Work With a Top Florida Slip and Fall Attorney
Most of us have probably tripped and fallen, and we may have walked away with minor scrapes, cuts, and bruises. But many Floridians have not been so lucky 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, the injured individual should know what steps to take to determine whether another party was at fault for causing the accident. With the help of a qualified Florida slip and fall attorney, you will learn about your legal rights and whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
At Parker Waichman LLP, our highly skilled team of Florida trip and fall attorneys works diligently to help injured clients get compensation for their physical and mental pain and suffering through the legal system. While case results cannot be guaranteed, our attorneys do everything they can to help clients have the best chances of recovering financial compensation for their injuries. To see what we can do for you, call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER today to set up a free consultation with a skilled slip and fall accident lawyer in Florida.
Premises Liability and Florida Slip and Fall Injuries
Trip and fall accidents often occur on another’s property, whether it is a friend’s home, the workplace, or a grocery store. Premises liability is the area of law that governs trip and fall accidents and 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 a trip and fall accident to happen. Common examples include a slippery or wet floor, uneven sidewalks, and unmarked hazards.
A property owner who recognized or should have recognized an unsafe or hazardous condition on the property and does nothing to address the problem within a reasonable amount of 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.
Burdens of Proof for Florida Trip and Fall 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. To obtain slip and fall injury settlements in Florida, you must prove the four key elements of negligence:
- 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 this duty of care by having dangers or hazards on the premises.
- The breach of this duty of care caused a trip and fall accident.
- The trip and fall accident resulted in identifiable injuries and other damages.
Situations that may lead to a property owner being found negligent for a person’s trip and fall injuries include:
- Failure to identify and clean up spilled liquid
- Failure to use salt or another material to melt ice
- Failure to put up a warning or hazard sign after cleaning up spilled liquid where the floor may still be wet
- Failure to identify and remove hazardous objects
- Uneven floor surfaces or cracked/crumbled stairs
- Uneven sidewalks
Trip and fall accidents often occur in a person’s home or in a public place, but 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 that patients are receiving proper supervision. When nursing home patients fall and suffer injuries, they may be able to hold the nursing home accountable by showing that the nursing home’s negligence was responsible for their accident and injuries.
How Do I Know Who Is Responsible for My Trip and Fall Injuries?
In many cases, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible and who should be held accountable for compensating an injured person. For instance, when a trip and fall accident happens at a business, typically, the owner of the business or building should be held accountable if negligence can be proven, but additional parties may also be involved, such as employees, other customers or possibly tenants if the premises are leased out to another party. Because slip and fall cases in Florida can become confusing very quickly, it’s a good idea to speak with a Florida slip and fall lawyer who can help determine who may be responsible for causing your injuries.
What if Another Person Pushed Me and Caused Me to Trip and Fall at a Grocery Store or Similar Business?
If another person contributed to a trip and fall accident, whether intentional or not, that individual may share some of the blame. However, because the accident happened on private property, the property owner may still have some of the responsibility simply because the accident happened on their premises.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Trip and Fall Injuries
Many trip and fall accidents happen on private or 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. Instead, they 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 be able to file a Florida workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits in the form of medical expenses and lost wages.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that negligence does not need to be proven. If an employee can prove that they 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 accident claims have occasionally been fraudulent, it’s 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.
If you’re unsure whether you can or should file a claim under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws for your trip and fall injuries, our personal injury attorneys may be able to help you.
What if My Trip and Fall Accident Happened 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 and your employer won’t help you file for workers’ comp benefits, you should speak with an attorney. Some employers are unaware of their obligation 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, a qualified slip and fall lawyer in Florida can help you get the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Injuries Associated With Florida Slip and Fall Accidents
Trip and fall injuries range in severity from minor to catastrophic or even fatal. Examples of severe trip and fall injuries include:
- 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
Any injury associated with a trip and fall accident may require surgical intervention or emergency treatment. If the injuries are severe and long-lasting, individuals may never be able to work again or live the same life they lived before the accident. A trip and fall that happens in a matter of seconds can alter a person’s life forever.
Understanding the Process of Pursuing a Florida Trip and Fall Lawsuit
Lawsuits can be complex and take time to resolve, which can be frustrating for injured individuals seeking compensation. The process can be extensive and require months of litigation to develop key facts that demonstrate that a party is at fault for causing your injuries. Clients should expect their case to go through these steps:
- The initial case evaluation and consultation
- An attorney decision on whether to pursue a trip and fall case on behalf of a potential client
- Deciding whether to attempt to settle the case or to file a lawsuit
- Filing the lawsuit and getting a trial date, which is typically at least a year after a case is filed
- Discovery, the phase in which both sides collect and exchange information, including medical records, accident reports, depositions, and expert reports
- Settlement negotiations, arbitration or mediation, which can happen at any point in the process before the case goes to the jury for a decision
- The trial, where a jury will determine whether to find for the plaintiff or the defendant
- The verdict
- Appeal of the decision by the losing party, which happens often and can take more time to resolve
Given the amount of time this process can take to play out, many plaintiffs accept a settlement offer in order to resolve their case and get compensation more quickly. This can be an especially good decision if it’s unclear whether a plaintiff will win in court. When you work with a Parker Waichman slip and fall attorney in Florida, we’ll advise you on whether you should accept any settlement that’s offered, and we’ll work hard to help you get compensation as quickly as possible. While there are no guarantees that a client is going to win their case, our team fights tirelessly to maximize our clients’ slip and fall settlements in Florida and ensure that they are adequately compensated for the harm that has been done.
Damages and Costs Associated With Trip and Fall Injuries
Physical injuries can result in pain, suffering, and mental or emotional anguish. But along with the physical and mental consequences of trip and fall injuries, individuals must also bear the significant financial burdens stemming from their injuries. As medical costs continue to rise year after year for even the most minor of ailments, the costs associated with emergency treatment and hospitalization can cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. For injured individuals who require medical treatment for a significant time after an accident or even for a lifetime, medical expenses could reach well more than $1 million.
In addition, when injured individuals are unable to return to work, they may have to rely on another person’s income or government benefits, as they no longer can make a living and pay their bills. Some individuals may even have to sell their home or vehicle to pay for medical expenses or even file for bankruptcy if these 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 for the medical treatment and economic costs associated with the resulting injuries. An experienced Florida slip and fall attorney can help you to determine your legal options and pursue a claim for compensation.
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 you could receive will depend on how severe and debilitating your injuries are. If the injuries are permanent, require extensive and costly medical treatment, and prevent you from working, the compensation could be greater than it would be for someone who sustained a temporary injury and was able to go back to work. No guarantees can be made about potential compensation amounts, but when you work with a Florida slip and fall lawyer at our firm, we’ll fight for the maximum amount possible.
Florida’s Statutes of Limitations for Trip and Fall Lawsuits
The statute of limitations for pursuing slip and fall cases in Florida is four years, meaning that a person who wishes to file a personal injury suit has four years from the date of their injury to bring a lawsuit.
However, some exceptions do apply. For instance, in some cases, it may not be clear right away that an injury was sustained because of a trip and fall accident. If a person is injured but does not realize it until later, the discovery rule extends the statute of limitations so that the time allowed to file a lawsuit doesn’t begin until you realize that you’ve been hurt. An example of this would be a case in which a person slips and falls on their back, then experiences back pain weeks or even a few months later. Once the person goes to the doctor and is diagnosed with a back injury, the four-year clock would begin to run.
For individuals wishing to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the loved one’s death. There are no exceptions to this statute of limitations, so you must 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 30 days from the date of injury to report the incident to their employer so the employer can begin to process a workers’ compensation claim. Many employees are unaware of this 30-day deadline, and that can make it difficult to receive necessary compensation and medical treatment.
Whether an injury was sustained in or out of the workplace, missing the relevant deadline for your claim can keep you from getting the compensation you deserve. That’s why it’s a good idea to speak with a qualified Florida personal injury attorney who can help you make sure that your claim is timely and your rights are protected.
Choose the Firm That’s Recovered More Than $2 Billion for Injured Clients
Parker Waichman has a team of nationally recognized slip and fall attorneys in Florida who represent clients throughout the state and beyond, many of them in and around Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Immokalee, and Marco Island. 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, and our Florida trip and fall attorneys fight tirelessly to secure the compensation that injury victims deserve, to the tune of more than $2 billion and counting. Our track record of success has earned us a variety of honors, including Lawdragon’s highest peer-review rating of “5 Dragons,” inclusion in Best Lawyers, and an AVVO rating of 9.8.
But while our sterling record is impressive, we know that the only thing that matters is whether we can get results for you. To find out how our experienced slip and fall lawyers in Florida can assist you, just call 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) and we’ll give you a free case evaluation. Our Florida trip and fall attorneys are fluent in English and Spanish, and we can answer your questions, help you learn about your legal rights, and advise you on your next steps, all for free and with no obligation.
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