All property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their property in such a way as to prevent accidents. However, the extent to which they must protect visitors depends upon the visitors’ reasons for entering the land. Because of this, a civil injury case based around a slip and fall examines not just the actions of the landowner, but also those of the injured party to assign blame.
If a visitor enters land without permission or acts in a reckless way, they may have a difficult time recovering compensation in a personal injury lawsuit even with a qualified attorney’s help. A Tampa slip and fall lawyer could work to help you demonstrate that a landowner was at-fault for your accident. In order to do so, a professional personal injury lawyer could work to gather evidence, fit that evidence into the framework of Florida law, and pursue full and fair compensation with as little stress as possible.
The Legal Obligations of Landowners
As a general rule, all landowners must take steps to protect visitors on their land from injuries. However, the degree to which they must extend this protection depends on the visitor’s reason for entering the land. Florida law separates visitors into three categories, each with their own definitions and protections that a Tampa slip and fall lawyer could leverage into unique settlement demands.
The most protection is given to invitees. These people enter the land for a business purpose—for example, a shopper in a grocery store. Owners of property have an obligation to protect invitees from any hazards that they know or should know about.
If a plaintiff can prove that the store owner knew of a spill and did nothing to clean it, this can be powerful evidence of landowner negligence. It may also be sufficient to prove that the landowner reasonably should have known about the hazard.
A middling level of protection is extended to licensees. These people come onto land for a social reason, such as a private house party. Landowners have a duty to protect licensees from reckless exposure to danger. This means that they must warn licensees about any known hazards.
This is a higher standard than that for invitees because a jury does not need to consider whether the owner should have known about a hazard. Only proof that the defendant actually knew of the problem would be sufficient to warrant damages for the plaintiff.
Finally, trespassers are people who enter land without permission. Property owners have an obligation only to prevent causing intentional harm to these individuals. As such, it is very difficult for a trespasser to win a slip and fall case.
Recovering Damages in Tampa Slips and Fall Cases
Slips and falls may seem like minor incidents. However, even the strongest and healthiest person can suffer severe injuries from an unexpected accident. Slips and falls routinely result in broken bones, concussions, sprained joints, and spinal cord injuries.
However, these physical harms may not be the extent of a victim’s losses. A comprehensive claim should also demand compensation for any wages lost while making a recovery, payments for any permanent injuries, and recompense for any mental anguish. A slip and fall lawyer in Tampa could help clients to form an accurate valuation of their case and to demand appropriate sums from insurance companies.
No matter the legal classification of the plaintiff prior to the fall, the case must meet the statute of limitations. This is a law that controls when a potential plaintiff may file for damages. According to Florida Statutes §95.11, plaintiffs have four years from the date of their injury to file a claim.
How a Tampa Slip and Fall Attorney Could Help
Slip and fall claims can be surprisingly complex. The law requires an examination of the actions taken by both the landowner and the visitor to determine liability. As a result, unrepresented plaintiffs can let many valid claims slip away or agree to settlements for low sums when their case demands much greater compensation.
A Tampa slip and fall lawyer could be dedicated to protecting your rights and work diligently to prove that a landowner was negligent in a way that directly caused your injuries. There is a limited time to file a claim, so do not hesitate. Contact a Tampa slip and fall attorney today to schedule a consultation.