Common Slip and Fall Defenses by Insurance Companies

If you’ve slipped and fell at an establishment and you are pursuing a case, it is likely that the company or business has an insurance policy in place to cover such mishaps. This insurance company is responsible for defending the company and potentially giving you an offer to settle your claim. Knowing how these insurance companies plan on defending the claim, and the defenses they might use against you can help you along the way.

What is the lack of notice defense?

When someone is involved in a slip and fall, one of the things the attorney must be able to show is sufficient notice. Whether that is actual or constructive notice, it is something that must be established for you to be successful. Your attorney must be able to show that the establishment had actual notice which means that the establishment was told directly that there was an issue and they still did nothing to remedy the situation which resulted in your fall. On the other hand, if there was no actual notice, your attorney must be able to show that there was constructive notice. Constructive notice means that the condition was present for such a period of time that the establishment should have become aware of the issue and taken care of it. As you can see, a potential defense to this by the company is that there was no actual or constructive notice, therefore they owed no duty to remedy the situation. If the condition was there for a very small amount of time, then the argument will be that the establishment would have had no opportunity to clean or remedy it. One way around this is to look at security footage of the area to see if you can tell when the spill occurred in relation to the fall. Another tactic is to look at the photos of the spill itself and see if it is dirty. Dirt in the spill or indications that the spill was in the process of drying could indicate that the spill was there for an extended period of time such that the establishment should have been able to fix it.

What is the “open and obvious” defense?

This defense is different than the notice defense, and centers around the object which caused the fall. If the object which caused the fall was there and was large enough that a reasonable person under similar circumstances would have seen the hazard, the insurance company will raise this defense. So, let’s say you are walking through the store and a shopping card is in the middle of the alley and you don’t see it. You run into it and fall over. In that set of facts, the item itself was so open and obvious that no reasonable person would have had the same result. A reasonable person would have seen the card and avoided it. Your chances of being successful on this claim are very slim. The insurance company will likely say that comparative negligence is applicable. Comparative negligence means that you had some percentage of fault in causing your injuries. If the court finds that is the case, the amount you recover will be reduced by the amount of fault attributed to you.

Should you hire a Florida attorney to help with your slip and fall claim?

If you have a slip and fall and need legal representation you should hire an attorney. Slip and fall claims can be tricky, and it takes a skillful attorney on your side to make it successful. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group have experience handling slip and fall claims and can speak with you at no charge to determine if you have a valid claim. We can talk with you about the pros and cons of your situation and if we decide that you should pursue, we can take you through every step along the way. Call us today at 727-933-0015. Our slip and fall attorneys are standing by to assist you. Call today!