A slip and fall accident can have serious consequences.
According to the Florida Department of Health, falls are:
- the leading cause of injury and death in residents 65 or older;
- the fourth leading cause of injury and death overall; and
- the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions.
As a victim of a slip and fall accident, you may be eligible to recover significant damages related to your injury.
Here’s what you need to know about these accidents and how a personal injury attorney can help win your slip and fall case.
What Are the Common Causes of Slip & Fall Accidents?
Most slip and fall accidents are caused by wet surfaces. Water reduces traction between your shoes and the ground, which makes staying on your feet difficult under the right conditions.
A leaky roof that drips water onto the floor can make walking dangerous. A leaky pipe or condensation from a cooling unit falling to the floor can make a surface slippery.
Mopping floors is necessary to keep them clean, but it also adds moisture and can create a hazard. Broken floor tiles can cause you to trip. Loose flooring can give way and cause injury. Torn carpeting can also be tripped over and send you to the floor.
Staircases that aren’t well-maintained may have broken or loose steps that cause you to fall. Broken and poorly maintained sidewalks may cause you to step awkwardly and lose your footing. Poor lighting can hide walking hazards that could have been avoided.
What Is the Property Owner’s Duty of Care?
Florida law states property owners have a responsibility to make sure those who are invited onto their premises are safe. A property owner must have failed in their duty of care to be held liable for an injury.
If a property owner or an employee causes dangerous conditions, they’re responsible for any injuries caused by the negligence. For example, let’s say an extension cord is stretched across the floor as you walk by, causing you to trip and hurt yourself. In this case, the property owner caused the danger that led to your injury and has a responsibility to compensate you.
When the property owner or an employee knows of a hazard but doesn’t try to prevent an accident, they’re liable for injuries. For example, an employee mops a floor and causes it to be slippery, but fails to block off the area or put up any warning signs. In this case, they would be responsible for any accidents and injuries.
If a property owner or an employee should have been aware of a danger but did nothing to protect their guests, they remain responsible for injuries. For example, the building’s roof has been leaking rainwater onto the floor for hours. However, the owner doesn’t keep people away or warn them of the hazard. The owner is liable if someone falls because any reasonable person would have seen and fixed the issue.
The key to many slip and fall cases is that the dangerous condition was concealed or hidden from the victim’s view. This could be because the person was distracted by a retail display, crowd conditions, or a reflection that camouflages the hazard.
The victim must prove the property owner or their employees should have known about the danger and acted with reasonable care. This can be proven through similar incidents or customer complaints that occurred before the accident.
What Compensation Could I Get for a Slip & Fall Accident?
Though trips and tumbles have been the subject of comedies for a long time, real-life falls are no laughing matter. Victims may have to deal with lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Florida law allows you to seek reimbursement for any medical expenses related to your injury. This includes doctor bills, hospital expenses, specialized medical devices, prescription medications, and other medical expenses you may incur. After a fall, medical expenses can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
While you recover from your accident, you may not be able to work for some time. You can seek reimbursement for lost wages, as well as diminished earning capacity, if your injury affects your ability to do your job in the future.
Injuries are painful, and sometimes the pain from a fall can last weeks, months, or even longer. While no one can put a price on your suffering, you should get reimbursement for what you’re going through. Compensation for pain and suffering is negotiated during the settlement or awarded by the court if your case goes to trial.
In cases where the negligence of a property owner or their employees was particularly appalling, the courts may allocate punitive damages, which are designed to punish the negligent party and deter others from acting similarly in the future.
What If the Insurance Provider Claims the Injury Was My Fault?
Insurance providers and corporate attorneys may try to intimidate a victim into relinquishing their claims for reimbursement by blaming them for the accident. Even if you were partly responsible for your injury, you can still seek compensation.
Florida law states if you contributed to the accident, your compensation may be reduced by the amount the courts determine you were responsible. For example, if you were distracted on your phone and fell on a sidewalk because water was leaking from a cooling unit, the courts might rule you were 10% responsible. If the total of your compensation was $100,000, the courts would reduce it by $10,000.
You cannot be completely denied compensation because you were partly to blame for the accident.
What Steps Should I Take After My Slip & Fall Injury?
Immediately after your accident, notify the property owner or an employee. Ask them to reach out for help or make that call yourself. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible to prevent your injury from getting worse. Document the injuries you suffered.
Take pictures of the accident scene immediately after your fall if you are able. Water can be cleaned up by someone else quickly or even evaporate. Having evidence of what led to your accident can play an important role in building your case. Take pictures of your injuries at the time of the accident as well.
Talk to anyone who witnessed your accident and get their contact information. Tracking them down later may be difficult (if not impossible). By gathering names, addresses, and phone numbers, you can make the facts of your case clear when you seek compensation.
Winning Your Slip & Fall Case
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident, you need a personal injury lawyer who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
The attorneys at Bulluck Law Group are experienced in dealing with insurance companies who won’t back down or allow the insurance adjusters to intimidate them.
Contact us today and schedule a free consultation!