Parker Waichman LLP – Slip, Trip and Fall Lawyers in Florida
Florida Slip and Fall Injury Lawsuits. Most of us have probably tripped and fallen at some point in our lives, and we have walked away with minor scrapes, cuts, and bruises. Many Floridians have not been so lucky to receive minor injuries after being involved in a trip and fall accident. For individuals who have suffered serious and permanent injuries resulting from a trip and fall accident, the consequences can be devastating.
When a trip and fall accident happens, it is important that the injured individual knows what steps to take to determine if another party was at fault for causing the accident. Understanding legal rights after suffering personal injuries is essential when an individual deserves compensation for his or her suffering and wishes to hold the at-fault party responsible.
Parker Waichman LLP Represents Slip and Falls Injury Clients Throughout Florida
At Parker Waichman LLP, our highly skilled team of Florida Trip and Fall Attorneys works diligently to help injured clients pursue litigation and seek compensation for their physical and mental pain and suffering. While case results cannot be guaranteed, our attorneys do everything they can to help clients have the best opportunity of recovering financial compensation for their injuries.
Parker Waichman LLP Has Recovered More than $2 Billion for Injured Clients
Parker Waichman LLP has a team of nationally recognized trial attorneys who represent clients from all throughout the United States. With a large client-base in Florida, our attorneys assist clients day after day when they have suffered significant personal injuries in the state of Florida. In recognition for our team’s diligent attention to every single client, and our success in helping these clients recover more than $2 billion in settlements and lawsuits collectively, our firm has received prestigious ratings and honors, including:
- AVVO Rating of 9.8/10;
- AV Peer-Reviewed “Preeminent Lawyers” rating;
- Listed in Peer-Reviewed “Best Lawyers”; and
- Ranking of “5 Dragons” according to Lawdragon’s peer review.
Ratings and honors are certainly not the only attributes to look for when determining if an attorney is qualified to handle your case. As such, at Parker Waichman LLP, we encourage potential clients to speak with our attorneys and legal staff to learn more about what we do and how we have been able to help so many injured clients both in Florida and throughout the United States.
Florida Slip and Fall Injuries – Florida Trip and Fall Lawsuits and Settlements
What is Premises Liability?
Trip and fall accidents often occur on another’s property, whether it be a friend’s home, the workplace, or a grocery store, among other private or public locations. Premises liability is the area of law which governs the evaluation of trip and fall accidents and the determination of whether a property owner has been negligent. Under Florida law, a property owner may be found liable for a person’s trip and fall injuries if the property owner knew or should have known of a dangerous or unsafe condition on the premises that allowed for a trip and fall accident to happen. Common examples include a slippery or wet floor, uneven sidewalks, and unmarked hazards, among others.
A property owner who recognized or should have recognized an unsafe or hazardous condition on the property and who does nothing to address the problem in a reasonable time may be found liable for a person’s injuries. However, if a hazard or danger developed quickly (such as a customer spilling a drink in a grocery store), and a person immediately falls, a property owner may be shielded from liability if there was insufficient time to identify the danger or hazard and eliminate it before the person was injured.
Florida Slip and Fall Lawyers, Lawsuits and Settlements
Because premises liability rests upon whether a property owner was negligent, the general elements of a negligence claim will apply to a trip and fall accident in the same way such elements would apply to a car accident. Many trip and fall accidents happen on the private and public property, but some accidents happen while a person is on the job. Workplace trip and fall accidents are not governed by premises liability law, but rather are governed by Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. When an employee sustains injuries because of a slip, trip or fall accident while on the job, the worker may have the option of pursuing a Florida workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits in the form of medical treatment and lost wages.
When pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident, the person filing the lawsuit must prove a series of elements to establish that a property owner has been negligent. Such elements of negligence include the following:
- The owner of the property owed a duty of care to the injured individual as well as others present on the property to keep the premises reasonably safe from dangers and hazards;
- The property owner breached the duty of care by having dangers or hazards on the premises;
- The breach of this duty of care caused a trip and fall accident; and
- The trip and fall accident resulted in identifiable injuries and other damages.
There are several ways in which a property owner can be found negligent for a person’s trip and fall injuries, including, but not limited to:
- Failing to identify and clean spilled liquid;
- Failing to use salt or another material to melt ice;
- Failing to put a warning or hazard sign after cleaning up spilled liquid where the floor may still be wet;
- Failing to identify and remove hazardous objects;
- Uneven floor surfaces or crack/crumbled stairs; and
- Uneven sidewalks.
In addition to trip and fall accidents that occur in a person’s home, in a grocery store, or in a public place, such accidents also frequently happen in nursing homes when patients are not properly supervised and cared for. Nursing home staff members, in Florida, have a duty to ensure patients are receiving the proper supervision as directed by a physician. When nursing home patients fall and suffer injuries, they may have an opportunity to hold a nursing home accountable and prove that the nursing home’s negligence was responsible for the accident that resulted in injuries.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Trip and Fall Injuries
If an employee trips and falls while on the job, he or she may have the ability to file a workers’ compensation claim under Florida law. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system where negligence does not need to be proven. As such, if an employee can prove he or she fell and suffered injuries while on the job, the worker should be entitled to receive compensation in accordance with Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. However, because trip and fall accidents are seen as somewhat fraudulent from time to time, it is important to have evidence to show that a trip and fall accident did happen in the workplace and that the accident was not fabricated in any way.
Workers’ compensation benefits come in the form of medical treatment to help an employee recover and return to work, and lost wages to help financially while an employee is out of work. Many employees and employers are not aware of what their rights and obligations are under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. As such, it is crucial to discuss any workplace trip and fall injuries with a qualified Florida Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney.
Injuries Associated with Florida Slip and Fall Accidents
Trip and fall injuries range in severity from minor to catastrophic, and sometimes fatal. Examples of severe trip and fall injuries include, but may not limited to, the following:
- Head injuries, such as a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI);
- Broken, fractured, or shattered bones;
- Soft tissue injuries, such as torn muscles, tendons or ligaments;
- Open cuts or gashes;
- Internal bleeding; and
Any injury associated with a trip and fall accident may require surgical intervention or emergency treatment to assist the patient’s recovery. When injuries are severe and long-lasting, individuals may never be able to work again or live the same life they lived before the accident. One trip and fall that happens in a matter of seconds can alter person’s life forever.
Damages and Costs Associated with Trip and Fall Injuries
Physical injuries can result in pain, suffering, and often, mental or emotional anguish. Along with the physical and mental consequences of trip and fall injuries, individuals must also bear the significant financial cost of medical treatment. As medical costs continue to rise year after year, for even the most minor of ailments, the costs associated with emergency treatment and hospitalizations can cost tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. For injured individuals who require medical treatment for a significant time period after an accident, or even for a lifetime, medical expenses could reach well over $1 million at the end of the day.
Additionally, when injured individuals are no longer able to return to work, they may have to rely on another person’s income or perhaps government benefits, as they no longer can make a living and pay their bills every month. Some individuals may even have to sell their home or vehicles to help pay for medical expenses or even file for bankruptcy if the medical expenses become unbearable.
When another person or property owner is at fault for causing a trip and fall accident, that party should be held responsible to help pay for the medical treatment and economic costs associated with the personal injuries. Because there is so much on the line when facing catastrophic personal injuries, anyone who has sustained injuries in a trip and fall accident, or who has a loved one who has been injured or killed in a trip and fall accident, speaking with an attorney right away is the best way to find out if any legal options are available.
Florida’s Statutes of Limitation for Trip and Fall Lawsuits
All states, including Florida, have laws that govern time limitations on filing lawsuits. In Florida, an individual who wishes to file a personal injury lawsuit has four years from the date he or she suffered injuries to bring a lawsuit. There are some situations where it may not be clear right away that an injury was sustained because of a trip and fall accident.
For example, if a person trips, falls and lands on his or her back, but does not have pain right away, that person may begin to experience back pain a few weeks or even a few months after the accident happened. In Florida, there is a “discovery rule” that allows an individual to file a lawsuit up to four years after the date he or she learned that his or her injury was because of a prior trip and fall accident. A person may learn he or she has a back injury after going to the doctor and being diagnosed with a particular condition. This person would have four years from the date of the diagnosis of the injury to file a lawsuit relating to the trip and fall accident.
For individuals wishing to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one, the lawsuit needs to be filed within two years after the date of the loved one’s death (See Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d) for more information.). There are no exceptions to this statute of limitation, so it is essential to act quickly if you believe a loved one was fatally injured because of another party’s negligent conduct.
If a trip and fall injury was sustained in the workplace, an employee has thirty (30) days from the date of injury to report the injured to his or her employer of the incident so the employer can begin to process a workers’ compensation claim. Many employees are unaware of this 30-day deadline and this can make it difficult to receive necessary compensation and medical treatment. As such, regardless of whether an injury was sustained in the workplace or outside the workplace, speaking with a qualified Florida Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney about specific deadlines is absolutely essential when considering filing a workers’ compensation claim or a lawsuit.
Understanding the Case Process When Pursuing a Florida Trip and Fall Lawsuit
Lawsuits take time to resolve, and this can become frustrating for injured individuals seeking compensation for their injuries and suffering. However, the investigative process can be extensive and require months of litigation to develop key facts that demonstrate a party is at fault for causing personal injuries. Therefore, potential clients should be prepared to expect the following process, which can be lengthy given that many cases are complex:
- Initial case evaluation and consultation;
- Attorney decision on whether to pursue a trip and fall case on behalf of a potential client;
- Decision on whether to attempt to settle the case or to file a lawsuit;
- If a case is settled before going to trial, a client may receive compensation more quickly;
- If a case does not settle, the individual may wish to file a lawsuit;
- Once a case is filed, a trial date will be set (typically at least one year or longer after a case is filed);
- The case will go through the “discovery” process which entails an exchange of information, including medical records and accident reports, taking depositions, and submitting expert reports;
- During the course of litigation, the parties may wish to discuss settlement in an effort to avoid going to trial, and settlement may be discussed through negotiations among the parties, arbitration, or mediation;
- The next step, in the process, is the actual trial where a jury will determine whether to find for the plaintiff or the defendant;
- There is still an opportunity for a case to settle before it goes to the jury, and this can be a good decision if it is unclear whether a plaintiff will win a case;
- If a case does go to the jury, the party that loses will typically file an appeal and the appeals process can take quite some time to resolve.
At Parker Waichman LLP, it is our goal to help clients receive compensation as quickly as possible and provide them with the best chance possible of receiving compensation for their injuries. It cannot be stressed enough that while there are no guarantees that a client is going to win a case, our team fights tirelessly to develop facts and maximize the damages to prove that a client’s injuries were caused by another party’s negligent conduct.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Florida Slip and Fall Accidents
How do I know how much I will receive in compensation if my personal injury lawsuit is successful?
All trip and fall accidents and injuries are different, so the amount of compensation one person may receive could be much different from the amount of compensation another person may receive. Compensation awarded to an injured individual will depend on how severe and debilitating the injuries are. If the injuries are permanent and require extensive and costly medical treatment, preventing an individual from working, the compensation could be greater as there is a more significant cost associated with the injuries. For injuries that are not permanent, an individual’s compensation may not be quite as significant. However, because all situations are different, it is important to speak with an attorney about potential compensation as no guarantees can be made.
How do I know who is responsible for my trip and fall injuries?
Trip and fall accidents can happen on private property as well as public property. Such injuries can happen in a person’s home, in a grocery or department store, in a nursing home or hospital, or in the workplace, among other locations. Regardless of where a trip and fall accident happens, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible and who should be held accountable for compensating an injured person. When a trip and fall accident happens in a commercial business, typically the owner of the business or building should be held accountable if negligence can be proven. However, there could be additional parties involved in the situation, such as other employees, other customers, or possibly tenants, if the premises are leased out to another party. Because trip and fall cases can become confusing very quickly, speaking with an attorney is the best way to have a good understanding of who may be responsible for causing a person’s injuries.
What if another person pushed me and caused me to trip and fall in a grocery store or similar business?
If another person contributed to a trip and fall accident, such as another customer, whether intentional or not, that individual may share some of the blame in causing a trip and fall accident. However, because the accident happened on private property, the property owner may still share some of the responsibility simply because the accident happened on its own premises.
What if my trip and fall accident happened while on the job and my employer is refusing to help me receive workers’ compensation benefits?
If you sustained trip and fall injuries while on the job, it is imperative to act quickly by speaking with an attorney. Some employers are unaware of their obligations to process workers’ compensation claims with their insurance carrier, and this can be detrimental to an employee’s rights. While not every situation will result in the award of workers’ compensation benefits, this cannot be determined without speaking with a qualified attorney.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you or your loved one suffered a trip and fall injury, regardless of where the accident happened, it is time to consider speaking with the Florida Trip and Fall Attorneys of Parker Waichman LLP. Our team of legal professionals understands how devastating trip and fall injuries can be and the financial toll such injuries can have on both the injured person and family members. At Parker Waichman LLP, we provide legal services to injured individuals from all throughout Florida, with a significant number of clients being from in and around Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Immokalee and Marco Island.
To schedule your free, slip and fall consultation to discuss legal options with one of our Florida Trip and Fall Attorneys, contact Parker Waichman LLP today by calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
Our legal team is staffed with individuals fluent in Spanish to help our Spanish-speaking clients have a good understanding of their legal situation and steps to take moving forward.
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