As you walked up the stairs at work, you tripped over a broken edging, toppling to the bottom and breaking your wrist. Who should pay for your injuries? You might be surprised at just how often premises liability accidents occur. These accidents, most commonly slip-and-fall cases, account for a total of $36 billion in injuries annually.
Our attorneys compel insurance companies and liable parties to play fair and compensation people appropriately. Call us to learn more about your options and get the results you need.
National Statistics in Slip-and-Fall Cases
The National Safety Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiled the following shocking national data about the most common type of premises liability cases, slip-and-fall injuries.
- More than one million people suffer a trip, slip or fall annually
- About 17,000 of these slip-and-fall accidents result in fatal injuries
- An estimated 25 percent of serious workplace injuries include falls – the third largest cause of on-the-job injuries
- Costs for a slip-and-fall accident run about $28,000, including time off work and medical costs
Understanding Premises Liability Law
Both property owners and those who visit the property have certain responsibilities that they must fulfill. Possible liable parties include property owners, tenants, construction companies and even sub-contractors. If you suffered an injury due to the owner’s failure to maintain safe conditions, the courts require you to prove these facts:
- The owner knew about the hazard
- The owner failed to correct the hazard
- You suffered an injury due to the hazard
The owner must have “constructive knowledge” or an awareness of the danger in the case. For example, if the owner knew that the pool did not have a fence, the owner needs to have one built in order to correct the problem. However, if you ran by the rim of a swimming pool and slipped, fell and broke your ankle, the courts will likely hold you at least partly responsible. Even if the property owner behaved negligently or carelessly, you have a responsibility to behave in a reasonable manner so that you avoid accidents.
Classification of Individuals in Premises Liability Law
In premises liability cases, the courts consider the circumstances of each situation and then assign a level of responsibility to the property visitor. These categories follow from the lowest level to the highest:
- Trespasser – An uninvited and unwanted person on the premises. An owner cannot set traps for trespassers
- Licensee – Generally refers to private settings and homes. A social guest, whether the person was invited or just stopped by to visit
- Business invitee – Someone on the property for business reasons. The property owner has the highest responsibility to invitees to keep them from harm or dangers on the property, especially when the owner knows about said hazards
Did you or a loved one get hurt while on a property, such as a mall parking lot or grocery store? Don’t delay – protect your rights! Call our experienced Lakeland Accident Lawyers to speak with an attorney right now.
Florida Case Studies – Slip-and-Fall Awards and Settlements
Clients wonder what settlements or jury verdicts to expect in premises liability cases. As you can see from the following actual court cases, the results vary widely.
- February 2012 – Milena Krusteva vs. Gaymart USA – Verdict of $4,717,055. The plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet dance floor at a local nightclub in Ft. Lauderdale. She claimed that the defendant failed to maintain the area and added that dim lighting worsened the fall. While public reports failed to specify the totality of her injuries, case watchers believes they were extremely serious due to the high award amount, which included $3.8 million for disability, future pain and suffering and related aggravation.
- May 2014 – Unnamed Plaintiff vs. Unnamed Car Dealership. The parties reached a confidential settlement with the plaintiff, who originally requested $13.5 million in damages, not including past and future pain and suffering. The plaintiff, a cleaning employee, slipped and fell in oil left on the floor, injuring her neck and back. She drove to a co-worker’s residence and then went by ambulance to the hospital. She suffered disc herniations and underwent lumbar surgery four months later. A year after the original accident, she underwent further surgery, but complications led to paralysis and permanent quadriplegic status.
- May 2014 – Ragan vs. Beall’s Outlet Stores, Inc. – Verdict of $430. On a rainy day, the plaintiff slipped and fell in water on the floor. The defendant claimed that the water was from the plaintiff’s umbrella. However, the plaintiff insisted that she had left her umbrella by the cash register. Her surgeon recommended future surgery, claiming she suffered disc problems. The defense countered that her injuries were unrelated to the fall and were instead degenerative. She had previously been in two car accidents and had sustained injuries to the same area. In addition to the listed factors, the jury considered her weight of more than 300 pounds and found her 95 percent negligent with the defendant 5 percent negligent for the final award. Prior to the trial, the defendant offered to settle the case for $50,000.
Call our team to speak with a lawyer immediately to determine whether you have a case and what you can do about it.