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Slip, Trip and Fall Injurys
The National Floor Safety Institute reports that slip and fall injuries result in more than 1 million emergency room visits every year. Slip and fall accidents should not be taken lightly, especially if the victim is a child or elderly. They can cause serious injury and at times may even be fatal.
While it may be true that slip and fall accidents can occur for many reasons, it is also true that more often than not they are preventable. Most slip and fall accidents in Florida are the direct result of a property owner’s failure to either sufficiently warn victims of a hazardous condition, or following proper protocols to ensure the property is safe. Guest on a property have a reasonable expectation of safety and if a renter or property owner fail in that duty they should be held liable for any injury incurred.
For instance, suppose while someone is grocery shopping in Walmart they slip and fall on a liquid substance that had no warning signs around it. Walmart would be liable for any injury, pain-and-suffering, lost wages and medical bills that customer sustains resulting from that slip and fall.
Injured victims of a slip and fall should seek legal counsel immediately. Florida slip-and-fall law is complex and victims often have to face large corporations with vast resources.
An experienced slip and fall accident attorney at Winig Law can help.
The party liable for injuries sustained while visiting an office, store, or other business is usually determined by what their lease (or other related contract) has to say about such liability.
Although their insurance company will handle the claim, it is important to have an experienced lawyer represent you in order to get the settlement you are entitled to for your injuries. Proving the defendant was negligent and was the cause of your accident is essential to your case.
Rules of legal responsibility for injuries that take place on private residences are usually straightforward - depending on the type of residence.
- Apartment rentals: If the injury takes place on a rental property, the party responsible for maintaining the area or condition that caused the injury is liable. This is how that liability is usually divided:
Property owners are responsible for the external areas of the apartment (stairs, outside hallways, and entrances) and for the immovable things inside (walls, fixtures, floors, and the appliances that came with the apartment).
- The tenant is responsible for the movable things inside an apartment.
An exception to this rule is that when the tenant knows of a dangerous condition to something immovable inside the apartment (like a broken floorboard) but does nothing about it. In that case, the tenant, along with the landlord, may be legally responsible for an injury caused by the dangerous condition.
If you are injured in an accident in a private home caused by a dangerous or defective condition at the private home, the owner of the home is responsible. If the entire home is rented out, the tenant might also be responsible.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Always file a notice of claim against both the owner and the occupier. It is the responsibility of their insurance companies to decide which one, or both, is responsible for your accident.
Steven Winig also represents people injured in slip and fall accidents on private property. Many slip and fall accidents could have been easily prevented, but negligent maintenance, negligent operation or a failure to inspect the property led to a serious injury. These accidents can happen in many different places, including grocery stores, apartment buildings, pools and amusement parks, and take a toll on injury victims and their families.
WHAT IS A SLIP-AND-FALL ACCIDENT?
The term slip-and-fall is used to cover a variety of accidents. Generally, a slip-and-fall is any time a person loses their footing, falls, and is injured on another person's property.
There are several types of slip-and-fall accidents, including:
- Trip-and-fall, where a person falls over an object in their path or an uneven surface
- Step-and-fall, where the fall is caused by a hole or a low spot in the path
- Slip-and-fall, where a slippery liquid or object causes the fall
HOW DOES A SLIP AND FALL HAPPEN?
Anyone can suffer a slip and fall simply by tripping over his or her own feet. However, many falls – and especially those that cause serious injury – usually occur as a result of dangerous conditions. For example, some of the top causes of slip and fall injuries include:
- Slippery or wet floors or parking lots
- Uneven tile or flooring surfaces
- Raised or cracked sidewalks
- A change in elevation such as a small step-down
- Uneven or too narrow stair treads
- Abrupt edges on sidewalks or on driveways
- Appliance or other cords stretched across a walking path
- A change in floor surface
- Broken or cracked sidewalks
- An unmarked drop-down
- Loose carpeting
- Debris in the walkway
- Overcrowded aisles
- Poor lighting
- Narrow stair treads
- Broken railings
Dangerous conditions that results in slips and falls can exist in shopping centers, restaurants, on the job, at a friend’s house, stores, private homes or apartments, or on public spaces such as on sidewalks. Parking lot falls are another accident that is considered a common cause of injury.
SLIP, TRIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS SUFFER A WIDE ARRAY OF INJURIES
If your slip and fall happened at work or because of the negligence of a property owner, you have certain legal rights. Winig Law can help you pursue a claim and understand your options. We encourage you to reach out to our office to find out more about the options available to you.
People who are victims of slip and fall accidents suffer a wide array of injuries. Among them are:
- Bone fractures,
- Spinal cord damage,
- Torn or ruptured ligaments,
- Traumatic brain injury,
- And death.
Physical injuries are not the only consequence. A slip and fall accident can result in missed work, loss of sleep, depression, weight gain, pill addiction and even loss of enjoyment of life.
These are just some of the many potential consequences of a fall injury. The damage done to your body can necessitate costly medical treatment, prevent work and change your life.
WHAT MUST BE PROVEN IN A SLIP & FALL CASE?
In order to make a recovery for a slip and fall or trip and fall injury, your Florida slip and fall attorney must be able to prove that you were injured as a result of the carelessness of the property owner. Most property owners will challenge a slip/trip and fall case and claim that the individual that was injured was not being careful and therefore the property owner is not liable.
In a Florida slip-and-fall case, an injured person needs to prove three things to the court:
- Obligation - What obligation, if any, the property owner had to the injured victim. Stores, restaurants and other public places that invite guests in to do business have the highest duty to their patrons, a duty of care, and must inspect the premises and either warn guests of dangerous conditions or fix hazards that exist. Homeowners also have a duty to guests and friends they invite over, but, while they must fix hazards or warn guests about them, they have no obligation to inspect for them and must only take care of risks they know about or reasonably should be aware of.
- Negligence - The property owner or business didn't use reasonable care in maintaining or operating the property. The court decides what is reasonable in each case based on the evidence.
- Injury - Because the property owner or business didn't use reasonable care, a person was injured.
Trip and fall accidents usually occur as a result of either negligent construction, failure of property owner to warn of a dangerous condition or failure of a landowner to follow the proper Florida Building Codes.
A Florida slip-and-fall case must be filed within four years of the date of the injury. After that time, the statute of limitations, or time limit, will have run out, and you will not be able to start a case.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY INJURY?
People are injured in falls every day, but only some injuries are the fault of another. Under Florida premises liability law, a landowner or business must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition for customers or guests. If the owner or manager knows-or should know-that some part of the property is not safe, the problem must be fixed quickly.
If the problem isn't fixed and a person falls and is injured as a result, the owner or manager of the property may be responsible for the injury. This is called negligence, and the injured person may be able to sue.
It can be difficult to know exactly who is at fault in an accident. A store may be owned and operated by the same person while a shopping mall may have multiple owners and businesses under one roof. Several parties may share some responsibility to an injured shopper.
It is important that every owner or business is included in a case. Under Florida law, each defendant is only required to pay for its share of the injury. If your case does not name each responsible party, you may not be able to get full payment. Part of the job of a Florida slip-and-fall attorney is to make sure each possible defendant is part of the case.
In Florida, slip-and-fall cases also use a legal tool called comparative negligence. The court compares the injured person to the landowner or business and decides who was the most at fault. A person who was careless enough to get hurt may not win a case even if there was a danger on the property.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS IN A SLIP & FALL CASE?
If you are the injured person and you win your case, the court will decide how to compensate you for your injuries. That amount may include money for many items, including:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages, both now and in the future
- Permanent disability
- Emotional distress
- Other costs directly related to your injury
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SLIP AND FALL
- Document the Scene - Provided you are not too injured to do so, use your phone to take pictures of accident scene from multiple angles, the surrounding area, the street, and the nearest cross street. Documenting the scene can serve as valuable evidence if you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
- Seek Medical Attention - Call for emergency medical response to take you to the hospital. Even if you do not feel badly injured, it is best to seek medical attention anyway. A physician will be able to fully evaluate your condition and provide the necessary treatment. There could be damage that you’re not aware of.
- Document Your Treatment - It can also serve as valuable evidence should you choose to pursue litigation. Showing that you received medical treatment, and what type, right after your slip and fall can show a correlation between the fall and your injuries.
- Research Your Options - Look into your legal options sooner rather than later to see if you have a case. Litigation is a recourse for people who were injured through no fault of their own. If you didn’t cause your accident, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill for your medical expenses, time off work, and otherwise. Evidence can become more difficult to track down with each passing minute, so start this process as soon as you can.
- Hire an Attorney - Most personal injury law firms, like Winig Law, offer free initial consultations. In these consultations, usually over-the-phone, the attorney will inform you whether they believe you have a case. Choose a qualified, experienced attorney to represent you in your slip & fall lawsuit.
- Be Available to Your Attorney - Although your attorney is there to alleviate the burden of litigation from you, this new relationship is a two-way street. Just as your attorney should be there for you, you need to be there for them to provide them with information regarding the accident, your injuries, and any other information they believe is pertinent to your case.
- Avoid Compromising Activity - Once you open a slip and fall case, you might come under scrutiny. Opposing counsel may attempt to claim that you had preexisting conditions or that your injury is not as severe as you claim. Speak with your attorney regarding any actions (or inaction) that could compromise your case, and avoid those things.
GETTING HELP FROM A SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT LAWYER
If you or a loved one was hurt by a slip and fall accident, you can recover the compensation you deserve through negotiating a settlement or through filing a lawsuit and proving a fall claim in court. When pursuing either option, it pays to be represented by a slip and fall accident lawyer so you can have the best chance of maximizing the compensation available in your situation.
The compensation you can obtain after a fall can make all the difference in helping to achieve financial security, get the medical care you need, and move on with your life. Our team of legal professionals is here to help you.
With decades of collective experience, we have the know-how to help you maximize your fall injury compensation. To ensure your peace-of-mind as we take care of legal issues for you, we also promise that you will pay no legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf. To find out more about how we can help fall victims to fight for fair compensation for all losses, give us a call or, contact us online today.
Following your accident, we will work with you to make sure you receive the necessary medical treatment. We will immediately investigate the facts of your accident and work with slip and fall experts in order to further prove that the landowner was at fault. There are no upfront fees or cost to hire us and we never charge any fees or cost unless we make a recovery for you.
Your case may settle outside of court or may be resolved in a court of law by a judge or jury. You could also potentially take action not just against those who own the property, but also against tenants or renters who were in control of the space and who allowed unsafe conditions that led to a slip and fall. Our team can help you examine all your options and work to help you receive the full compensation to which you are entitled.
If you or a loved one has been hurt, contact a West Palm Beach slip-and-fall accident lawyer at Winig Law today. We are prepared to use our decades of legal experience to help you file a claim and recover full and fair compensation for all losses, damages, and injuries resulting from your slip and fall.
Personal Injury Attorney Steven L. Winig, Esq. is a member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and is licensed to practice before all
Florida State Courts, as well as the United States District Courts for Southern and Middle Florida.
Winig Law routinely handles cases throughout Palm Beach County including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Wellington,
Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Greenacres, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach and surrounding areas.
We would be glad to have feedback from you. Drop us a line, whether it is a comment, a question or just a hello. You can use either the form below or the contact details on the right.
'The Winig Law Firm, P.A.
1615 Forum Place, Suite 3A
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
T: (561) 337-2997 | F: (561) 683-1559