
One of the first things a slip and fall lawyer does when reviewing a personal injury case is to determine liability.
Liability is a legal concept. In the eyes of the law, a liable party is responsible for an event that caused harm to the victim.
The liable party didn’t cause the accident on purpose, but they failed to take the necessary steps to prevent it. The claim uses the concept of negligence to show that the liable party is responsible because they didn’t take preventative action.
Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accident cases use the concept of premises liability. This legal concept establishes that property owners are responsible for maintaining their buildings and surroundings. In some cases, liability lies with the property manager since taking care of the building and its surroundings are part of their job duties.
A business entity could be liable if the slip and fall accident occurred at work or in a store. The municipality could be held responsible if the personal injury occurred in a public place.
If the liable party carries insurance that protects them against personal injuries, the insurer will issue a payout to cover medical expenses and other costs.
However, you will have to file a lawsuit against the liable party to recover damages from them if they don’t have insurance coverage.
Falls resulted in over 1,000 hospitalizations in Hernando County, FL, in 2021. It’s a common type of accident, but not all slip-and-fall cases result from negligence.
Negligence happens if the property owner fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the accident. A reasonable step can be cleaning up a water spill or posting signage to warn people of various hazards.
A property owner can take additional steps to prevent accidents by fixing broken steps and uneven floors, getting rid of clutter and installing adequate lighting.
However, not all slip-and-fall accidents are the result of negligence. If the property owner didn’t know about the risk or if property damage or spills didn’t contribute to the fall, the property owner might not be liable.
In Florida law, comparative negligence applies to slip and fall cases where more than one party is responsible for the accident.
For instance, a property owner can be negligent by failing to fix a broken tile. However, the victim can share the blame because they were staring at their phone and not paying attention to their surroundings.
In this scenario, the victim can still seek compensation, but the insurer or court will adjust the payout to reflect the degree of responsibility of the victim.
There are a few steps you should take after a slip-and-fall accident to help establish liability:
- Report the accident right away.
- Seek medical treatment and keep track of your medical records.
- Take photos of where the accident took place. Make sure the photographs clearly show what caused you to slip and fall.
- If there are any witnesses, get their contact information.
Your next step should be hiring a lawyer specializing in slip-and-fall cases. Your legal representative can establish liability using medical records, testimonies from witnesses, surveillance camera footage, and more.
They will also use their experience with similar cases to negotiate with an insurer or represent you in court and explain how the property owner failed to take the necessary steps to prevent the slip and fall accident.
Establishing liability is a crucial step in a slip-and-fall case. The property owner or manager can be responsible, but there are also situations where the accident doesn’t stem from negligence.
If you are seeking compensation in a slip-and-fall case, your best option is to work with an experienced lawyer who will be able to determine whether anyone is liable for the accident.
Published by HOLR Magazine.