Each slip-and-fall case is unique and will have its own requirements and challenges. That said, there are some common elements to most slip-and-fall cases. These elements typically include establishing a duty, a breach of duty, a link between that breach and your injuries, and your injuries themselves. You’ll have to prove each element for a case to succeed.
The first thing a slip-and-fall case needs to show is that the defendant owed you a duty. That means that the defendant was obligated to protect you and keep you safe from harm on their premises. For example, a store owes a duty to customers to keep their floors safe from slipping hazards. If a jar falls and breaks, creating a hazard, the store owner has a duty to clean the spill quickly, for example.
The next thing you’ll need to show is that the defendant breached their duty to you. An example of this would be if a store knows – or should have known – about a slipping hazard but does nothing to clean it up. They knew about a dangerous condition, and they did nothing to remedy it. When an individual or an organization creates or allows dangerous conditions, they may have breached their duty to you.
After that, your claim will need to show a link between the defendant’s breach of their duty and your injuries. In short, you’ll need to show that the breach of duty resulted in your injury. For example, if you’re in a store and you slip on a spill that was unmarked, you may be able to show that the slippery floor caused your fall.
Last, you’ll need to show that you suffered compensable damages. Witness statements, medical records, photographs of torn clothing, broken cell phones, and other evidence may support your claim. Injuries from a slip-and-fall can be severe and may need detailed medical documentation. You may also need to provide documentation of your lost wages and other losses you suffered due to the accident.
It’s important to note that Florida uses a comparative negligence system for slip-and-fall accidents, meaning that the defense may argue that you were fully, or partially, responsible for the accident. They may argue that you disregarded warnings, that the hazard was obvious, or that you otherwise were responsible for the accident. If you’re considering a slip-and-fall claim, you need to be prepared for pushback by the defense, so speak with a premises liability lawyer as soon as you can.