Estero Slip & Fall Lawyer
With over eight million visits every year, slip & fall injuries are the leading cause of Emergency Room visits in America. Generally, these victims are older adults who have pre-existing conditions that enhance the risk and/or severity of a fall injury.
Older people often have AMD (age-related macular degeneration). This condition affects the straight-ahead vision people need to maintain proper balance. Quite simply, they cannot see uneven sidewalks or other fall injury hazards. Gait disorders are common as well. So, when the victim stumbles, the victim falls, and the victim falls hard.
The compassionate Estero slip & fall lawyer at Cardinal Law understands what these victims must endure. Many of the people on our professional team have been personally affected by a slip & fall injury. Perhaps more importantly, we also know what it takes to win the compensation these victims need and deserve.
Duty of Care
Fall and other premises liability matters, like dog bite injuries, start with the appropriate duty of care. This legal responsibility varies, usually according to the owner’s relationship with the victim.
- Invitee: Most slip & fall injury victims are business or social invitees (invited guests). They have the owner’s permission to visit the property and the owner benefits from that visit. Because of this close relationship, owners have a duty to ensure that invitees are reasonably safe.
- Licensee: Licensed guests, or tolerated guests, have permission to be onsite. But they don’t benefit the owner. A guest of an apartment tenant is a licensee. Due to the lack of owner benefit, and in many cases the lack of owner knowledge of the guest’s presence, the owner must only warn licensees about latent (hidden) defects. For example, instead of cleaning up a wet spot, a Caution Wet Floor sign suffices.
- Trespasser: No duty of care applies if the owner did not give direct or indirect permission and did not benefit. Children who skateboard in parking lots are usually trespassers, since most municipalities in Lee County ban this practice. However, an exception, such as the attractive nuisance rule, might apply.
These categories may overlap. Leon is an invitee at Kohl’s unless he steals something, at which time he becomes a trespasser.
Knowledge of Hazard
Theoretical responsibility is not enough. An Estero slip & fall injury lawyer must also establish practical responsibility, which means knowledge of the injury hazard. Direct and circumstantial evidence is admissible on this point.
Direct evidence, which a lawyer usually obtains during the discovery process, includes smoking guns like safety inspection and restroom cleaning reports. Direct evidence is usually the strongest evidence. So, if a case settles too early, the best evidence, and therefore maximum compensation, may be unavailable.
The time-notice rule controls circumstantial evidence slip & fall matters in Florida. Especially if the victim was an invitee, owners have a duty to immediately address injury hazards.
Think of a banana peel on the floor. If that peel is black and grimy, as if it had been walked upon, the owner probably should have known about it and probably should have picked it up. However, if the peel was fresh and yellow, it would be unfair to expect the owner to have removed it.
An Estero slip & fall lawyer must establish actual or constructive knowledge (should have known) by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Connect With a Diligent Lee County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Estero slip & fall accident lawyer, contact Cardinal Law, P.A. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.