How a Florida Slip-and-Fall Lawyer Can Help Maximize Your Recovery, or Defend Against Unworthy Personal Injury Accident Claims
Introduction to Premise Liability Laws in the State of Florida
Alarmingly, slip-and-fall accidents take place on a daily basis, with some more serious than others. It is equally alarming that not all serious injuries as a result of such falls lead to claims being filed with insurance carriers, or lawsuits filed court for the more serious falls.
Regardless of whether you are a Florida property owner or an injured fall victim patronizing a store, you should be familiar with the field of personal injury law’s claims process for determining how the accident occurred, and who is to blame.
Florida personal injury attorneys specializing in slip-and-fall litigation will be a valuable resource for any property owner handling a fall accident, just as they can help the injured victim determine their next course of action to obtain compensation for their injuries.
To learn more about the elements that must be proven in the State of Florida in an ordinary slip-and-fall case as well as the common ways for these cases to be disproven and dismissed, it is worth it to spend a few moments by reading further.
What is the Life-Cycle of a Personal Injury Case under Florida Law?
Florida slip-and-falls injury cases are one of the most common lawsuits arising out of injuries that take place on other persons’ land or establishment. When there is a “special relationship” between the visitor and the owner of the land or establishment, there exists a duty for the owner to keep the land free of dangerous conditions that cause injury.
The basic elements of a Florida personal injury case involving slip-and-fall:
- An owner of property (the government or a private owner) who has a duty of care, and allows some hazard to exist on the property. Examples of causes of the slip include:
- slippery puddles of water,
- uneven carpeting,
- unsafe walkways,
- a wet floor
- or other substance)
that remains long enough for someone (the injured victim) to fall on top of it and suffer anything from minor to very serious injuries, such as head injuries including traumatic brain injuries.
According to Nolo’s Slip-and-Fall Blog, the elements are not drastically different from other states as the claim is not unique to Florida statutes. Nolo’s Slip-and-Fall Blog. A slip-and-fall case in Florida exists when:
- There the landowner is the government and breaches its duty of care owed to a private person who injures him or herself,
- based on there being “a premise defect.” The Florida Superior Court, the reviewing courts of the Florida Court of Appeal and Florida Supreme Court have given meaning to these terms “defect” and “duty” over time based on public policy concerns and technological advances.
To make out a premises liability claim under Florida personal injury law, the burden is to establish the fall victim was either an “invitee” or “licensee” as opposed to being a mere “trespasser.”
According to Nolo.com, a plaintiff-invitee can be understood as one who is usually expected to come onto the owner’s land—typically a mall or grocery store—to buy a product being sold at that establishment and encounters some hazard not obvious enough to avoid in time.
The next step usually includes having settlement negotiations with the insurance company of the property owner.
Time Limits for Exercising Your Legal Rights and Filing an Injury Claim in Miami, Tampa
According to Nolo.com, a victim has a generous four years from the date of the slip and fall accident to file a lawsuit.
Statutes of limitations exist to ensure that evidence remains fresh and in the opinion of the courts and legislature claims have merit. Another reason is not to inconvenience the other party by waiting an unreasonably long time to report the injury, or wrongful death claim, when it could have done sooner, especially when evidence proof of injury is stronger, such as unhealed broken bones or traumatic brain injuries.
According to the nationally-renown and premier legal resource and directory Nolo.com, commonly slip and fall accident lawsuits can be considered weak and of little value if some of the following is true of the victim:
- Comparative Negligence: states that the victim was partially, whether in part or in full, to blame for the incident.
- Assumption of Risk: means that the owner of the property had warned the victim of the hazard and yet the victim ignored such warnings and injured him or herself.
Other defenses in slip and fall accident cases can relate to more procedural issues dealing with a victim’s difficulty in corroborating a story due to poor sensory abilities, inconsistencies in their testimony or other flaws dealing with the injured victim’s past, including:
- The victim had previously filed slip-and-fall cases against other establishments before.
- The injured victim was not around other witnesses who could substantiate the victim’s version of the facts.
- The injured victim’s memory of the exact circumstances of their fall lacks precision as to how the supposed hazard is responsible for the victim’s injuries.
- The injured victim had previous health conditions that are claimed to have been caused by the fall. (i.e. a broken bone caused by a previous accident)
Legal Options: How Much Can an Orlando Injured Victim Expect to Recover for a West Pal Beach Slip and Fall Accident Case?
Based on the skill and experience of the personal injury attorney handling a victim’s slip and fall case, a client can recover greater amounts if the lawyer stays up-to-date with the changes in the laws governing slip-and-fall lawsuits.
This includes knowing about the effect of caps on damages, if any, added requirements for making out a slip-and-fall case, and the right to have a jury hear the fall victim’s case rather than a judge. Often this guarantees multi-million dollar verdicts for particularly malicious and egregious cases involving serious injury.
According to the national and Fort Lauderdale-based McDonald Worley, P.C., determining the valuation of a slip and fall accident settlement and one’s legal options, can be based on some, all or any of the following factors:
- Future and current lost wages by the victim (Or how long a person had to miss work after being injured)
- Pain and suffering of the victim (or the severity of the injury and whether it is permanent or temporary)
- The victim’s medical bills (or factoring in the number of doctors seen and the extent of surgery required, including emergency room visits)
- His or her future medical costs (or whether the accident victim requires continuing treatment, whether medical or psychological)
- Property damage, if any (or if the accident victim suffered property loss as a result from the slip-and-fall in addition to physical damages
What is the Importance of Hiring a Skilled Fort Lauderdale Slip-and-Fall Lawyer?
While patrons are busy running errands, a property owner in Florida who neglects his duty to keep the store free of dangerous conditions can lead to a high risk of being sued if the client seeks out legal representation.
Many top-rated law firms specialize in slip and fall accident cases, including Lutz-based Holiday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, the national personal injury law firm McDonald Worley, P.C., among others in the Fort Lauderdale area and surrounding areas, many offering an initial consultation.
For such law firms, a specialist will ask you, the client, questions to maximize the value of your slip and fall accident case or minimize liability—whether you are a fall victim, loved one of the fall victim or the property owner defending against the fall claim.
In any case, you should be prepared to gather evidence, detailed fact-finding in chronological order of the events that occurred. It is helpful to also keep meticulous records of medical bills and medical expenses made to recover.
As a property owner, it is also imperative to share any insurance company policy maintained and provide all known information that could be helpful for the lawyer to assess and test the strength and validity of the victim’s fall claim.
Call a Slip-and-Falls Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case and Odds of a Obtaining a Fair Settlement!
No person alone can negotiate with insurance companies to recover the fullest extent of their medical bills and loss to property. Yet, with a Florida slip and falls lawyer on your side, you guarantee the best chances at prevailing.
The attorney-client relationship forms upon consultation when you consider hiring the attorney. Failing to be adequately prepared can result in not being compensated for a serious injury with clear liability that, such as if the fall attorney is not particularly qualified in the particular case brought. Likewise, this can result in excessive payouts for non-meritorious personal injury claims and in turn can cause a business to be in dire straits.
In any case, use Lawsuit.org to pinpoint the right slip-and-falls personal injury attorney offering a free consultation and free case evaluation to obtain a verdict that offers an amount of compensation you justly deserve.