Ocala is a northern Florida city with approximately 64,000 residents. With over 400 thoroughbred farms and training centers, it received the title of Horse Capital of the World. You will also find the College of Central Florida, Ocala National Forest, Silver Springs State Park, and the Ocala historic district. Ocala is a beautiful city with lots to do; however, it’s not without its dangers.
Slip and falls can happen nearly anywhere in and around Ocala, including:
- Dollar General
- The World Equestrian Center
- The McPherson Governmental Complex
- Silver Springs Nature Theme Park
- Ocala Public Library
- Ocala International Airport
- Marion County Public Schools
If you or someone you love suffered a slip and fall at one of these places or somewhere else, reach out to our firm today to speak with an experienced Ocala slip and fall attorney. You might have a viable injury claim that entitles you to compensation for your damages.
Our team at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. can evaluate your situation and the strength of your claim. If you hire our firm, we will fight for full compensation, just as we fought to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for our injured clients over the past 35 years.
Table of Contents
- Common Causes of Slip and Falls
- The Elements of Negligence in a Slip and Fall Claim
- Slip and Fall Claim Damages
- Ocala Slip and Fall FAQs
- Did You Suffer Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident? Contact Our Knowledgeable Ocala Slip and Fall Attorneys Today for Help
Common Causes of Slip and Falls
Falls can happen for numerous reasons. If someone needed to repair or maintain the location of a fall, the victim can seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain, suffering, and losses to their income or enjoyment of life.
Common reasons slip and falls occur include:
- Uneven floors. A building’s foundation can shift, leaving the ground uneven. This may lead to wavy or bumpy floors that can be difficult to walk across. Broken or warped flooring materials can also cause uneven floors. Any uneven surface presents the possibility of a fall. Property owners should monitor their floors and make repairs to avoid this situation.
- Wet or slippery floors. Standing water is another frequent cause of slips and falls. Water can come from leaky windows, leaky appliances, bathrooms, rainy walkways, or freshly cleaned floors. Property owners should watch for water or other liquids on their floors and make every effort to clean them up as soon as possible or set up a sign to warn others about the potential for danger.
- Inclement weather, such as snow, sleet, rain, and ice, can make for hazardous conditions that increase the risk of falls on the outside areas of businesses and homes. For instance, falls are more likely to occur on sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots when these conditions exist. In addition, they can cause water to be tracked into buildings, creating wet and slippery floors there.
- Long cords. Electronics with long cords or wires shouldn’t be stretched across the floor or walkway where it can easily create a tripping hazard underfoot. Property owners should tuck them against walls or around doorways where they aren’t in the walkway.
- Cluttered walkways. Any items left blocking floors and walkways tend to make pedestrians maneuver around them. Having to do so may increase the risk of a slip and fall that results in injury. Walkways in public areas should always be kept clear of clutter.
- Raised or cracked sidewalks. Weather, age, or construction can cause sidewalks to fall into disrepair. Individuals walking on a sidewalk have a reasonable expectation that it will be safe. The party responsible for it should fix or appropriately post warning signs so that no one is in danger of tripping and falling. Raised or cracked sidewalks can be hazardous conditions.
- Inadequate lighting. Not seeing where they are going is an easy way to slip and fall. Businesses and property owners are responsible for keeping the property safe, including adequate lighting. Unfortunately, people can’t avoid potential dangers if they can’t see where they are going.
- Drop-offs. Buildings with added extensions or stairways may result in a deeper drop-off than what people are used to and can cause them to stumble and fall. These should have warning signs like “Watch Your Step” or “Caution: Deep Step.”
- Broken or unstable stair railings. Stair railings should give people extra support and safety as they go up or downstairs. If the railing is rickety or broken, it increases the risk of failing. Property owners should be maintaining and repairing necessary safety features such as railings.
Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list, and other circumstances and conditions can lead to a slip and fall. No matter what situation led to your accident, an experienced Ocala slip and fall lawyer from our firm can help. They will investigate what happened and identify the responsible parties. Once this is done, they can be held accountable for your injuries and damages.
The Elements of Negligence in a Slip and Fall Claim
Most personal injury claims entail negligence. To have a successful negligence claim, the injured party or their Ocala slip and fall attorney must use evidence to establish the elements of negligence.
- Duty: The property owner or their agent owed a duty of care to the injured party. For example, to fix a broken stair or stop and clean up a leak in the ceiling.
- Breach of duty: The property owner or their agent failed to uphold their duty.
- Proximate cause: The violation of duty directly resulted in the victim’s injuries. For instance, the victim fell and broke their ankle due to water on the floor from a leaky ceiling.
- Damages: The injured party has compensable damages from their injuries.
If your Ocala slip and fall lawyer can establish each of these points, your claim will be successful.
Slip and Fall Claim Damages
You deserve compensation if you suffered injuries in a slip and fall due to another person or party’s negligence. Your damages are the financial representation of the losses, hardships, and inconveniences you have faced or will face because of your injuries. Compensable damages are generally economic/special and non-economic/general.
Economic damages might include:
- Medical bills such as those for an ambulance, emergency care, doctor’s appointments, medications, surgeries, medical equipment, and physical therapy
- Lost wages and income for time off work due to recovering from your injuries or attending doctor’s appointments
- Property damages—for instance, if you lost or broke your wedding ring or your eyeglasses during your fall.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a limb or bodily function
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
Punitive damages are another type of compensation. However, the courts can only award this type of compensation in rare circumstances. Punitive damages are not for compensating the victim.
Instead, they are for punishing and deterring the at-fault party for egregious or wanton behavior. For instance, if a restaurant employee intentionally cracked some eggs on the floor before the next customers walked in the door, their behavior should likely fit the requirement for punitive damages. The employee knew what they were doing and knew that their actions can potentially cause someone great harm.
Punitive damages also deter others from acting the same way. If they are appropriate in your claim, your Ocala slip and fall attorney will ask the judge to award them.
Ocala Slip and Fall FAQs
How Long Do You Have to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Under Florida law, you have four years from your injury to file a lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. The clock starts running when you found out or should have reasonably learned of your injuries. However, circumstances may change the statute of limitations in your case. For these reasons, meet with a skilled Ocala slip and fall attorney as soon as you can after your slip and fall. Your attorney will tell you when your statute of limitations expires and file your case well before the deadline.
If you miss the deadline, you will lose your legal right to pursue compensation through the legal system. Nothing will stop you from filing a claim. However, if you do, the at-fault party will ask the court to throw out your filing since the deadline has expired. Since they are correct, the court must grant them their request.
How Can Property Owners Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents?
Florida law doesn’t expect property owners to be everywhere and know everything about the conditions on their property at all times. However, suppose the property owner knew about a dangerous condition or should have reasonably known about it.
In that case, they can be held liable for any injuries that arise from the condition. For example, if a property owner climbs stairs to their front door every day and uses the broken railing but ignores it, they are negligent. On the other hand, if someone spills milk in their store and no one tells an employee, they may not be liable if someone slips and falls.
Property owners should be doing the following to help visitors avoid slip and fall accidents:
Posting Clear Warnings
If someone is cleaning or waxing the floors, posing a potential slip and fall danger, posting warnings such as “Slippery, Watch Step” or “Caution: Wet Floor” can notify pedestrians in the area to be cautious or simply stay away from the area altogether.
Fixing Defects Promptly
If a property owner knows about existing floor defects, such as uneven walking surfaces or cracks, they should correct the condition, block off the area for pedestrians, or warn pedestrians of the condition.
Property owners and their agents, such as caretakers or employees, should clean spills on walking surfaces as soon as they occur or as soon as they become aware of them. For example, suppose an employee in a grocery store sees liquid on the floor, or someone reports a liquid on the floor. In that case, they should immediately clean it up or post a wet floor sign. If they fail to take this action and someone slips and falls, their negligence is quite evident.
Making Routine Inspections
Especially when patrons are frequently on the property, property owners should make routine inspections to look for dangerous conditions that may increase the risk of a slip and fall or other dangers.
Being Mindful of Weather Conditions
Property owners should remove ice and snow and place salt on all icy areas where pedestrians may walk. They may also want to put out extra rugs and have mops handy in preparation for wet conditions to come indoors tracked in by their visitors.
Installing Proper Lighting
Non-hazardous areas that are otherwise safe can become a danger without proper lighting. Property owners should ensure adequate lighting and replace lightbulbs when they burn out.
Educating Employees and Household Members
Property owners must train employees and household members to identify dangerous conditions and fix them or warn patrons and visitors about them. Having uninformed agents isn’t an excuse for negligence.
Did You Suffer Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident? Contact Our Knowledgeable Ocala Slip and Fall Attorneys Today for Help
At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., our Ocala slip and fall lawyer have seen the severe injuries slip and fall victims can suffer and their resulting losses. With over three decades of experience, we know how to stand up for the rights of injured individuals and their families. Our tireless efforts have garnered 100s of millions of dollars in recovery for personal injury victims, including those who have suffered a slip and fall incident.
After ensuring you are medically stable, your next step is to meet with a knowledgeable Ocala slip and fall attorney.
Call us today at (800) BAGEN LAW or contact us online for your free, no-obligation slip and fall case review.
1521 S Pine Avenue
Ocala, FL 34471
My experience was more than great, from the moment I acquired about their services to the moment my case was finalized and settled, there was steady communication, and I was consistently in the loop. They explain things to you in a way that you can understand and ensure that you are involved in the decision making. Everyone is super kind and stays in contact with you even after settling. They truly care about your well being and I will definitely keep them at the top of the list for any other cases.