Nobody goes to the grocery store or to a friend’s house expecting to be hurt by a serious fall, but these accidents are unfortunately all too common. Most of the time, steps could have been taken that would have prevented the harm to the victim, had the defendant simply exercised a reasonable amount of care and caution.
Premises Liability Lawyers Representing Stuart Residents and Others
Slip and fall accidents typically happen when a business patron slips on commercial property and is injured. These types of events may also be called fall-down accidents or trip and fall accidents. The exact cause of the fall, such as a slippery or uneven surface, may vary, but the basic result is the same. The plaintiff is hurt, sometimes very seriously, in an accident that could have been prevented had the property owner exercised reasonable care in maintaining their premises. If you or a loved one has been involved in this type of accident, you should seek representation from an experienced premises liability lawyer. At Donaldson & Weston, our Stuart slip and fall attorneys can help you get back on your feet by trying to hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries.
Holding Property Owners Accountable for a South Florida Slip and Fall
Traditionally, premises liability cases involving falls or other injuries on someone else’s property were classified according to the reason that the injured person was on the property. People who were on another party’s property for business purposes, such as to shop in a store or eat at a restaurant, were afforded the highest duty of care. People who entered someone else’s land for a social reason, such as to attend a party or visit with someone in a private home, were also afforded a certain amount of care but less than business customers. Trespassers with no legal reason or authority to be on someone else’s property were owed the least amount of care.
While these distinctions are not as rigid as they once were, Florida law still imposes differing degrees of care on landowners and business operators, depending upon the circumstances of the case. This is important to understand because premises liability cases, like all personal injury and wrongful death cases brought under theories of negligence, require the plaintiff to prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a particular duty, that the duty was violated, that the plaintiff suffered quantifiable damages, and that there was causation between the breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries.
Depending on the facts of a particular case, a property owner may only have had a duty to refrain from intentionally harming a person who came onto their property, or the duty may be much higher and require the owner to have taken all reasonable steps to protect the visitor’s safety. In the case of a grocery store, a restaurant, or another business, this involves making regular inspections of the premises and warning customers of any known dangers or dangers of which the owner reasonably would be expected to know.
In assessing a damages award in a successful slip and fall lawsuit, many factors – including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering – may be considered by a jury. Florida’s pure comparative fault law may reduce the compensation for the plaintiff in a slip and fall accident case if the defendant can prove that the plaintiff was partially at fault. The reduction in the damages award is directly proportional to the percentage of fault attributable to the plaintiff, so it is important for your slip and fall attorney in Stuart to address this issue in an aggressive manner if it arises.