Leading cause of injury and death
According to the Florida Department of Health, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in residents 65 or older, as well as being the fourth leading cause of injury and death altogether. Falls are also the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions, statewide. Medical expenses topped three billion dollars in the most recent year with full numbers. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you need a Tampa slip and fall lawyers who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Wet surfaces cause most slip and fall accidents. Water naturally reduces traction between your shoes and the ground, making staying upright difficult under the right conditions. A leaking roof dripping water onto the floor can make walking dangerous. A leaking pipe or condensation leaking from a cooling unit onto the floor can make walking surfaces dangerously slippery, as well. Mopping floors make the floors clean, but also adds moisture, making floors slippery.
Broken flooring tiles can cause a trip hazard leading to painful fall injuries. Loose flooring can also give way underfoot, causing victims to slip and injure themselves.
Torn carpeting creates a trip hazard that can cause people to lose their footing. Staircases that are not well-maintained may have loose or broken steps that cause people to fall on the stairs.
Broken and poorly maintained sidewalks cause people to step awkwardly and lose their footing, leading to injuries. In other cases, poor lighting can hide obvious hazards to walking that could have been avoided.
Elderly people in the care of nursing homes are particularly prone to falling. For this reason, nursing homes provide handrails and monitor residents closely to ensure their safety. However, when a poorly maintained floor or handrail causes a resident to slip and fall, their negligence results in injuries to those they were trusted to protect.
Property Owner’s Duty of Care
Florida law makes clear that property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those invited to come onto their premises. For a property owner to be liable for your injury, they must have failed in their duty of care.
If the property owner or an employee caused the dangerously slippery conditions, they are responsible for the injuries you suffer. For example, a property owner stretches an extension cord across the floor just as you are walking by, causing you to trip and injure yourself. In this case, the owner caused the dangerous conditions that led to your injury and is responsible to compensate you.
If the owner or an employee knew of but the dangers but didn’t try to prevent an accident from occurring, they are liable for the injuries you suffer. For example, if an employee mops the floor, causing it to be dangerously slippery to walk on, and fails to cordon off the mopped area or put up any warning signs that the floor may be slippery, they are responsible for your accident and the injury you suffer.
If the owner or their employees should have known about the dangerous condition but did nothing to protect those visiting the premises, they are again responsible for any injuries that occur. For example, if it has been raining for hours and the building’s roof leaks onto the floor, yet the owner took no steps to keep people off the slippery floor or to warn visitors of the danger, they are liable because any reasonable person would have recognized the danger and taken steps to fix the problem.
Compensation for Slip and Fall Accidents
While pratfalls have been the subject of comedies for as long as anyone can remember, falls in real life are no laughing matter. Falls cause victims to incur costly medical expenses, lost wages, and endure pain and suffering.
Florida law entitles you to seek compensation for any medical expenses related to your accident injury. This includes hospital expenses, doctor bills, prescription medication, specialized medical devices needed for the home, and any other medical expenses you incur. Medical expenses after a fall often run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
While recovering from your accident, you may miss considerable time from work. You may seek compensation for lost wages due to missed time at work. Additionally, if your injury reduces your ability to perform at your job, you may also seek compensation for diminished earning capacity brought about by your injury.
Any injury is painful, and the pain from falls can often last weeks, months, or even longer. While no one can set a price on your suffering, you deserve compensation for the pain you experience. Compensation for pain and suffering is negotiated during the settlement or allocated by the court if your case goes to trial.
In some cases where the negligence of the property owner or their employees was egregious, the courts may award punitive damages, as well. These damages are designed to punish the negligent party and serve as a deterrent for others in the future.
What if the Insurance Company Says the Accident Was My Fault?
Insurance companies and corporate attorneys will often try to intimidate accident victims into relinquishing their claims for compensation by putting the blame on the victim for their injury. You should know that even if you were partly responsible for your accident, you can still seek compensation for your injuries.
Florida law specifies that if you contributed to your accident, the courts may reduce the compensation you receive by the amount the courts determine the victim was responsible for the accident. As an example, if you were on a cell phone and distracted while walking and slipped on water that leaked from a cooling unit, the courts might determine you were 10% responsible for your accident. If your total compensation was $100,000, the courts would reduce this by $10,000, the amount the courts found you responsible for your injury. However, you cannot be completely denied compensation based on being partly responsible for your accident.
Key Steps to Take After Your Slip and Fall Injury
Notify the property owner or an employee immediately of your accident. Ask them to contact medical personnel or call for an ambulance, yourself. Seeking medical attention immediately after your injury is vital to prevent your injury from worsening, and also helps document the injuries you suffered from your fall.
If possible, take pictures of the scene of your accident immediately after your fall. Water can evaporate or be cleaned up by store employees quickly. Having photographic evidence of the conditions that caused your accident can be vital in establishing your case. Also, take photos of your injuries at the time of the accident.
Try to get contact information from any witnesses to your accident. Tracking down witnesses later can be difficult, if not impossible. By getting witnesses names, addresses, and contact information, you can help make the facts of your case clear when you go to seek compensation.
Contact a Tampa Slip and Fall Attorney
After an accident, you need an attorney experienced in dealing with insurance companies who know what compensation you deserve to receive and won’t back down or allow the insurance adjusters to intimidate them. Call the Bulluck Law Group today and let us schedule a free consultation with an attorney. The attorneys of Bulluck Law Group have the trial results and expertise to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Put us to work on your case today.