Slip and Fall Lawyer Serving Victims in Palm Beach County
Is your slip and fall your fault? If you are reading this in the hospital or at home on your couch, you were probably recently injured in a fall, and you may be doubting your right to financial compensation. So, to alleviate your concerns, let’s get this out of the way first: If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, there is a very good chance that the accident was not your fault.
How do I know? As a personal injury lawyer, I spend a significant portion of my time representing individuals with slip and fall injuries. When it comes to slip and fall accidents, I’ve seen it all. I know what it takes to recover just compensation; and, I know that when people think they might possibly have a claim, more often than not they are right.
4 Reasons Why Your Slip & Fall Isn’t Your Fault
Slip and fall accident claims are governed by the law of “premises liability.” Under Florida’s premises liability law, individuals injured on others’ property can seek financial compensation under a wide range of facts and circumstances. With this in mind, here are four reasons why your slip and fall probably isn’t your fault:
1. Property Owners Owe a Legal Duty to Protect their Visitors and Guests
Property owners in Florida have a legal duty to protect their visitors and guests. When you are patronizing a (such as a retailer, grocery store, or professional office), you have the greatest amount of protection afforded under Florida law. If you were at a neighbor’s party, a government building, or any other for lawful purposes, you have clear legal rights as well.
2. The Property Owner Knew or Should Have Known of the Risk
If you were injured at a and the owner knew of the slip and fall hazard that caused your injury, or if the owner should have known of the hazard (i.e. by conducting a reasonable inspection), this is enough to establish a threshold claim for liability.
3. Slip & Fall Hazards Aren’t Always (or Even Often) Obvious
While some slip and fall hazards may be obvious, many are not. When you are out shopping or thinking an upcoming appointment, you aren’t necessarily scanning the floor for hazards – and the law doesn’t require you to do so.
4. Slips Can Happen Suddenly and Without Warning
Slip and fall accidents happen in an instant. One moment you are going your day, and the next you are on the floor writhing in pain. While it is natural to wonder if you could (or should) have done something to avoid falling, the reality is that most slip and fall accidents are simply unavoidable.
4 Reasons Why Your Slip & Fall Might Be Your Fault
Of course, not all slip and fall accidents are someone else’s fault. There are a limited number of circumstances under which you might be partially or fully to blame for your own injuries:
1. You Were Drunk
If you were drunk at the time of the accident, the property owner is most likely going to try to use this against you. But, did you really fall because you were inebriated? Or, is it possible that you would have fallen even if you were sober? If your drunkenness was not a factor in your accident, then it should not impact your claim for financial compensation.
2. You Were Trespassing
Florida’s premises liability law affords the least protection to trespassers. If you were trespassing, the law will hold you accountable for your own injuries unless the property owner intentionally created an unreasonable risk of physical harm.
3. You Saw the Spill but Stepped on It Anyway
If you saw the spill, had the opportunity to avoid it, and you still stepped on it anyway, the property owner may try to say that the accident was your fault. But, was it really? Did you have a realistic opportunity to avoid being injured?
4. You Were at Your Own Home
Since slip and fall accident cases involve claims against the property owner, if you slipped and fell in your own home, the chances of securing financial compensation are probably minimal. But, (i) that is what health insurance is for, and (ii) if you have questions your legal rights, you should still feel free to an attorney.
Florida’s “Pure Comparative Fault” Law and What It Means for Your Slip & Fall Case
Let’s assume that you were partially at fault in your slip and fall accident. What does this mean for your financial recovery?
In personal injury cases, the courts apply a rule known as “pure comparative fault.” What this means is that, even if you were partially at fault, you can still recover partial compensation for your injuries. In fact, even if you were 99% at fault and the property owner was just 1% to blame, then theoretically you could still recover 1% of your injury-related losses. Is it worth it to file a claim for 1%? Maybe, maybe not.
But, let’s take a more-realistic scenario. Suppose a jury would say that you were 10% at fault, or even 50%. If your losses are $20,000 (and many slip and fall cases are worth much, much more), you would still be entitled to collect $18,000 or $10,000. Is it worth it now?
At this point however, you should not assume that you were at fault at all in your slip and fall accident. The only way to establish fault is through a thorough investigation and careful legal analysis by an experienced attorney.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Palm Beach County and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally for a free consultation. To learn how the team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injury, call 561.202.MORE(6673) now. We have offices in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and Jupiter.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.