If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Tampa, or elsewhere in Florida, an experienced Tampa slip and fall attorney can help you recover the damages you are entitled to receive for your injuries. Accidents of this nature fall under premises liability, which is a specific category for tort liability that applies to the landowner or a leaseholder that holds them legally responsible for certain injuries that occur on their property due to conditions that are not safe. The policy behind premises liability is to make sure that business entities and property owners take appropriate care to protect the public from foreseeable dangers that occur as a result of hazardous property conditions.
While a premises liability accident is often called a “slip and fall” due to the typical accident in which a person slips on a dangerous surface, such as a slippery floor, and thereby is injured from the fall, premises liability can take any number of forms. For example, dangerous premises conditions leading to legal liability may include:
- Open holes, gaps or ditches on the property
- Uneven pavement, sidewalks or flooring
- Standing water in shallows or dips on the property
- Crumbling or unstable surfaces
- Wet surfaces
- Falling structures or objects
- Improperly secured carpets or mats
- Hidden or obscured hazards
- Tripping hazards such as wires, cables or floor trim
- Unguarded heights
- Defective chairs, tables and building appointments
As with all torts in negligence, liability must be shown by proving four distinct elements:
- The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff
- The failure of the defendant was the cause of an injury
- The injury caused the plaintiff to suffer damages
In the context of premises liability, these four elements refer to a defendant who has invited a plaintiff to his or her property for the purpose of conducting business. This means a defendant who operates a business owes a duty to his or her customers to provide a location free of hazardous conditions. If the defendant fails to provide a location that is safe, he or she may be held liable for any injuries suffered by customers as a result of dangerous conditions.
When is a landowner liable for a “slip and fall” injury?
Slip and fall liability attaches where the owner or proprietor knew or should have known of a potentially dangerous condition on the property and failed to take the steps to remove or minimize an unavoidable danger. These steps may include cleaning dangerous materials or objects, installing fencing around a building site, putting up warning signs, posting guards, building temporary walls or detours, filling potholes, and fixing broken fixtures.
Landowners are legally obligated to take precautions to prevent injury to others, but proprietors are not “strictly liable” any time that an individual gets hurt on their premises. The law expects both plaintiffs and defendants to exercise reasonable care. This means that a plaintiff who is running or distracted may not be able to recover any damages if his own conduct contributed to the accident.
If you believe you have been injured in a “slip and fall” case, it is critical that you retain a Tampa premises liability attorney to represent you who understands fully all of the issues that must be researched. You want an attorney who will ask you the right questions to competently and accurately evaluate the merits of your case. Rick Terrana is knowledgeable about slip and fall premises liability law throughout the state of Florida.
All cases at the Law Office of Rick Terrana begin with an evaluation of details surrounding the “slip and fall” accident. During the consultation, Rick Terrana will determine if he feels your case is worth your while to pursue. If you do proceed, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis. This means that you owe no attorney fee unless he is able to obtain compensation on your behalf.