Oftentimes, a slip and fall involving a mature person can be attributed to clumsiness or a lack of balance or stability. However, in a community as large as The Villages in central Florida, a slip and fall accident could be a sign of larger issues surrounding the community’s maintenance. Because this community spans 32 miles and has nearly 50,000 residents, it does have a certain duty of care to its residents. Public or common areas within The Villages must be appropriately maintained, and should an accident occur because of their negligence, then a lawsuit may occur. Speaking with The Villages slip and fall lawyers after an accident will offer clarity into whether you will need to take your claim into the legal realm. If the accident caused you an injury requiring medical care, you may be able to file a premises liability or personal injury claim that would require The Villages to compensate you for your damages.
Property owners are required by law to exercise reasonable care on their property, in order to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents. When they fail to do so, they are considered negligent and can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Premises liability cases can arise from virtually any type of open structure or space, and at The Villages, the case will center on whether the area in which the accident occurred was a public or common space, or leased space, owned by the owners of The Villages.
In a slip and fall case, negligence will have occurred if it can be shown that the owner failed to take care in maintaining the property’s surfaces, such as by ensuring that they were not wet, slippery, or otherwise damaged, or by failing to warn Village residents that these dangerous issues might be present.
Because Florida does place a statute of limitations on slip and fall accidents, you will want to be sure that you file your claim as quickly as possible. A statute of limitations effectively acts as a time limit on your claim, barring you from bringing a lawsuit forward unless a rare exception can be found. In Florida, a personal injury or premises liability claim for a slip and fall must be filed within four years in order to move forward.
All negligence claims will generally hinge on whether the defendant acted reasonably. In determining whether the owner acted reasonably here, a court will focus on whether the owner makes constant and concerted efforts to maintain the safety of the property’s common areas. For example, if you tripped over a broken, wet, or bulging piece of floor, a court will want to know how long the dangerous conditions were in place and whether the property owner should have known about them.
Similarly, however, the court will also consider your own role in causing this accident, in a practice known as identifying comparative negligence. A court will seek to find whether you also took reasonable care to avoid the accident, and will seek to determine whether you were alert, were on a piece of property that is off limits, or failed to heed the warning signs that trouble was afoot.
Because these cases can be complex, it’s important to contact a competent attorney to help you navigate a slip and fall claim and hopefully ensure your success in court.
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