How Do You Prove Negligence in a Slip-And-Fall Case in Florida?
Did you know that slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of hospital visits? According to The National Floor Safety Institute, over 8 million people take a trip to the emergency room each year after a fall.
You might be wondering if a property owner is liable for the injuries you sustain at their home, restaurant, store, or other establishment. The short answer about property owner liability is that it depends, and you must be able to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property owner was negligent.
Here are the elements of a negligence claim, and a list of evidentiary sources you can gather to strengthen your case.
Elements of Negligence in a Slip-And-Fall Case
To recover financially in a personal injury case, including slip-and-fall cases, you must prove that someone was negligent. In a legal context, negligence is a failure to act in a way that a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
For example, if you slipped on a freshly waxed floor at a department store, the outcome of the case would be influenced by how a reasonable department store owner would have managed the situation. Should the area have been blocked off, should there have been warning signs, should the store have been closed, or should the store owner use a different cleaning solution?
As you can imagine, this is a very fact-specific analysis, and a Florida slip-and-fall attorney can be instrumental in establishing the elements of negligence.
A successful negligence claim requires proving four things:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care. Generally, property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment to prevent visitors from suffering injuries.
- The property owner breached the duty of care. Here, you must be able to prove that the property owner was responsible for a condition that was dangerous or hazardous.
- The failure to maintain a safe environment caused your injury. Here, you will need to show, for example, that your knee injury happened because you slipped on the freshly waxed floor.
- You suffered damages as a result of the incident. This element requires showing that you have a compensable injury that is related to the slip-and-fall incident.
Evidence That Can Be Used to Prove Negligence
Establishing that you suffered an injury and linking that injury to a property owner’s negligence requires substantial evidence.
A Florida slip and fall attorney can work with you to investigate your claim, establish your case, and negotiate a settlement.
Evidence gathering your attorney may collect on your behalf could include:
- Video surveillance
- Eyewitness statements
- Accident reports
- Medical documentation and records
- Previous reports of injuries
- Building codes and regulations
- Maintenance records
- Expert testimony
Often, you will need evidence that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition. There are defenses that a property owner can employ, which can make proving the elements of a slip-and-fall injury more complicated.
For example, if a customer in a grocery store spilled something less than a minute ago and then you slipped and fell, the owner could argue that they were not aware of the hazard and did not have ample time to address the issue.
On the other hand, evidence showing the store was habitually lax wiping up spills could show that there was a pattern of not maintaining a safe environment.
Contact an Experienced Florida Slip and Fall Attorney
Any time you’re injured on another person’s property, it’s worth speaking with an attorney to determine whether you have a case and how much it could be worth. At Leaser Law Firm, we are experienced Florida advocates for those who have experienced a slip-and-fall injury. Contact us at (954) 233-3515 to schedule a free consultation.