Know Your Rights: When is a Property Owner Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident in Ocala, FL?
Bill Allen | March 11, 2022 | Slip & Fall Accidents
Falls are among the most common types of accidental injury and unintentional death. Therefore, it is important to know your rights when you slip and fall on another person’s property. The property owner could be liable for your injuries and damages under Florida’s premises liability laws.
When is a Property Owner Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Business owners, government entities, and private homeowners can be liable for a slip and fall accident on their property. Generally, you must prove the following elements of premises liability for a property owner to be liable for a slip and fall accident:
- You were legally on the property, which establishes a duty of care
- The owner either knew about a danger or should have reasonably known about a danger on the property
- The owner failed to correct the dangerous conditions and/or failed to provide adequate warnings of the danger
- The dangerous conditions were the direct and proximate cause of your injury
- You sustained damages because of the owner’s breach of duty
There are a few exceptions. For example, homeowners are generally responsible for dangers they know about on their property. Also, suppose you fall because of a liquid or other transitory substance. In that case, Florida law requires the owner to have actual or constructive knowledge of the spill to be liable for damages.
If you fall on another person’s property, report the fall as soon as possible. Take pictures of the accident scene and ask any eyewitnesses for their names and contact information. Then, seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. These steps can improve your chance of winning a slip and fall case.
What Damages Could You Receive for a Slip and Fall Accident?
The types of damages you might receive for a slip and fall accident depend on several factors. Most accident victims can receive compensation for damages, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Long-term nursing care or personal care
- Lost wages, benefits, and decreased future earning potential
- Pain and suffering damages caused by emotional distress and mental anguish
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement, impairments, scarring, and disability
- Reduced quality of life
The amount you might receive for a slip and fall accident in Ocala depends on factors such as the severity of your injury, the availability of insurance coverage, the strength of your evidence, and whether you are partially to blame for the cause of the fall. An attorney can discuss how much your case is worth during a free consultation.
Can I Recover Compensation if I Am Partially to Blame for the Fall?
Florida’s comparative fault laws do not bar accident victims from receiving compensation for damages if they are partially to blame for the cause of their injuries. Therefore, you are not entirely out of luck if you, for instance, were looking at your telephone when you slipped and fell.
However, the law does reduce the amount of money you receive for your personal injury claim. For example, let’s assume a jury finds that your actions contributed to the cause of the slip and fall accident by 20 percent. If so, your compensation is reduced by 20 percent.
Therefore, if the jury awarded you $250,000 for damages, the most you could receive would be $200,000 (the total award of $250,000 less 20 percent).
Insurance companies and property owners use contributory fault allegations to avoid paying valid injury claims. A slip and fall accident lawyer can help you fight these allegations to recover fair compensation for your damages.
What is the Deadline for Filing Slip and Fall Accident Claim in Ocala?
Most slip and fall accident lawsuits must be filed within four years from the accident date. However, if a family member died because of a fall, you have just two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the government is the liable party, the deadline for filing a claim decreases dramatically. You have just six months to file a notice of claim with the government agency or your claim could be denied.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Ocala?
Slip and fall accidents occur for numerous reasons. Some common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Slick flooring surfaces
- Uneven or broken floors
- Damaged, cracked, and crumbling concrete walkways
- Obstacles in walkways
- Broken or missing steps
- Spilled liquids or other slippery substances
- Inadequate lighting
- Broken or missing stairway rails and railings
- Exposed and loose wiring
The best way to know whether you have a claim against a property owner for an injury is to seek legal advice from a slip and fall accident lawyer. An attorney analyzes the facts of the case in relation to premises liability laws to determine if the property owner is liable for your damages.
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