Florida Slip & Falls
Slip and fall accidents, despite the tendency to discount them as not particularly harmful, can be very significant in terms of injuries caused. Fractures, head trauma, torn ligaments and tendons, even spinal trauma may occur depending on the type of slip and fall and where it occurs. If you have experienced a slip and fall accident, do not convince yourself it is inconsequential – it can be severe, and you deserve compensation if your accident could have been avoided by someone’s paying more attention.
Common-Law vs Florida Statute
Slip and fall accidents are usually brought under a legal theory of negligence, in a specific area of the law referred to as premises liability. What people need to understand before filing suit is that in Florida, the law regarding premises liability actions puts a significant part of the burden of proof on the plaintiff, unlike other states’ regulations on the same topic. This means that it can be much harder for an injured plaintiff to succeed with a lawsuit against a Florida business than it would be to do so in say, Georgia.
If one examines the relevant Florida statute, it states that the injured person must prove that the business establishment where they slipped “had actual or constructive knowledge” of the condition of their floor, and “should” have taken action to fix or eliminate the danger. Constructive knowledge is a legal concept that means that a person is presumed, by law, to have notice of something (whether they actually did or not). In other words, the injured plaintiff must prove that the business knew or should have known about the danger, rather than the business proving they did not know.
Statute of Limitations Is Slim
Another thing to note when deciding whether or not to bring suit is that the statute of limitations on a slip and fall/premises liability claim is relatively long – four years from the date of the incident, where other states’ limits are as short as two years. However, this does not mean that you should wait any longer than absolutely necessary to file your lawsuit, because over time, memories do fade. Many cases of this nature are ‘he said, she said’ to begin with, especially if there is no video footage of the incident, and the longer one waits, the less likely memories are to be correct.
None of this is intended to discourage anyone from bringing suit if they have a legitimate slip and fall claim – but it is a good idea to be cognizant of the fact that Florida law places a burden on the plaintiff that most other states do not. In many situations, the plaintiff has spent very little time in the business where their accident occurred – thus, they may have no way to ascertain how long the dangerous condition was on the floor. Yet the law places that burden on them regardless. It can be a stumbling block, especially if you do not have an able attorney on your side.
Seek Experienced Legal Help Today
A slip and fall accident can put anyone out of commission when they least expect it. If you have been injured in this type of accident, you need to have an attorney who understands the vagaries of the law and how best to ensure your case gets the fair hearing it deserves. The Tampa slip and fall accident lawyers at the Rinaldo Law Group have experience in these cases, and are happy to try and put it to work for you. Call us today to set up a consultation.