Law Offices of Nooney Roberts Hewett & Nowicki :


If you have slipped and fallen on someone else’s property, it may not have been “just” an
accident. Under Florida law, if the incident wasn’t your fault, and you sustained serious injuries,
you may be able to recover damages through a slip & fall lawsuit. You deserve justice when a
property owner’s carelessness led to your injury. However, sorting through all the legal jargon
can be confusing when you’re researching what to do next or are in the midst of a lawsuit and
discussing the case with your lawyer. In this article, we’ll define a few legal terms that injured
Florida slip & fall victims need to know so they can understand what their options are and win
maximum compensation!

Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki has decades of combined experience on our team. All our
Florida personal injury lawyers have extensive legal knowledge, but we always communicate
with our clients clearly, on a level they can understand, to reduce confusion and empower them
to make informed choices about their case. If you’ve been wrongfully injured after slipping and
falling on someone else’s property, call our firm today at (904) 398-1992 to schedule a free
consultation and learn more about how we can help you!

“Premise liability claims”

”Premise” is another word for “property”, and “liability” refers to legal responsibility. Premise
liability claims refer to any cases where the owner of the property may be legally responsible for
someone who was injured on their property. Premise liability covers a wide range of case types,
including slip and fall cases, but also other claims including dog bites, swimming pool accidents,
elevator or escalator accidents, fires, and more. These types of lawsuits are slightly different
from other types of personal injury lawsuits, like car accident cases.

“Plaintiff” and “Defendant”

The plaintiff is the party that brings a lawsuit against another party. If you were the victim of a
slip and fall on someone else’s property, and filed a lawsuit, you would be the plaintiff. The
party you file the lawsuit against – the property owner, or the property owner’s insurance
company, or a third party – would be referred to as the defendant.

“Duty of care”

This is a very important legal term that injured Florida slip & fall victims need to know – it
refers to the property owner’s legal responsibility to make a reasonable effort to keep their
property safe for its visitors. The definition of “reasonable” is determined on a case-by-case
basis, but in order to recover monetary compensation for your injuries as a Florida slip & fall
victim, you must be able to prove that the property owner did not uphold their duty of care to you
(among other things). Property owners may owe a different duty of care to different visitors
depending on the situation.


Negligence is what occurs when a property owner does not uphold the duty of care that visitors
are owed. They either created the danger and failed to correct it, or they knew about the danger
and failed to correct it. If negligence can’t be demonstrated, then the premises liability case is
likely to be lost; negligence is demonstrated when the plaintiff proves that the defendant owed
them a duty of care, that the defendant breached that duty of care, that the plaintiff suffered an
injury, and that the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. In premises liability cases,
“negligence per se”, which is different than ordinary negligence, may give plaintiffs a shortcut to
compensation; with negligence per se, the plaintiff only has to prove that the defendant violated a
public safety statute, that the plaintiff is a member of the group the statute protects, that the
plaintiff’s injury is one that the statute was supposed to prevent, and that the defendant’s
violation of the statute caused the plaintiff’s injury. (Basically, there was a rule broken, and that
is evidence enough of negligence).

To break that down in a way that may be easier to understand, imagine that you fell in a grocery
store that had a leak in the ceiling; it rained, water collected on the floor, the area wasn’t marked,
and you slipped, sustaining serious injuries. If the owner had known about the leak, or should
have known about the leak, then you can prove negligence – they owed you, as a shopper, a safe
shopping environment (duty of care), but they didn’t provide it (breach), and their actions led to
your injuries (negligence). There was no “rule” broken specifically, so you would need to prove
all of the above.

But imagine that you were hunkered down inside your apartment as a hurricane approached; the
winds tore the windowsills out, leaving you with injuries from debris. Florida building codes
strictly require all buildings to be “strapped” property, meaning that hurricane straps attach a
building’s windowsills to the structure to prevent that exact scenario from occurring. If the
building was not strapped properly, a rule was broken. You will only need to demonstrate that
the building was not strapped properly and that you were injured as a result to receive
compensation via negligence per se.


There are three classifications of visitors who enter someone else’s property: invitees, licensees,
and trespassers. Each of these is a legal term that injured Florida slip & fall victims need to
know. An invitee is someone who has the landlord/property owner’s express or implied
invitation to enter the property. For example, if your boss hosts an office Christmas party and
invites all the employees and their spouses, they would be the invitees. Grocery shoppers are
considered invitees, as are park visitors. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care under Florida


Licensees have the landlord or property owner’s express or implied permission, but not invitation per say, to enter the property—they are visitors who come for their own purposes. For example,
a salesperson would be considered a licensee. They are not owed the same duty of care as an
invitee. The owner only must warn them about conditions that may not be obvious but does not
have a duty to maintain the premises for them.


A trespasser is a person who does not have a right to enter the property; they are owed no duty of
care by the landlord/property owner, except in cases when they had reason to believe they were
an invitee, or when the owner knew about their presence for more than 24 hours (making them a
“discovered trespasser”), or if they were children. Florida has an “attractive nuisance” doctrine
which makes property owners responsible for the deaths or injuries of any children on their
property who may be trying to get to their swimming pool, playset, or other “attractive

“Statute of Limitations”

Perhaps the most important legal term that injured Florida slip & fall victims need to know is this
one! The statute of limitations is how long injured plaintiffs have to file a lawsuit against the
defendant. In slip and fall cases, the statute of limitations in Florida is four years from the date
that the incident occurred. If you miss this deadline, you will likely be unable to recover any
compensation at all. That’s why it is important to contact an attorney right away after an
accident! Do not wait!

Call Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki Today!

Do you have questions about Florida slip and fall lawsuits? Call Nooney, Roberts, Hewett &
Nowicki for a free consultation at (904) 398-1992 today! Recovering compensation for slip and
fall injuries can be incredibly complex, which is you need the best, most aggressive
representation possible on your side. Our law firm is known for its aggressiveness and
determination, and you can trust us to fight relentlessly for what you deserve! Call today at (904)

1680 Emerson St
Jacksonville, FL 32207
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