Slip and Fall Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a ‘slip and fall’?
A. A "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" is the generic term for an accident which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or any foreign substance or object on the ground, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground.
If you are on someone else's property and injure yourself as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the land owner or business establishment may be liable for your injuries. If you are a property owner and someone injures himself on your land, you may find yourself legally responsible for his or her injuries.
Q. If I fall and am injured on someone else’s property, am I automatically entitled to compensation.
A. Yes and No. Many property owners have Medical Payments insurance coverage (Med Pay) which pays money toward your medical bills regardless of fault up to the insurance coverage limit. When that coverage is present, someone who fell on the covered premises would automatically be entitled to that compensation. Beyond that, compensation is not automatic. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffer if your fall and injuries were caused by a dangerous condition on someone else’s property and the accident was foreseeable.
Q. Do I have a case if my slip and fall or trip and fall accident was partly my own fault?
A. Yes. If you were partially responsible for your slip and fall or trip and fall accident, the law in Florida allows you to bring a claim for the proportionate share of your damages attributable to the land owner or business owner. In other words, fault is apportioned among all responsible parties and the value of your claim is reduced by your proportionate share of fault.
Q. What is a dangerous or hazardous condition?
A. Property owners are responsible for injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on their property, which the owner knew about, or should have known about. This can include a foreign object on the ground which can be a tripping hazard or a foreign substance on the ground, such as a liquid spill, which can be a slipping hazard. The hazard may be obvious or hidden, permanent or temporary.
The owner’s knowledge of a dangerous or hazardous condition before the occurrence of your accident is an important factor in determining liability. In the case of temporary conditions (like a liquid spill), the length of time that the condition existed before the incident occurred has legal significance in this regard.
Q. Do I need a lawyer?
A. Slip and fall cases can be difficult to win in court. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can provide a competent assessment of your case, and will deal with the land owner or his/her insurance carrier. A lawyer can locate experts to help in the evaluation and presentation of your case, if it proceeds to trial. Most slip and fall cases are handled as contingency fee cases, which means that the lawyer is paid at the conclusion of the case, and only if you recover.
Q. What kinds of damages are recoverable for this kind of injury?
A. This depends on the jurisdiction and the facts of your particular case (an attorney can help you with this). In general, the following damages may be recoverable:
- past and future medical bills and expenses incurred as a result of the incident.
- past and future lost income for from missed work due to your injuries
- the fair value of any clothing damaged in the incident
- compensation for non-economic damages which include pain and suffering as a result of the incident.
Q. I injured myself from a slip and fall on the job. Can I file a claim against my employer?
A. Most work related injuries are handled through the state workers compensation system and you are usually precluded from suing your employer. However, if a third party who is not employed by your employer was responsible for the condition that caused you to fall, you may have a claim against that company. Again, you may want to speak with a slip and fall lawyer to discuss your rights, given the facts of your situation.
The experienced slip and fall lawyers at Hannon Legal Group are available to discuss your potential case free of charge and with no obligation. Please feel free to email us or call us at (305) 358-3109.