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Miami Personal Injury Lawyer > Coral Gables Slip & Fall Lawyer

Coral Gables Slip & Fall Lawyer

Slip-and-fall accidents send over eight million Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year. These incidents are particularly serious if the victim was over 65. For people aged 65-84 years, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death. For those aged 85 years or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death. The Coral Gables slip & fall lawyer at Spencer Morgan Law works hard to obtain the compensation these victims need and deserve.

These cases usually settle out of court. But settlement is a process, not a result. This process begins with a thorough case evaluation and diligent evidence collection. These cases are legally complex, as outlined below. The evidence in a slip-and-fall case usually includes witness statements, medical bills, and, if possible, a “smoking gun” which points to the landowner’s culpability. Once these elements are in place, and once medical treatment is at least substantially complete, meaningful settlement negotiations begin.

Coral Gables Slip-and-Fall Lawyers and the Duty of Care

This legal principle is based on a moral principle. The Good Samaritan went out of his way to help an injured traveler. Likewise, property owners must go out of their way to provide safe environments. The closer the relationship between the owner and victim, the more effort owners must make to ensure safety, as follows:

  • Invitee: Most fall injury victims are business or social invitees. Owners give them permission to visit the property, and their presence benefits owners, either economically or noneconomically. Because of the close relationship, owners must quickly address and remove fall injury hazards, like uneven walkways and loose mats.
  • Licensee: A guest of a hotel guest is a licensee. Owners permit these individuals to be on the property, but their presence does not benefit owners in any way. Because the relationship is more distant, the legal responsibility is different. Usually, owners must only warn licensees about latent (hidden) defects. So, instead of cleaning up a wet spot on a floor, they must simply display a “Caution Wet Floor” sign.
  • Trespasser: Criminals, like vandals, are usually trespassers. Legally, owners do not owe these people anything. Stories of injured burglars who successfully sued homeowners for damages are mostly urban legends, although some doctrines, like the attractive nuisance rule, protect some child trespassers in some cases.

One reason this classification system is so complex is that the victim’s status often shifts. When Tom checks into a hotel, he is an invitee. If he goes to a party in a nearby room, he is a licensee. If he damages his own room, he is a trespasser.

Knowledge of Hazard

We mentioned smoking guns above. Direct evidence of actual knowledge is usually the best evidence in these cases. If Rachel did not see a Caution Construction Area sign at a nursing home and she fell, the owner clearly knew about the hazard, yet the owner did not adequately protect Rachel.

Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known) is admissible as well. If Adam slipped and fell on a yellow banana peel, the owner probably didn’t know about the hazard, because the peel recently fell on the floor. However, if the peel was brown or black, meaning that it had been on the floor for some time, the owner should have known about it and should have picked it up.

A Coral Gables slip and fall lawyer must establish actual or constructive knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Connect With a Thorough Miami-Dade County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Coral Gables slip-and-fall lawyer, contact Spencer G. Morgan, Attorney at Law. We routinely handle matters throughout the Sunshine State.

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