Want to find out what your slip and fall case is worth? The expert personal injury lawyers at Lorenzo & Lorenzo specialize in Florida premises liability law.
According to Florida’s premises liability law, people who have been seriously injured from slipping, tripping or falling at a place of business or another residence may have precedence to submit a personal injury claim for damages. However, just because businesses and property owners have certain legal obligations to keep guests safe doesn’t mean that payment for neglecting these duties is automatic. Indeed, there are many times when a person must fight to get the compensation they are owed under Florida’s slip and fall protection laws.
With nearly 20 years’ experience in Florida personal injury law, the expert premises liability lawyers at Lorenzo & Lorenzo are fully prepared to evaluate your slip and fall injury case to determine the appropriate compensation to which you may be entitled to. Through skilled negotiation and communication with judges, we are often able to get the at-fault party to settle on an agreeable compensation amount.
Let our attorneys represent you in a slip and fall injury claim.
Slip and Fall Accident Statistics
Dangerous slips, trips and falls are an unfortunately common problem in the United States, particularly among America’s senior population. Slip and fall accidents result in over eight million emergency room visits a year. Here are some other statistics on these types of accidents according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention :
- In 2013, direct medical costs for falls—what patients and insurance companies pay—totaled $34 billion
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries
- Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions (average hospital cost for a fall injury is $35,000)
- Slips, trips and falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths for people age 65 or older
- Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries
In Florida, the danger posed by slip and fall accidents is even greater. With the nation’s highest percentage of senior citizens, Florida faces an increased risk of serious slip and fall injuries and a higher rate of premises liability cases.
Common Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident can happen almost anywhere – the supermarket, grocery store, restaurant, retail store, shopping center, hospital, public park, parking lot, residential home, etc.
What matters is not so much where the accident occurred, but whether the property owner neglected their duty to provide visitors with an adequately safe environment. The standards for an adequately safe environment depend on the legal status of the visitor and the cause of the accident.
Our expert Tampa personal injury attorneys frequently handle slip-and-fall cases caused by:
- Wet/slippery floors
- Sudden dips or rises in floor level
- Inadequate warning signs of hazard
- Poorly maintained or damaged sidewalks
- Frayed carpeting
- Hidden potholes
- Defective staircases
- Hazardous balconies/terraces
- Walkways and staircases with inadequate lighting
- Unseen drop-offs
- Elevator or escalator malfunctions
Slip and Fall Liability & Negligence
In most cases, the property owner or business has a responsibility to remove dangerous obstacles or hazards that might injure a visitor, or at least warn visitors of the danger. However, the level of reasonable care that the property owner must maintain depends on the legal status of the visitor. Legally speaking, visitors are separated into three distinct groups:
- Invitees: Individuals who enter a property for business purposes, such as a restaurant patron, grocery store shopper, store customer, etc. Invitees are owed the highest standards of care. By law, property owners must regularly inspect their premises for hazards and either fix or warn visitors of any dangers found.
- Licensees: Individuals who enter a property with the permission of the landowner, such as a houseguest. Upon entering the property, licensees assume the risk of injury for any hazards they were warned about by the landowner or should have been aware of otherwise. Property owners are expected to fix any known dangers or provide adequate warning of the dangers to guests.
- Trespassers: Individuals who use or enter another person’s property without consent. Trespassers are given the least rights if they are injured while illegally crossing through or using another’s property without permission. However, the law states that property owners cannot intentionally set up traps or hazards to purposefully injure trespassers, and they must even warn trespassers of any known dangers that might not otherwise be noticeable.
Because Florida is a “comparative fault” state, a business or property owner – or their insurance company – may try to claim that you were partially at-fault for the slip and fall accident. As a result, your award amount could be reduced proportionally to the level to which you are held responsible. For this reason, it is even more important that you discuss your case with a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to compensation.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Injury
Slip and fall accident cases are frequently settled out of court, especially if the plaintiff has an experienced attorney on their side. Property owners often prefer to avoid trial and all the bad publicity that comes with it. Here a just few things you can do following your slip and fall accident to help your compensation attorney put together the strongest case possible:
- Record your injuries. It is also important to take photos of your own injuries before they begin to heal. Some slip and fall cases are prolonged, which means a judge or jury may not be able to see how significantly the injury impacted your life otherwise.
- Take pictures of the scene if possible, including what you think caused the accident to happen. Documenting the cause of the accident before the property owner has a chance to correct it is vital.
- Inform the property owner about the accident. For instance, if you were hurt at a restaurant or business, ask the manager or owner to write up an accident report and be sure to obtain a copy. Your attorney will want to see this report.
- Put aside the clothes and shoes you were wearing when the accident occurred. The defense may try to cast blame on those items by claiming, for instance, that your shoe soles lacked adequate traction.
- Gather witness names and contact information. Their accounts and impressions of the incident could play a major role in your compensation claim.
- Seek medical care. Be sure to save all receipts and records of doctor’s visits, prescriptions, etc. Your attorney will use these to calculate your total damages.
- Write down the details of the accident while your memory is fresh. Over time, details about the accident can become hazy – details that may be critical to proving your case. That’s why it is important to jot down notes about the accident as soon as you can, including where the incident occurred, the cause, who else was there and anything else you can remember.
- Hire an attorney. To ensure the best possible outcome in your case, you should consult an experienced attorney who specializes in cases of slip and fall, premises liability and other personal injury matters.
Tampa Lawyers for Slip and Fall Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, you shouldn’t be ashamed – nor should you feel guilty about bringing your case to an expert personal injury lawyer. At Lorenzo & Lorenzo, we have a thorough understanding of Florida’s premises liability laws and are willing to review your claim against a negligent property owner or business. Our staff is available 24/7, 7 days a week. For personal attention and skilled representation of your slip and fall injury case, contact Lorenzo & Lorenzo for a *free consultation today.