Perhaps you were in the grocery store in Tallahassee when you slipped on a spill on the floor. Or, you might have been at a friend’s house when you tripped over torn carpeting. And what if you were trespassing and tripped over a fallen tree branch? Any of these circumstances can cause you to fall, suffering serious injuries. However, are all these slip-and-fall accidents compensable?
Falls can cause serious injuries
Falls can cause serious injuries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common injuries a person can suffer if they slip and fall include broken bones, especially fractures in the wrist, arm, ankle and hip. If you fall and strike your head on the ground, you can suffer a concussion or more serious brain injury. Any of these injuries can make it difficult for a person to do everyday tasks, get around and, if serious enough, a slip-and-fall injury may require around the clock care.
Are all fall injuries compensable?
Under Florida law, if a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business, the victim has the burden of proving the business knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed and should have taken steps to fix it. A business should have known of the dangerous condition if it was there for a long enough length of time that through ordinary care it would have been discoverable or if it occurred so regularly that it was foreseeable.
What about trespassers?
However, what about trespassers? Under Florida law, in general a property owner is not liable for slip-and-fall injuries suffered by a discovered or undiscovered trespasser, with some exceptions. A discovered trespasser is one who is on a person’s property without having the objectively reasonable belief that they were invited onto the property and whose presence on the property was detected by the property owner within one day prior to the accident. In this case, the property owner must refrain from intentional misconduct or gross negligence that winds up being the proximate cause of injuries, and the property owner must also warn of dangerous conditions that would not be readily observable by others.
An undiscovered trespasser is one who is on a person’s property without being invited there, either expressly or implicitly, and whose presence on the property was not detected by the property owner within one day prior to the accident. In this case, property owners must refrain from any intentional misconduct that winds up being the proximate cause of injuries, but the property owner does not have a duty to warn of dangerous conditions.
Learn more about slip-and-fall injuries
As this shows, the reason a person is on another’s property determines the property owner’s liability in a slip-and-fall accident. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about slip-and-fall accidents are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.