According to a recent news article from The Florida Record, a resident of an apartment complex filed a civil personal injury lawsuit against the complex owners, claiming she tripped in a low spot in the grass and fell, causing her to suffer various personal injuries and other damages.
The accident occurred in December 2015. This being South Florida, there was no ice or snow on the ground. In her personal injury complaint, plaintiff alleged she was had left her apartment to go the building mailroom to check to see if she had any mail waiting in her box.
After she checked her mail, she started walking directly back to her apartment. However, as she was walking across a grassy area, her foot landed in what she called a “depression” in the grass, causing her to lose balance and fall to the ground.
When she hit the ground in this Fort Lauderdale slip-and-fall accident, she injured herself badly. According to her complaint, she suffered fractured bones, cuts, and what she called permanent disfigurement. She also alleged various other types of damages, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, and medical bills.
The basis of her allegations is that the apartment complex owner and its management failed to warn tenants of a known dangerous condition, and also failed to maintain the property in a way that is reasonable so as to prevent foreseeable injury to foreseeable persons and property. These are the two basic claims in a premises liability lawsuit, and a slip-and-fall case is essentially always a premises liability action.
In this particular case, the plaintiff has a requested a trial by jury where she has asked for attorney’s fees, damages, court costs, and pre-and post- judgment interest. However, it should be noted that the defendant will likely defend this action, as they have not already settled the matter. Therefore, they are legally liable for plaintiff’s injuries, both physical and mental, unless and until the jury makes a finding in favor in plaintiff. Because this is a civil personal injury lawsuit, there is a burned of proof standard known as a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the jury must believe it is more than not, after hearing all of the evidence, that the plaintiff’s claims are true. In some cases, the jury can return a verdict that is the same with respect to all claims, such as all for plaintiff or all for defendant, and in some cases, the jury will deliver what is known as a split verdict.
With a split verdict, the jury will find for the plaintiff on some claims and find for the defendant on others. This can have an effect on the damages. For example, some claims will allow for punitive damages and others will not. Punitive damages are somewhat rare in our legal system but allow for much higher awards. This is also the reason there are sometimes seemingly redundant claims. This is allowed, so long as the claims are not purely duplicative.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Coral Springs tenant alleges grassy area caused fall, June 5, 2017, By Jenie Mallari-Torres, Florida Record
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