Many people think slip and fall accidents are not a big deal. That may be true in some cases, but a lot of slip and fall accidents can cause severe injuries that could be potentially life-changing.
While some slip and fall injuries are unavoidable, others are a result of the property owner's negligence and could have been prevented. If you think your personal injury was a result of some type of negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and many other damages caused by your injury.
One of our Stuart slip and fall attorneys can review your situation in a free consultation to determine if you may be entitled to compensation. If you have grounds for a claim, we will represent you at every stage of the legal process and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.
Our experienced lawyers work on contingency and only receive compensation if our clients obtain fair compensation through the legal process.
Liability for Slip and Fall Claims in Florida
Slip and fall cases fall under the law of premises liability. Under this legal concept, property owners are responsible for certain injuries that happen on their property.
To obtain compensation in this type of case, you must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in his or her duty to take reasonable steps to maintain a safe property. Your attorney must be able to prove that this failure or negligence directly caused your slip and fall accident and resulting injury.
For example, if the property owner was aware of a wet spot on the floor, he or she had a duty to clean it up before a visitor could slip and fall on it. Similarly, he or she is responsible for ensuring that a staircase is properly maintained. If a railing is damaged on the staircase, the owner could be held liable for any injuries that damaged railing causes.
However, it is important to note that a visitor’s status on the property will determine the level of care the property owner is required to take to ensure that individual’s safety.
In Florida, like most states, there are three classifications for visitors to someone else's property. These definitions apply to premises liability claims and slip and fall claims:
There are two main types of invitees: public invitees and business invitees. Business invitees are invited onto the property for a purpose that is directly or indirectly connected to the owner's business dealings. Public invitees are those who enter the property for the same reason the property is held open to the public.
Examples of invitees include:
- People in public parks
- Visitors to hospitals
- Visitors to theme parks
Property owners have the highest duty of care for invitees since they have been invited onto the property. According to Florida statute 112.82(2), property owners have an obligation to invitees to:
- Maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition
- Correct any dangerous conditions he or she knows about or should know about through the exercise of reasonable care
- Warn invitees about any dangers he or she is aware of that the invitee may not know about
Property owners need to perform regular inspections of their property to identify any hazards that need to be fixed or that they need to warn invitees about.
These are people who enter the property for their own purposes that are unrelated to the interests of the owner. There are two types of licensees:
- Invited licensees – These are people who were invited onto the property, such as houseguests.
- Uninvited licensees – These include salesmen or people who enter a place of business for a purpose not related to the business interests of the owner.
Property owners owe invited licensees the same duty of care as invitees. However, when it comes to uninvited licensees, property owners are only required to protect them from willful or wanton injury. This means not intentionally trying to harm the individual.
These are people who enter someone else's property even though they have no invitation to do so. According to Florida Statutes 768.075(3)(a), an invitation is defined as an objectively reasonable belief that someone has been invited or is welcome on the property.
There are two types of trespassers under Florida law:
These are trespassers who the property owner was notified of within 24 hours of the accident. Property owners must warn these trespassers about dangerous conditions that are not readily observable. Property owners also have a duty to refrain from gross negligence or intentional misconduct that could cause injury to the trespasser.
This is the exact opposite of a discovered trespasser. These people were not discovered by the owner of the property within 24 hours of their accident. Property owners have no duty to warn these trespassers about dangerous conditions. Their only legal responsibility is to refrain from intentional misconduct that can cause injury to the trespasser.
Schedule your free legal consultation today to find out if you have a viable claim.
Liability for Foreign Substances
Florida also has specific requirements for establishing liability for a slip and fall injury caused by a foreign substance in a business environment, according to Florida Statutes 768.0755.
In these cases, your attorney must establish that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remove the hazard. Actual knowledge simply means that the owner knew about the hazard.
However, constructive knowledge is a little more complicated. Your attorney needs to provide evidence establishing:
- The condition was there for a prolonged period of time, so a business establishment that was exercising ordinary care should have discovered the condition.
- The condition was a regular occurrence so it was foreseeable.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim?
If you think you may have a slip and fall case, you should contact a slip and fall lawyer in Stuart as soon as possible because there is a limited amount of time to file a claim.
Florida's statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including slip and fall accidents, is four years from the date of the accident, according to statute 95.11. The statute of limitations is a window for pursuing legal action. Once the window closes, you lose the right to pursue a claim. In this case, once four years have passed since your injury, you can no longer pursue a claim.
However, the discovery rule is an exception to the statute of limitations. According to the discovery rule, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the date you discovered the injury or should have discovered the injury with reasonable care. This may apply if you had no reason to suspect you had grounds for filing a claim.
What Forms of Compensation Could I Recover?
Like most personal injury cases, it may be possible to obtain the following types of compensation from a slip and fall case:
You could be entitled to compensation for all past, current and future medical bills related to the treatment of your injury:
- X-rays and CT scans
- Blood tests
- Durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, canes and braces
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Prescription medications
- Transportation to appointments with doctors
A slip and fall injury could make you unable to work for a certain period of time, either from physical limitations of your injury or chronic pain you are experiencing. You may also miss time simply because you are receiving treatment or being examined by doctors to assess the progress of your recovery.
Fortunately, if you miss time due to your injury, you may able to recover compensation for wages you lost. Without this compensation, you might never get back the money you lost because you were unable to work.
Permanent Disability or Disfigurement
If your injury is severe enough, it could leave you permanently disfigured or disabled. This can have far-reaching consequences for the rest of your life, creating lifelong physical limitations and difficulties and possibly wreaking havoc on your ability to establish relationships.
That is why the law allows those who were permanently disfigured or disabled to pursue compensation for the effects this has had on their life.
Loss of Services
Your injury may prevent you from performing chores and other duties around the house. If you have to hire help to do things like clean the house, take your children to school or go buy groceries, you may be able to recover compensation for this expense.
If your claim is successful, you may recover compensation that covers the cost of hiring a lawyer to represent you, including investigating your claim, negotiating with the at-fault party and filing the necessary legal paperwork.
This is a noneconomic form of compensation because there is no monetary value attached to this type of injury like there is with medical expenses. When your attorney wants to determine the value of your medical expenses, he can just look at your medical bills. However, there are no medical bills for physical pain. Your attorney will have to weigh a variety of factors to determine how much compensation you deserve for the physical pain you are experiencing from the injury.
This provides compensation for emotional anguish and other emotional effects of your injury, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and even loss of enjoyment of life.
Loss of Companionship
You may be able to recover this form of compensation if your injury has affected your relationship with your spouse or children. For example, you may be entitled to compensation if your injury has hurt your ability to have a sexual relationship with your spouse.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, contact one of our Stuart slip and fall attorneys to find out if we can help you obtain any of these forms of compensation.
Call a Stuart slip and fall lawyer today at 1 (855) 722-2552.
Steps You Should Take After a Slip and Fall Injury
To help preserve the evidence needed to support your case and recover the compensation you need, it is recommended that you to take the following steps after a slip and fall injury:
Go to the Doctor Right Away
Your first priority after an injury is to go get examined by a qualified medical professional who can diagnose and treat all of your injuries, particularly the ones you may not be aware of.
You should do this even if you do not think you have any injuries. If you wait to seek treatment and discover your injuries days or weeks after the accident, your recovery could take longer. Waiting could also raise suspicion about the legitimacy of your claim with insurance companies and others you might pursue compensation from.
Another reason to seek medical treatment is that it will create an official record of your injuries and help link them to the accident.
Collect as much Evidence as Possible
If you are physically able to do so and it will not further endanger your health, try to collect evidence from the scene, including:
- Pictures of the scene and your injuries
- Statements from witnesses
- A copy of the accident report, if one is filed
- Notes on your recollection of what happened
File a Report
Before leaving the scene, talk to the property owner and ask him or her to create an accident report. This creates an official record of the incident, which will be a key piece of evidence in your slip and fall case.
Take Note of How Your Injuries Affect You
It is a good idea to keep a journal documenting how your injuries are affecting you on a daily basis. For instance, note any times you missed work because you were physically unable to work or you were receiving treatment. You should also describe the pain and emotional issues you are experiencing and if it is affecting your relationships.
Contact an Attorney
An attorney can review your situation and determine if you have a viable case. If you do, he or she can immediately begin an investigation to build a case and pursue fair compensation.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right away.
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Stuart?
Slip and fall claims can be complex and time-consuming. You need to investigate the accident, collect evidence, negotiate with the other party for compensation and deal with a variety of other issues if you hope to recover compensation.
Fortunately, you have the option of hiring a Stuart slip and fall attorney to represent you and handle the many aspects of your claim.
Some of the many advantages to hiring an attorney for your slip and fall case include:
An Attorney Will Advocate for You
Many injury victims do not realize how outnumbered they are when it comes to defending their best interests. Insurance companies, property owners, attorneys and others representing the other party are all focused on their interests. Their main focus is to avoid being held responsible for your injury and pay out as little compensation as possible, or none at all.
Having a resourceful, experienced attorney at your side can help you defend your interests. Lawyers are used to dealing with insurers and other parties who are trying to keep you from recovering fair compensation.
Your attorney's sole focus is to help you obtain compensation to help you deal with the medical expenses and other damages you suffered.
A Lawyer Can Help Accurately Value Your Claim
A skilled attorney will carefully review your medical records and other information about the damages you are experiencing, including your personal account of damages and analysis from medical experts. This will help us determine all of the damages you are experiencing and how much compensation you should receive.
We have a detailed understanding of what it takes to prove the types of damages an injury victim is experiencing and to determine what those damages are worth.
An Attorney Can Negotiate Your Compensation
Your case may be resolved via an insurance settlement or a settlement with the lawyers of the other party.
Our attorneys will be prepared to settle at any time, provided we receive an acceptable offer that fairly compensates you for the effects of your injury. We are veterans in negotiation and understand how it works. We know when to wait for a new offer from the other side and when to counter offer to help us obtain fair compensation.
The negotiating process can be intimidating to handle on your own. If you receive an offer you may be tempted to take it because you think it is the best you can get. However, your attorney will know when to accept an offer and when to wait for a better one. An attorney is also prepared to take your case to trial if the other side does not offer a fair settlement.
Your Lawyer Can Thoroughly Investigate Your Accident
Slip and fall claims require a thorough investigation to have a chance of success. The experienced Stuart slip and fall lawyers at our firm understand this and are prepared to get to work as soon as you decide to pursue a case. This includes:
- Taking pictures of the accident scene and your injury
- Using technology to reconstruct the accident scene, if necessary
- Collecting medical records and accident reports
- Interviewing witnesses
- Reviewing the history of the property to determine if other slip and fall accidents have occurred there in the past
An Attorney Can Take Your Case on Contingency
Our lawyers take all slip and fall cases on contingency, which means there is no fee unless there is a recovery of compensation for your damages. This way you do not have to feel unsure about working with an attorney because you do not know how you will pay for it.
Contact Gordon & Doner today by calling 1 (855) 722-2552.
Types of Slip and Fall Cases
Regardless of the specific circumstances of your accident, we are prepared to represent you if you have a viable claim. We take cases involving slip and fall accidents that occur at many locations, including:
- Restaurants and bars
- Retail stores
- Grocery stores, like Publix
- Apartment complexes
Slip and fall injuries have various causes, such as:
- Spilled liquids
- Cracks in the sidewalk
- Uneven flooring
- Products on the floor in retail stores
- Poorly maintained parking lots and parking spaces
- Bad lighting
- Broken stairway railings
- Broken or damaged steps on a stairway
- Cords on the floor
- Weak spots in carpet or flooring
- Malfunctioning escalators
- Falling debris, including ceiling tiles
We know that slip and fall accidents can cause broken bones, spinal cord injuries and a variety of other medical issues. If you were injured in this type of accident, you should contact us as soon as possible to determine if you have legal options.
Schedule a free legal consultation with our Stuart slip and fall attorneys right now.
Contact Our Stuart Slip and Fall Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation
The reputable attorneys at Gordon & Doner have recovered millions in compensation for injury victims in a variety of cases. We understand that compensation cannot change what happened, but it can provide the financial stability victims need to have a chance of moving forward.
We are committed to defending your best interests as we pursue your claim. We will bring all of our knowledge and experience to your claim to try to improve your chances of obtaining full compensation.
Contact Gordon & Doner right away to schedule your free legal consultation.