Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of serious injuries. According to data published by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), eight million people require emergency medical care for fall accidents each year in the United States. Approximately one million of these people go to the emergency room for a slip and fall accident. If you were hurt in a slip and fall, you deserve justice, accountability, and the financial compensation you need to pay your bills.
At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyers are skilled, results-focused advocates for victims. Driven by a passion for real justice, we have the knowledge and experience to hold negligent businesses, property owners, and their insurers accountable. If you were hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall, you need a strong lawyer on your side. Call our Fort Lauderdale office today for a free, no obligation consultation with a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney.
Slip and Fall Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries
A slip and fall accident is a serious matter. These accidents can result in serious, catastrophic, and even life-threatening injuries. It is imperative that the victims get the proper medical attention that they need. Some of the most common slip and fall accident injuries include:
- Soft tissue damages;
- Joint injuries (shoulder, knees, hips);
- Back injuries;
- Facial injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs); and
- Spinal cord damage.
What are the Most Common Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls?
Slips, trips, and falls can occur for many different reasons. One of the commonalities that these cases often share is that the accident could have been prevented if the proper safety precautions were taken. Here are some of the most common causes of slip and falls in Fort Lauderdale:
- Unmarked wet floors;
- Uncleaned leaks or spills;
- Broken or loose floorboards;
- Tattered rugs or carpets;
- Cords running through hallways;
- Uneven exterior walking surfaces; and
- Insufficient lighting in stairwells.
How Do I Protect Myself After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Were you hurt in a slip and fall accident in Fort Lauderdale? If so, it is essential that you take the right steps to protect your health, your well-being, and your legal rights. Here are five key steps to take after a serious slip and fall accident or trip and fall accident:
- Get Medical Attention: Serious injuries require professional medical care. It is crucial that you see a doctor right away. Your health and safety matters, and you may be far more severely hurt than you realize. Under Florida law, you will not be able to pursue financial compensation for a slip and fall accident unless you see a physician.
- Document the Slip and Fall Accident: To the best of your ability, try to document the slip and fall accident. These are fault-based legal cases—meaning you will need to prove the defendant’s liability. The more information you have, the better. Take pictures, get contact details for witnesses, and write down exactly what happened and how it happened.
- Notify the Business or Property: You should give notice to the responsible party—whether it is a business or a property owner. At this time in the process, you do not need to lay out the facts of your case. Simply notify them in writing that a slip and fall occurred on their premises. An experienced Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorney can help you with this step.
- Avoid Direct Contact With the Defendant or its Insurer: After a slip and fall accident, you may get a call from the at-fault party and/or its insurance company seeking more information. At this time, you are not required to answer questions. It is not in your best interest to make direct contact with the other side. Instead, work with them through your Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accident attorney.
- Consult With a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer: Slip and fall attorneys specialize in representing victims of falls or slips and will be able to provide information on state laws. We will also provide free consultations to discuss your particular situation so that you can discuss what kind of compensation you should be receiving and whether or not your case is a strong one.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit?
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 95.11), the statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident is four years. Slip and fall accident injury claims are negligence-based cases. You must file any legal action within four years of the accident. Failure to do so can result in the automatic dismissal of your personal injury claim on purely technical grounds.
While four years seems like plenty of time, you do not want to fall behind on the claims process. Be proactive: If you have been injured due to negligence on the part of someone else, then seeking legal counsel is definitely the best course of action. Contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible after a serious accident.
What is the Responsibility of the Property Owner (Reasonable Care)?
Slip and fall accident claims fall under the legal doctrine of premises liability. In Florida, businesses and property owners have an overriding duty to keep their guests safe from unreasonably dangerous hazards. They must properly maintain their premises—including identifying, marking, and addressing slipping and tripping hazards. A business or property owner that fails to live up to this duty could be held liable through a slip and fall accident claim if someone is injured.
To be clear, it is important to understand that neither a business nor a property owner is automatically liable for a slip and fall accident that happens on their premises. They are only legally liable for a slip and fall if that accident occurred, at least in part, because of an unreasonably dangerous safety hazard.
Four Key Elements of a Slip and Accident Claim in Fort Lauderdale
To prove liability in a slip and fall accident lawsuit, you must establish that the defendant’s improper conduct contributed to your injuries. Here are four specific elements that you should be prepared to prove as part of a slip and fall accident claim in Fort Lauderdale:
- Safety Hazard: You must assert the reason why your slip and fall accident occurred. Proving liability requires demonstrating that the accident happened because of a safety hazard on the defendant’s premises.
- Knew or Should Have Known: A slip and fall accident victim must also establish the defendant’s negligence in allowing that hazard to exist or persist. This requires proving that the business or property owner knew or should have known about the safety hazard.
- Actual Damages: To bring a slip and fall accident claim, you must prove that you suffered actual harm in the fall. In Florida, defendants are generally only liable for premises defects to the extent that the victim actually sustained damages.
- Causation: Finally, the safety hazard in question must have been the cause of your slip and fall accident. If you cannot establish causation between the unreasonably dangerous safety hazard and your fall, you will not be in a position to recover compensation.
Slip and fall accident claims are complicated cases. You could face a zealous defense from the business, property owner, or the insurance company. A comprehensive investigation is critically important. The first step to seeking fair compensation for a trip and fall claim is to consult with a legal professional. We will be able to guide you through the process and make sure that you are getting all the assistance and support that you need to make a successful case.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident in Florida?
A number of different parties could potentially be held legally liable for a slip and fall accident. It is important to learn about slip and fall laws. In short, this is a civil tort that covers many situations involving negligence on the part of other parties, including builders, property owners, property managers, and even family members. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a slip or fall, then you may be eligible for financial compensation from a negligent party.
As Florida has a comparative negligence standard for personal injury claims, including premises liability claims, multiple parties may even share culpability for the same slip and fall accident. An experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer will be able to investigate your case, identify all parties that may bear legal fault, and take action to put you in the best position to get financial compensation.
How Do You Gather Evidence to Build a Slip and Fall Accident Case?
Without evidence, you will be in a tough position to get slip and fall accident compensation. There are several key stages of a legal investigation in a personal injury case. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, you should try to gather as much information as possible—from snapping some quick photographs to getting the contact details for an eyewitness. From there, you should consult a top Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accident attorney. A lawyer will be able to help you initiate a more thorough and complete investigation of the incident.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Following a serious slip and fall accident, injured victims need compensation to pay their bills and support their loved ones. A slip and fall accident claim is a type of premises liability case. In Fort Lauderdale, plaintiffs in a premises liability case can seek compensation for out-of-pocket losses and intangible damages. Unfortunately, defendants and insurers work aggressively to resolve slip and fall accident claims for as little as possible. Know your right to seek compensation for the full extent of your damages. You may be entitled to recover financial compensation for:
- Emergency medical treatment;
- Hospital bills and other health care costs;
- Physical therapy and mental health counseling;
- Loss of current and future earning power;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional trauma;
- Physical scarring or disfigurement;
- Long-term physical disability; and
- Wrongful death.
A top-rated premises liability lawyer will help you build a strong, well-supported case to maximize your financial recovery after a slip and fall accident. At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorneys have the skills and experience to make sure that we are able to help our clients get the compensation that suits their specific situation. Once you have chosen us, you will need to discuss what the compensation will be, and how much you will be looking to receive.
Call Our Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Today
There are many types of slip and falls, without a so there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for your case. It is important that you work with legal professionals to discuss your case carefully. At Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, LLC, our Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accident lawyer is a relentless, experienced advocate for injured victims and their loved ones. Negligent businesses and property owners in Florida must be held accountable. Contact us now or connect with us online for a free, no commitment case assessment. With a main office in Fort Lauderdale and satellite offices in Miami, Jacksonville, and Starke, we handle slip and fall accident claims throughout the region.