Slip and falls, especially in public places, lead to embarrassment as well as to lasting injuries with painful consequences that persist for years. Whether you slipped in a puddle of water at the mall, tripped on uneven pavement or fell down a flight of poorly-maintained stairs, you want to know how to obtain substantial and fair compensation.
The Consequences of a Bad Fall
Slip and falls occur everywhere, from construction sites to retail stores. Depending on the nature of the fall and condition at the time of the accident, falls cause concussions, broken bones, bruising, internal bleeding and long term soft tissue injuries.
Even after victims heal from the initial effects of an accident, chronic pain and decreased physical function persist, sometimes causing depression and mental health issues and creating additional challenges for those already battling chronic illnesses or disabilities.
Common Causes of Premise Liability Accidents in Florida
Slip and fall accidents hit elderly Americans hard. According to the Centers for Disease Control, emergency rooms treated approximately 2.5 million adults for nonfatal falls just in 2013. Many different factors increase the likelihood of these accidents, including:
- Wet floors
- Hidden holes
- Uneven ground
- Dim lighting
- Obstacles in pathways
- Poorly maintained structures or equipment
If a preventable factor contributed to your slip and fall, seek compensation from the property owner, landlord or some other responsible party (or an insurance company representing the liable party) for your medical bills, lost wages, therapy costs and other losses related to the accident.
Understanding the Anatomy of Slip and Fall Cases
In Florida, a claimant in a slip and fall case must prove that another person’s negligence directly or proximally caused an injury. In other words, a responsible party, who had been obligated to consider and look out for the safety of others, failed to maintain the premises, and this carelessness then caused harm to someone. At essence, that’s all a slip and fall case is. However, the simplicity of this description belies a lot of legal complexity. For instance, a building owner owes different duties of care to different types of visitors. A customer and a trespasser both have certain rights, but the customer’s rights are broader.
You also need to pinpoint the exact cause(s) of the fall in order to determine liability. Sometimes, plaintiff blame a third party, like a cleaning company or a construction crew. For instance, perhaps the janitorial staff in charge of cleaning a building’s lobby spilled soapy water on the front steps, precipitating an injurious tripping incident.
Damages awarded in slip and fall cases include compensation for medical expenses, such as rehabilitation and surgery; pain and suffering; emotional distress; and loss of work time.
Some states, including Florida, operate under a comparative negligence law, meaning that the court distributes liability among parties. If the court determines that you contributed to your injury, it will decrease any damages awarded. The difference between your being able to obtain substantial compensation to pay for a series of surgeries or not hinges on these types of subtle legal nuances. Your choice of attorney matters. Choose a team with lots of experience and a great track record in cases similar to yours. At Rivas Law Group, our sympathetic advocates protect our clients’ rights and fight to get them fairly compensated.
Steps to Take Immediately
First, take care of your urgent medical needs. Document all the care that you receive, and collect other information from the scene, including pictures of any injuries or of the place where you fell, witness accounts, and police reports. Avoid speaking with any insurance company representative before you’ve had a chance to find and speak with a trustworthy lawyer. Your attorney will investigate the accident and seek appropriate compensation. Preserve the compelling evidence you may need to build a strong case.
Our experienced personal injury firm, Rivas Law Group provides thorough, unbiased and strategic analyses of these types of accidents. Call us now at (877) 299-5539 to schedule a free consultation with the team.