Articles Posted in Slip And Fall

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Landowners have a duty to maintain their property so that it is safe for those whom they invite onto their property. When someone is injured on a landowner’s property, the injured party may be able to seek financial compensation for their injuries from the landowner through a premises liability lawsuit. There are various levels, or standards, of care that a landowner has, depending on the landowner’s relationship with the injured party. For example, the highest duty is owed to an invitee, who is someone that the landowner invites onto their land for business purposes. Most premises liability cases involve duties owed to invitees.

BathtubBefore an injured party is permitted to recover from the landowner, the injured party must prove several elements. Generally speaking, these elements are:

  • That the defendant owned the land where the plaintiff was injured;
  • That the defendant was negligent in maintaining the land;
  • That the plaintiff was injured; and
  • That the plaintiff’s injury was caused at least in part by the defendant’s negligence.

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Business owners have a duty to maintain safe premises for their customers. Generally speaking, this means making sure that any area that customers can access is free of dangerous conditions that could cause an injury. When a business is lax in this duty, and a person is injured while on a business owner’s property, they may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries they sustained.

Cut WatermelonTo be eligible for compensation after a slip-and-fall accident, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant business was negligent. This can be done in a number of ways. Most often, this is proven through showing either that the defendant caused the dangerous condition to arise or that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition that gave rise to the plaintiff’s accident. A recent case illustrates these two methods of establishing liability.

Edwards v. Hy-Vee:  The Facts

Edwards was a shopper at a grocery store owned by Hy-Vee. On her way out of the store, she slipped and fell, injuring herself. When she got up, she saw remnants of watermelon, as well as a watermelon seed stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She also noticed that an employee was handing out samples about six feet away. She filed a premises liability case against Hy-Vee, seeking compensation for her injuries.

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Earlier last month, a state appellate court issued an interesting opinion dealing with governmental immunity as it applies to slip-and-fall cases occurring on government land. In the case, Kozak v. City of Lincoln Park, the court discussed the “highway exception” to the general rule that government agencies are not liable for injuries caused on their land or by their employees.

Leaves on SidewalkThe Facts of the Case

Mrs. Kozak was crossing the street in Lincoln Park when she tripped on a raised portion of the road. According to the court’s written opinion, there were two concrete slabs that met in the middle of the street. Where those two slabs met, there was about a three-inch height differential between the two slabs because they did not line up perfectly.

Kozak filed a personal injury lawsuit against the City of Lincoln Park, claiming that the City was liable for her injuries because it failed to fix the dangerous condition where the two concrete slabs met. In response to Kozak’s claims, the City asserted its governmental immunity, claiming that the road was reasonably safe. In support of its position, the City had the Director of Public Services testify that in his opinion, the roadway was safe.

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Earlier this month, a woman who broke her ankle after slipping and falling on ice outside a Marriott hotel had her case reversed based on an error the trial judge made while instructing the jury. In the case, Alcala v. Marriott International, the court held that the jury’s general verdict finding the defendant negligent had to be reversed because two of the four theories of liability provided to the jury were based on improper instructions. As a result, the plaintiff will need to try the case all over again.

Snowy WalkwayAlcala v. Marriott International:  The Facts

Alcala was on a business trip staying at a Marriott hotel. During her stay, as she was exiting the hotel, she slipped on a sidewalk outside one of the hotel’s main exits. As a result of her fall, she sustained a broken ankle. She then filed a premises liability lawsuit against Marriott, claiming the company was negligent.

The plaintiff claimed that Marriott was negligent in several ways. First, its employees were not properly trained to handle icy walkways. Second, the company was negligent for failing to inspect the sidewalk. Third, the company was negligent for failing to safely maintain the sidewalk. Finally, the company was negligent for failing to use slip-resistant materials when constructing the sidewalk.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court in Maine dismissed a premises liability case against a city government because the plaintiff failed to notify the government being sued within 180 days of his injury. In the case, Deschenes v. City of Sanford, the court determined that the plaintiff’s verbal notification that he was going to file the lawsuit was not sufficient to meet the requirements of the state’s Tort Claims Act.

stairs-1215277The Plaintiff Fell Outside City Hall

The plaintiff was visiting city hall to obtain a copy of his daughter’s birth certificate when he tripped on some raised tread and fell down the stairs. After falling down the stairs, he slid into a set of glass doors and was injured as a result. City employees at the scene provided the man with some basic medical care until the ambulance arrived and could take him to the hospital. Upon arrival, it was discovered that he had not suffered serious or life-threatening injuries, although he did have a few “abrasions.”

The plaintiff did nothing for the first 177 days following the accident. However, on the 178th day, he again went to city hall, this time to inform the government that he would be filing a lawsuit against them for failing to maintain safe premises. However, when he arrived, all the doors were closed. He was able to speak with one employee, and he informed that employee that he would be filing a personal injury lawsuit. A few weeks later, the city received formal notice that the plaintiff had filed a lawsuit.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of North Dakota issued an opinion in a premises liability case brought by a woman who was seriously injured when she fell to the ground after stepping on a rotten board at a county fairground. In the case, Woody v. Pembina County Annual Fair & Exhibition Association, the court determined that the fairground was not liable because they were entitled to immunity under the state’s recreational use statute.

fireworks-1550276What Is a Recreational Use Statute?

In general, owners of land have a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to keep the property safe and free of dangerous conditions that may result in serious injury or death. However, there are a few exceptions to this general rule, one of which being when the owner of the land opens up the land for free use to the general public for recreational purposes.

In Florida, the recreational use statute is designed to “encourage persons to make land, water areas, and park areas available to the public for outdoor recreational purposes by limiting their liability.” To do this, the law states that a land owner who opens up his or her land to the general public for recreational use “owes no duty of care to keep that area safe for entry or use by others, or to give warning to persons entering or going on that area of any hazardous conditions, structures, or activities on the area.”

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Florida premises liability law requires that the owners and managers of businesses maintain their establishments in a reasonably safe condition. If this does not happen, a person who is injured on the property may bring a lawsuit seeking financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

When someone brings suit to recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident arising from allegedly unsafe conditions on business property, some in the legal community refer to it as a “slip and fall” case. In Florida, there are several statutory requirements that must be met in order for such a case to be successful. The District Court of Appeal for the Fourth District of Florida recently ruled that a particular woman’s case failed under statutory law.

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boat2If you or a loved one has been injured due to another party’s negligence, you may be surprised to know that, in most cases arising under Florida law, you do not have a legal right to sue the responsible party’s insurance company directly. This is true even if you were contacted soon after the accident by a representative of the insurance company and have never even spoken directly with the person or business that caused your injury.

The rationale for the “nonjoinder statute,” as it is called by the courts, is that a jury should not be told whether a defendant has liability insurance because an award of damages would be more likely if the jury knows that an insurance company (rather than the negligent party) would actually be writing the check at the end of the day. In the recent case of Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. v. Morris, the plaintiff attempted to find a way around this general rule by asserting a breach of contract claim, rather than a negligence action, against the insurance company under a medical payment provision.
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Personal Injury Lawyers Fort Lauderdale

When it comes to a slip and fall accident, sometimes the victims involved miss their opportunity to properly file a lawsuit. If you’ve recently been injured in a slip and fall accident, be sure to speak with a professional slip and fall accident attorney before beginning the journey on your own.

Reasons to File

There are many reasons to file a slip and fall lawsuit. It’s important to know everything about the incident to help prove your case. Here are a few important factors to pay attention to.

  • If the accident occurred and was due to another’s negligence, then that person is at fault. For example, sometimes spills occur and no one is warned, informed or even aware that the accident happened.
  • If the manager or owner was aware of the accident and took too long to repair or clean it up, he or she may be at fault. It is his or her job to ensure the customers or employees in their place of business are safe.
  • If a victim is seriously injured in this accident, then properly filing a claim can help the victim and/or the victim’s family receives a fair settlement.

Slip and Fall Examples

Slip and fall accidents can occur from a number of reasons. They can happen inside a building or outside on the property. Depending on how far the property extends and what accident occurs, the owner can be at fault. If you sustained an injury on business property, the owner might also be at fault. Some of the examples of injuries that may justify filing a slip and fall claim include:

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Slip and Fall Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries as a result of slipping, tripping or falling are among the most common injuries. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.

Over a million Americans suffer such injuries annually. While tripping or slipping may seem like a minor problem it kills over 17,000 Americans a year.Falls are to blame for nearly nine million visits to American emergency rooms annually.

Slips, trips, and falls are the second most common cause of workplace fatalities. They account for 15% of all reported work-related injuries. Last year nearly seven hundred American workers died of workplace falls, slips, or trips.

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