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Defenses that may be used in your slip-and-fall claim

On this blog, we have discussed the conditions and elements that must be proven in order for a slip-and-fall accident claim to be successful. For instance, in this blog post from last September, we examined if, when and how property owners in Florida are expected to address potential hazards.

However, knowing or believing someone was negligent in the maintenance or care of a property is one thing; convincing a judge or jury of this another thing. This is because you will be arguing against the other party who will typically some common strategies to defend themselves in an attempt to avoid being held liable.

One such strategy would be to argue that you were not legally allowed to be on the property. Property owners do not owe the same level of duty to people who are considered trespassers or uninvited licensees.

Another defense could include blaming the victim. Property owners may argue that your own actions contributed to the accident. They may accuse you of being careless, distracted, impaired or just clumsy. They may claim that you ignored warning signs to your own detriment.

A third strategy is to argue that your accident happened despite reasonable efforts by the property owner to address the hazard. However, your understanding of "reasonable" and the property owner's understanding of "reasonable" are likely quite a bit different.

In order to anticipate and counter these defenses, it can be crucial to have legal knowledge and experience. Without these elements, you can find yourself at a distinct disadvantage in negotiations and the courtroom. In order to level the playing field and protect your rights, it can therefore be wise to have an attorney who is practiced in Florida premises liability laws and procedures by your side.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Proving Fault in Slip-and-Fall Accidents," accessed on Jan. 14, 2016

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