Can my conduct prevent me from making a slip and fall claim?
A “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” is the generic term for an injury which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or snow, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground.
Whether there is negligence on the part of a property owner associated with a slip and fall is always a fact sensitive analysis. Circumstances that would support negligence in one situation may not support negligence in another situation. A large hole in a front yard that is not surrounded by any type of enclosure would most likely support a claim for negligence in the event someone fell in that hole. If the hole was in the back yard, the claim would not be as likely. If the yard was fenced, the claim would be less likely. If the fence was directly surrounding the hole, the claim would be unlikely. Your individual conduct in the circumstances surrounding the actual slip and fall would be important, too.
In almost every slip or trip and fall case, you must determine whether your carelessness caused, or contributed to, the accident. Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, meaning that your own conduct may diminish, or eliminate, your ability to bring an action forward in the event of an injury. While property owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe from dangers or hazards, a person who enters another’s property have a duty to act reasonably when on that property. There are some questions you should ask yourself about your own conduct — an insurance adjuster will almost certainly ask them after you file your claim.
Did you have a legitimate reason — a reason the owner should have anticipated — for being where the dangerous area was? Would a careful person have noticed the dangerous spot and avoided it, or walked carefully enough not to slip or trip? Were there any warnings that the spot might be dangerous? Were you doing anything that distracted you from paying attention to where you were going, or were you running, jumping, or fooling around in a way that made falling more likely?
Whether a property owner is responsible for injuries that occur on his premises and to what degree a person on said property may be responsible for their own injuries depends upon a number of legal and factual issues. Insurance companies have trained adjusters and attorneys on their side to minimize the responsibility of their client when an injury occurs, why should you have less? You need the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney right away to protect your rights and receive all the compensation you may be entitled to if you are injured on another’s property. The Law Office of Dan Newlin & Partners has the experience, knowledge and resources to help. Please call (407) 888-8000 and have an attorney give you the answers you need to all of your questions about slip and fall accidents. Do not go it alone, get advice from an experienced attorney. Get advice from Dan Newlin & Partners. You will be glad you did.