Slip and fall accidents happen all the time. Often, the cause is clumsiness or weather conditions, but sometimes they are the direct result of negligence on behalf of a proprietor. If you slip and fall in a store, you could be entitled to compensation for your related damages if you can prove the store owner’s negligence led to your accident.
Causes for which a store owner might be liable could include wet or unclean floors, broken stairs, or hazardous pavement. Slip and fall victims might lose wages, accumulate medical expenses, and experience undue pain and suffering. In these cases, a person who suffers a slip and fall could be entitled to damages. If you slip and fall in a store and are hurt, here is what to expect.
Get Medical Care
First, getting medical care should be your first priority. You should seek medical attention, if necessary, from your personal doctor, urgent care, or an emergency room, depending on what is most appropriate for the injury. The store management and employees should assist you and attend to your wellbeing.
The Store Manager Should Fill Out a Report
The supervisor on duty should create a report on the event. S/he may not be eager to do this, but it is necessary if you believe you should receive compensation. Immediately report the incident and ask for a copy of the incident report.
Other Steps if You Slip and Fall in a Store
In an earlier blog post, we explained the further steps you should take to document a slip and fall in order to prove you deserve compensation, including taking photographs of the scene (if you are able) and collecting eyewitness contact information.
You May Be Entitled to File a Slip and Fall Claim
After you get medical care, report the incident, collect initial evidence, and talk to eyewitnesses, you should consider whether you have grounds to take legal action against the store.
But before you even get to this point, the insurance company might contact you with an offer to settle. It is important that you do not sign any agreements or accept a settlement before consulting with a lawyer, because your claim might be more valuable than you realize.
How do I prove my claim?
Slip and fall accidents in Florida fall under premises liability law, which covers the obligations of property owners. State law has evolved in recent years to place a heavier burden of proof on the plaintiff in such a case, so it is important to have a detailed account of what happened in order to demonstrate negligence on the part of the establishment.
Proprietors must provide a reasonably safe environment for the public under a concept known as “duty of care.” Under a law passed in 2010, the person who slips and falls on a “transitory foreign substance” must prove that the establishment had “actual or constructive knowledge” of a danger to its customers.
Say there is a spill in a grocery store aisle that the staff has failed to clean up in a timely manner. (The law describes this as a “transitory foreign substance.”) The person injured must prove that the establishment knew about the problem and should have fixed it “during the exercise of ordinary care,” or that similar spills happened with such regularity that it was foreseeable.
If you can demonstrate the store owner had, or should have had, prior knowledge of the hazard, you could have a substantial claim. Contact a premises liability attorney at Montero Law at 954-767-6500 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options following a slip and fall.