The Most Common Defenses in Slip, Trip and Fall Cases
If you are pursuing a slip and fall claim, it’s important to understand what defenses you may come up against in your case. Property owners who are being sued in a premises liability case will do anything they can to either reduce liability for the incident or avoid it completely. Since most businesses, cruise lines, and property owners will have legal teams on their side, it is important that you, too, have the best case possible prepared to receive compensation for your injuries and damages.
Statute of Limitations
A premises liability case may be dismissed from the very start if you filed it outside of the statute of limitations. These statutes are strictly followed by courts with very few exceptions allowed. All states have laws on the books which put a limit on when you can pursue a certain type of legal case, otherwise known as a statute of limitations. If you wait too long and fall outside of that period, you will be barred from pursuing a legal claim. In Florida, any person who is injured in a slip and fall must file a lawsuit against the property owner within four years from the date of the fall. This does not mean your case needs to be finalized within four years, but you should at least have filed a legal claim within that time to initiate the process.
One of the more common defenses raised in a slip and fall case is the defense of comparative negligence. This defense involves arguing that the injured party is partly or completely at fault for causing the accident. The reason the injured party could be at fault could involve several issues. In situations where the hazard or danger that caused the injury was “open and obvious,” but you were distracted by something else, causing you to fail to notice it, you may be held partially liable for your injuries. Therefore, under the principle of comparative negligence, your award in an injury case would be reduced by the portion for which you were at fault.
Florida happens to operate under the principle of pure comparative negligence. What this means is that your award will be reduced by the percentage of blame you held in the accident, and you will always receive the remaining percentage back. You will receive some amount of your award, even if you are found to be more than 50 percent to blame for your accident. Even if you are 95 percent to blame for your accident, you can still receive five percent of the total award that would have been issued to you.