When Is a Business Liable for a Slip and Fall?
In winter, Florida may not get ice or snow, but average rainfall increases drastically and the state becomes a wet, sopping mess. This increases the number of injurious slip and falls, which can range from minor to catastrophic. Here’s when businesses may be held liable for slip and fall damages, and what your next step should be.
They Owed You a Duty of Care
Businesses that provide a service to patrons, such as gas stations or retail establishments and similar, owe a duty of care to keep their premises free of hazards. This is different from how slip and falls are treated on private property, where lack of an invitation (trespassing) may remove the duty of care. Businesses, however, extend an open invitation to customers during operating hours, meaning their duty of care is generally automatic.
They Knew or Should Have Known a Hazard Existed
If the manager or owner of the business where you slipped and fell either knew or should have known that a hazard was present, they may be considered negligent.
For example, Florida winters are notoriously wet and muddy. A gas station manager that claims they didn’t know the floors would be wet could still be held responsible for carelessness under the argument that should have had awareness of the issue.
They Failed to Address the Hazard
If a business owner knew or should have known about the hazard, and failed to take action, this can demonstrate clear negligence. Say the same gas station manager above did not put out a rug or “wet floor” sign, even though it had been raining for a few hours before they opened the store. If someone becomes injured as a result, the manager’s inaction is likely to be considered the culprit.
The Hazard Directly Caused Your Injury
To receive compensation for a slip and fall, the hazard that should have been addressed must have been the direct cause of your injury. For example, if you slipped in the gas station and broke your hip, the broken hip could easily be traced back to its cause. However, say you slipped, fell, and hit your head. You began to have severe headaches, but your medical records show that you’ve been treated for migraines for the previous year. It could be argued that your headaches — even if different from before — were pre-existing and not explicitly caused by the fall.
Call a Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer Now
Slip and fall cases are complex. Get the legal help you need after being injured by a fall in a business establishment by calling Frank D. Butler today at 800-253-2531.