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Slip and Fall Incidents Can Cause Serious Injuries. You Have Legal Rights after an Injury
A slip and fall accident could be a life-changing event. It can lead to a major fracture, a tendon or ligament injury, or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recovering from these injuries can take months, or longer. In some cases, the injury victim will never be the same.
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall, know that you have legal rights. You can investigate who caused your accident and who was at fault. Any identified parties could be held responsible for your medical bills and other costs.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida, it’s important to understand that you have legal rights, including the right to compensation. Lawyer Steve Hoskins has been representing Florida slip and fall victims and their families for over 30 years. Our team knows how to get the compensation you deserve. Call us at (866) 460-1990 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Common Places Where Slip & Fall Accidents Occur
Because tripping risks are everywhere, slip and fall accident locations can be anywhere you live, work, or visit.
- Apartment buildings, condos
- Nursing homes
- Retail stores
- Amusement parks
- Bars and restaurants
- Public parks
- Parking garages
- Parking lots
- Government buildings
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, for any number of reasons. You may slip when the floor is wet at the store, or you may fall after getting your feet tangled up with a hose in a neighbor’s yard. One of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents is falling at work. Slip and falls were the cause of about 900 workplace deaths nationwide in 2017. In fact, it was the second-leading cause of workplace fatalities behind transportation incidents.
Reasons a Slip and Fall Might Occur
A slip and fall accident can occur in any of the following scenarios:
- Slippery substances on a floor
- Rainwater, ice, or snowmelt on stairs
- Loose wires and cables
- Floors in poor repair
- Hidden step up or steps down
- Poor lighting in a parking lot or stairwell
- Clutter or loose objects in the way
- Unsafe entryways or exits
- A failure to warn visitors about a dangerous situation or condition
Florida Slip and Fall Accident Statistics
Slip and fall accidents are common occurrences in Florida.
According to the Florida Department of Health, 62,541 people were hospitalized for nonfatal injuries caused by slip and falls in 2012. These incidents are the top reason people are hospitalized for nonfatal injuries in Florida.
In addition, 2,475 Floridians were killed in these types of incidents. For Florida residents 65 and older, slip and fall incidents are the leading cause of death. It’s also the fourth-leading cause of death in general in the state.
Nationwide statistics on slip and fall accidents include some sobering facts. According to the CDC, one out of four adults over 65 will experience a fall each year. One out of five of these falls will lead to a broken bone, head injury, or other serious injuries. Falls cause over 95% of hip fractures, and they are the most common reason for a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
You don’t have to be an older adult to be concerned about fall injuries, either. The CDC reports that falls are the leading reason for emergency room visits related to non-fatal injuries.
Types of Compensation Available to Florida Residents After a Slip and Fall Accident
In Florida, injury victims who were hurt through no fault of their own may be able to receive compensation for their injuries. Damages, or compensation, are divided into two basic categories: economic and noneconomic. Neither of these types of damages has “caps,” or limits, in Florida.
Economic damages are those to which an objective dollar amount can be assigned. They include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Related out of pocket expenses
Your attorney will investigate your and more to figure out exactly how much economic compensation you’re entitled to as a result of your injury.
Noneconomic damages refer to injuries that cannot be easily quantified as a dollar amount. For instance, you may seek damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, mental anguish, and more. Because there is no objective dollar amount to assign to these damages, your attorney will negotiate with the defendant (the person you’re suing) to get the full amount you deserve. They may also present your case in court to allow the judge to decide how much you’re entitled to receive.
In extremely rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. These types of damages are designed to punish the defendant for overly reckless or intentional behavior that caused your injury. For slip and fall cases, only in the rarest cases are these damages awarded. For instance, if a company has a long history of dangerous workplace flooring that causes injury to workers, punitive damages may be assessed against them.
In order to claim any type of compensation for your slip and fall injury in Florida, you must show that the defendant either intentionally caused your injury or acted negligently. So don’t wait too long after a slip and fall to sue for damages.
Who Is Responsible for Paying My Slip and Fall Related Medical Bills?
If you can establish that someone was at fault because of negligence, then they may be legally compelled to pay for your damages. Many times, they will instead choose to settle before being ordered by a court to pay damages.
There could be any number of parties at fault for your injuries. By investigating the cause of your accident and who had a duty of care to prevent it, you and your attorney can identify who could be responsible for paying your damages.
Often, you can receive a settlement for your losses rather than having to sue to get slip and fall accident compensation.
The Four Elements of Negligence
Legally speaking, when someone acts in a way that another reasonable person wouldn’t, and, therefore, causes injury, they are said to be negligent. In order to prove negligence, four general criteria must be met. First, there must be an established duty of care. For instance, if you are shopping in a store, the store has a legal obligation to clean up spills and other hazards in a timely manner to avoid causing injury.
Second, you must prove there was a breach in that duty of care. For example, if there is a water spill in a store that has been left for hours, and you slip in the puddle, the duty of care has likely been breached. However, if the spill just happened, and there hasn’t been a sufficient amount of time to either clean it up or put out a “wet floor” sign, the store may not have breached its duty of care.
Third, your injury must have been caused by a breach of duty. This element is generally easy to prove. For instance, if you slip in a puddle in a store and break your arm because of the fall, this element is proven.
Finally, you must be able to be compensated for your injury. If you slip and fall, but require no medical attention and no personal property was damaged, you would not be able to seek compensation. But if you must visit the hospital and incur medical bills and other expenses, you can seek compensation.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means the amount of compensation you can receive is diminished by your fault in causing the injury. For example, if you are awarded a total of $10,000 in compensation, but you were found to be 20 percent at fault for your own injuries, you would only receive $8,000.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer?
In many cases, it costs you nothing up-front to hire a lawyer when you want to seek damages after a slip and fall case. Most personal injury lawyers in Florida’s Treasure Coast region will work on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t owe them anything upfront, and you only pay if you are able to receive some sort of settlement or court award.
Contingency agreements allow people who are hurt to get legal representation no matter what income level they are at. Because they don’t owe anything unless they recover some of their losses, there is no risk to them when hiring an attorney. The arrangements also motivate lawyers to do their utmost to find sources of compensation that the average injury victim may overlook.
When a slip and fall injury case is successfully won, either by obtaining a settlement or a court verdict giving an award, the injured claimant will then usually pay their attorney from these winnings. The attorney will charge a percentage fee for their services and costs, leaving the remainder of the award with the injury victim.
Click here for more frequently asked questions about slip and fall accidents.
A Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve After an Injury
If you’ve suffered an injury because of a slip and fall accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney about your right to compensation. Steve Hoskins always offers free, no-obligation consultations. During your initial consultation, our team will review the details of your injury and help you decide the best path forward for your unique case.
Contact our team online today or call us at (866) 460-1990 to schedule your free consultation.
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