Unfortunately, the simple answer is, “it depends.” Trip and fall cases are some of the most difficult personal injury cases to pursue. In order to prevail in a trip and fall case, the injured party must prove that the landowner either created a dangerous condition, or unreasonably allowed a dangerous condition to exist that the landowner could have or should have corrected. It is important for anybody injured in a trip and fall to understand that a landowner is not liable simply because you became injured on his or her premises.
In an uneven sidewalk situation, it is very rare that a landowner would have intentionally poured an uneven sidewalk. Sidewalks usually become uneven as a result of tree roots, or the movement or shifting of the land underneath, or some other outside circumstance. In order make a liability case, the injured person must prove that the sidewalk was uneven enough for the landowner to have seen the condition, recognized it as dangerous, and done something to correct it.
Unfortunately, this also presents the biggest obstacle in trip and fall cases. Consider: If a condition is open and obvious enough for a landowner to recognize it as dangerous — then the condition should also be open and obvious enough for the injured person recognize it and avoid it. Courts throughout Florida — and particularly in Central Florida — have placed a heavy burden on plaintiffs to be aware of conditions around them, and have ruled against plaintiffs who have brought claims based upon property conditions that the courts have determined are “open and obvious.”
The difficulty in these cases is often reflected in defendants’ settlement offers. It is very rare that trip and fall plaintiffs make satisfying monetary recoveries. Trip and fall plaintiffs need to be very pragmatic and realistic in their approaches to these claims.
If you have questions about trip and fall accidents, call us at 407-644-4444.