Dedicated Slip-and-Fall Attorneys in and Around West Palm Beach, Florida
Holding the Negligent Accountable in West Palm Beach
At first glance, a slip-and-fall case might seem simple: someone slipped while on another person's property, fell and suffered an injury. Upon closer inspection of the circumstances in the context of the legal complexities involved in premises liability, however, a slip and fall is not necessarily straightforward. An attorney who practices injury law can help injured persons identify who is at fault in different scenarios.
In Jupiter and West Palm, these cases include slips on "a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment" such as a puddle of spilled water, steps into a hole or encounters a sudden drop in the path, trips over an object that did not belong in the way or stumbles over an uneven surface.
What Must Be Proven for a Successful Claim?
As in all personal injury cases, three essential elements must exist:
- The property owner must have a duty of care to the injured party.
- The property owner did not use reasonable care.
- The person was injured as a result of the lack of reasonable care.
David M. Piccolo, P.A., can guide an injured person through each of these steps toward resolution and appropriate compensation.
Why Was the Injured Person There?
Under Florida law, the duty of care a property owner owes to others depends upon the injured person's reason for being on the property. The injured person is assigned one of several statuses:
- Public invitee: Someone invited onto the premises as a member of the public, such as a visitor to the public pool during its scheduled open hours
- Business invitee: Someone allowed onto the property in order to conduct business indirectly or directly related to the property owner's dealings, such as a private gym member using the facility's sauna or a pool maintenance contractor hired by the manager
- Licensee by invitation: A social guest, such as the owner's friend who comes to a barbecue event hosted by the owner
- Uninvited: Someone who chooses to enter the property for his own purposes and without an invitation, such as a sales representative attempting to sell products
- Trespasser: Someone who enters a place without permission, invitation or license to be present, such as someone who jumps a fence to hang out on the property after hours
If an invitee or licensee by invitation slips and falls on a puddle, for example, the injury lawyer must prove that the owner of the business "had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it." In other words, the business should have known about the condition because it existed for a length of time, or it recurred regularly. The business owes the greatest duty of care to these categories of visitors.
On the other hand, uninvited licensees and trespassers are owed far less consideration. However, even these persons are owed at least a minimum of protection from intentional or willful harm. Property owners cannot set traps, for example.
Was the Injured Person to Blame?
Florida recognizes comparative negligence, where all possible responsible parties are liable only for their share of fault. If the injured person shares in the blame for the accident, then the damages awarded are reduced by that percentage of fault.