Defenses Property Owners Use to Defeat Accident Claims in Florida

You are in charge of your own safety when at home, but there are risks all around you when you step outside your door because not all property owners are as diligent. It is not surprising to learn that traffic collisions are among the top causes of injuries in the US, according to the National Security Council (NSC), but the incidence of falls may be shocking. Slip and fall accidents are the third leading cause of fatalities in the nation, and they are the #1 cause of death in 5 US states. Many of these incidents occur because of dangerous conditions on property, such as restaurants, parks, attractions, stores, parking lots, apartment complexes, office buildings, and many more. 

Florida property owners have a duty to maintain a safe space under Florida law, so they can be held accountable when a victim is injured. Still, defendants will attempt to shirk their responsibility by raising defenses to the claim. It is important to get help from a Miami premises liability attorney for assistance with overcoming the crucial defenses.

Posted Warning Signs

A property owner might argue that the placement of a warning sign about the dangerous conditions will prevent you from recovering damages because you should have read it and heeded the alert. In some cases, this may be a solid claim. However, a property owner cannot use this defense when a warning sign was posted days prior. The duty to keep the place safe means fixing the hazard ASAP, not merely alerting others.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations

There is a deadline to sue for a slip and fall accident, and the statute of limitations in Florida is now two years after recently being reduced from 4 years. The property owner may have a valid defense if you do not file a lawsuit in court before the time expires. The clock begins to run on the date of the incident, so take action right away.

Assumption of the Risk

A legal defense could exist under the concept of assumption of the risk, in which the victim is aware of the potential for an accident and still moves forward with an action. An example is visiting an ice rink, where you know the high risk of fallingand you go skating anyway.

Comparative Fault

In Florida, there is a law that focuses on the victim’s conduct in an accident. The statute on comparative fault could be a defense if you were negligent and contributed to the incident in which you were injured. The law operates to reduce your compensation by the proportion of fault assigned to you. If you were 50 percent or more at fault, you cannot recover any damages.

Fight Defenses with Help from a Miami Premises Liability Lawyer 

It is possible to challenge many of the tactics used by property owners to defeat your slip-and-fall claim. To learn more, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA, at (305) 371-6000 or via our website. We can set up a no-cost case review at our offices in South Florida.

Florida Justice Association
The National Center for Victims of Crime
outh Florida Legal Guide
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