If you have been injured from a trip or fall, you might be worried about paying your medical bills. The Florida Slip and Fall Injury Guide was created by Perenich Law Injury Attorneys to help residents obtain maximum compensation.
If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall, you may be feeling angry that you have to get medical treatment that is costing you money. You may also be experiencing some anxiety if these bills are affecting you in a big way. A slip and fall could take you out of work and make paying medical fees difficult. We are here to guide you through the process of a slip and fall accident. We will safeguard you and protect your rights so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Allow us to walk you through the steps during a free consultation. We are more than happy to take your call.
Types of Injuries
Slip and falls can lead to injuries that change your body permanently. A slip on a store’s floor could cause a broken elbow and prevent you from picking up your grandkids until it’s better. Even then, injured parts of the body never really go back to perfectly normal. Here are some of the types of injuries we see in slip and fall cases a lot:
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
If you have any injury from a slip and fall, you are more than deserving of compensation from the negligent party’s insurance. There’s a huge misconception out there about slip and fall claims, especially on residential property. If you fell at a friend’s house and injured yourself pretty badly, you may have been hesitant to even consider a slip and fall claim because you’re worried about suing your friend. In reality, you’re not actually suing them or expecting the compensation to come from their pocket. Instead, it’s brought against their insurance company who expects these kinds of things to happen to their clients. They’re prepared for instances like this. You should never feel guilty for asking that insurance company for compensation. That’s what insurance is there for.
Unfortunately, they might give you a hard time, but our dedicated and experienced attorneys know how to handle their tactics. They will call you shortly after the accident and ask you for a statement. You do not have to give them one. In fact, it’s best that you don’t, because a huge tactic they utilize is getting you to say something that would ruin your claim. Instead, hand them over to your attorney so they can take care of all of that communication and negotiation.
Slip and Fall Compensation
If you want to ensure that you get compensation, you need to take the proper steps following your slip and fall. Of course getting medical attention is very important, but it is also important for you to collect some evidence at the scene first if you can. You should take photos of what you slipped in or tripped over. From there, it might be helpful to talk to witnesses. Lastly, most importantly, there is no way you can expect the insurance company to pay you compensation if they don’t know about the incident. After you have taken photos of the cause of your accident, you need to file a report with the owner of the property. That might be the store manager, the municipality of the sidewalk you fell on, or just telling the owner of the home you were at. Once they’re on notice, you can proceed with talking to an attorney to get things started.
The way compensation works in Florida is not too complicated. If you have absolutely no fault in your accident, you can get 100% of the compensation. If, for some reason, you are found to be at fault, then your compensation will get reduced. In a situation where a person was on their phone, walking through a grocery store and slipped on something that didn’t have a slippery sign and had been neglected to have been cleaned up, they might share some fault. Being on their phone might attribute some percent of fault but because the store did something wrong, it’s not all their fault. Let’s say that person on their phone was deemed 30% at fault. Whatever compensation award they get would be reduced by 30% to account for their role in the cause of the accident. If the award was for $10,000, then it would be reduced to $7,000.
There are many factors that go into deciding how much your compensation will be for. It cannot be figured out overnight. We need to determine how much medical treatment you need and how much you have had. Compensation covers medical bills, lost wages, and any expense you’ve had to pay because of this accident. That might include gas or bus fair to the doctor’s or childcare while you’re in surgery.
You want to get a strong, dedicated attorney on your side to make sure you get all the compensation you’re entitled to. They will also ensure that you do everything you have to well before the four year statute of limitations runs out. Do not delay in contacting an attorney so that they can preserve evidence, talk to the insurance company for you, and fight fiercely to get you the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions | Florida Slip and Fall Injury Guide
How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer?
You may be asking yourself, “How do I select the best attorney in a trip and fall or slip and fall case?” You want to find an attorney who has years of experience handling these kinds of cases and who’s not afraid to take a case to trial. There are a lot of attorneys out there. Some billboards are plastered with faces of attorneys and there are radio ads and TV ads for them, but a lot of advertisement does not reflect the quality of an attorney. This is perhaps the most important decision that you can make because it determines the absolute outcome of the case. Look to the attorney’s qualifications, experience, and their willingness to take the case all the way to trial.
Do I Have A Claim for a Faulty Handrail?
If you’re injured due to a faulty handrail, the very first thing that you need to know about that is there are codes and regulations that apply to the construction of that structure. There is a Florida building code, which applies in the Clearwater area, that will affect your case. We’re going to be doing an investigation right out of the gates to document and photograph what about that handrail condition led to the handrail failure. That’s what we call in engineering a failure analysis. We’ve handled those cases before. It can happen if there are improper inspections by the owner of the property, whether it’s a commercial property, residential property, or even a property that’s owned by a governmental entity.
First and foremost, we need to do our investigation. We need to do the failure analysis. We’re going to be looking to people who have experience in engineering, including mechanical engineers and structural engineers, to ensure that code is being complied with.
Do I Have a Claim for Fault Steps?
A lot of times, people end up being injured while they’re trying to get up and down stairs. It is common to think that it was your fault. That’s not always the case. In our firm, we’ve handled a lot of cases where stairs were improperly constructed or improperly designed. In the Clearwater area, that’s more common than you think. You can have a claim for injury if you’ve been injured while falling as you’re going up or down the stairs. In order to prosecute that claim properly, you need to hire a good law firm, like ours, who is willing to hire experts, including design experts and engineers who know how stairs are supposed to be properly designed and constructed so that they can be safely traversed. Stair case injuries or stair step injuries are very common, and they can be substantial and viable claims here in Florida.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid After a Slip and Fall Injury?
You might be wondering to yourself, “What are some of the big mistakes that a person can make who slipped or tripped and fell?” There are a few big mistakes that a person can make. Number one, they don’t adequately document the scene. If you slip and fall, take photographs. There could be a foreign substance on the floor. There have been situations where management rushes over and they’re sweeping up the scene before the person even gets up off the floor. We want to make sure that we document exactly what happened. Don’t be shy about letting it be known that you have been injured. If someone walks by, tell them, “Hey, I fell. I’m really badly hurt. Please call 9-1-1.” Let management know and ensure that management documents the injury. Give them your name. Tell them what happened so that they can write up a report.
The other big mistake people make is they don’t bother to get medical treatment, or even worse, they get medical treatment but then they disregard what the doctor says. If the ambulance shows up, take the ambulance. You may not feel all of the injury that your body has incurred, but you may be feeling it later when you’re regretting that you didn’t do these things. Get medical treatment, do what your doctors tell you, and then get the right attorney on board as quickly as possible to help investigate the claim and prosecute the claim all the way to trial if necessary.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
When you come to our office for the first time after suffering a slip and fall injury, we find that it happened at a location with hazards.. Perhaps the area was not properly maintained, and an injury can have consequential effects on your life. These premises liability claims, or slip and fall injury cases, can really affect somebody for a long time.
In order to figure out the value of those claims, we’re going to want to explore the medical situation of our client as fully and comprehensively as possible. We’re going to get them to good doctors who understand that their future could be very uncertain and who will give them the best prognosis of what their future medical care is and any way in which this accident may have some limitation on their ability to live their life the way they want. Those are all the factors that we consider in terms of making the determination of what the value of that claim is.
What Steps Need to Be Taken for a Slip and Fall Injury Claim?
You may be asking yourself, “What are the steps involved in taking on or prosecuting a slip and fall or a trip and fall case here in Florida?” Like many cases, one of the important considerations is the evidence. We want to document the scene. We want to take pictures. We want to know if it was a foreign substance that you slipped or tripped over. Sometimes a person may be badly injured, but they may be still able to reach their cell phone to take a picture of whatever that substance was. It’s important that that person notify management to let them know that there was an injury. If, for example, you’re in a grocery store, tell another person who happens to be walking by, “Please contact a manager,” and then someone will get the manager, or, “Please call 9-1-1.” Get the ambulance there and let them know that you’ve been injured, then go to the hospital. Don’t turn away the ambulance. Preserve even the shoes that you were wearing because as the plaintiff, we have the burden to prove every element of the case, and so we want to document absolutely as much as we can in a trip or slip and fall case.
What If I Slip and Fall on City Property?
When we get calls from clients who have been injured because of defective or poorly maintained sidewalks, they ask us whether they have a potential claim against the city or the county here in the Clearwater area. The answer is usually yes. The county or the city that has the responsibility of maintaining those sidewalks have policies about that. Our law firm will get those policies and find out whether or not the city or the county properly complied with their own policies to maintain those sidewalks in a safe way. Usually, a problem on a sidewalk does not happen quickly or overnight. Usually it’s because, over time, the sidewalk becomes uneven or becomes deteriorated in some respect, and that’s usually not something that happens quickly. We have actually had great success in making recoveries for our clients who were injured because of those dangerous conditions on sidewalks.
What If I Slip and Fall on Residential Property?
We have been asked, “If I’ve been involved in a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property, what steps do I need to take to make sure that my rights are protected?” First and foremost, you need to get medical care and treatment. Secondly, you need to make sure that you have good experienced legal representation. Thirdly, we’re going to make sure, if it hasn’t been done already, that the homeowner and their insurance company has been advised and put on notice of the claim. That is very critical because we have a duty and responsibility to let them know about the condition that existed, especially if that condition is not a transient condition and it can be preserved by way of photographing and other documentation.
If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident and you’re at someone else’s property or house, make sure they’re notified, make sure you get medical care and treatment, and make sure you get experienced legal representation.
How Long Will This Case Take?
We are often asked, “How long will it take to resolve my slip and fall claim?” Number one, we need to know your medical care condition and injuries to analyze your medical treatment. We’re going to make sure that you are, in fact, following a plan of care and that you are doing everything that you can to heal and recover from your injuries. At some point, after you have done everything that the doctors have asked you to do and you have reached what we call a medical plateau, which is called reaching maximum medical improvement, then we’re going to be in a position of seeking compensation for your slip and fall claim against the at-fault party, who either created that unsafe condition that led you to that slip or trip and fall, or against some other entity that either owned or controlled the area where that occurred.
In general, this type of case, which is not unlike other cases when it comes to time frames, is going to depend upon the degree of your injuries, and the degree of your medical care and treatment. Once we’re satisfied that you’ve reached your medical plateau, then we’re going to be in a position to seek compensation for you. If we can work out a resolution of that, we’re going to do that so that the case may be wrapped up sooner. If we can’t, and we have to file a lawsuit, it may take a little bit longer, but we’re going to be with you every step of the way.
What Are My Statute of Limitations?
Recently I was asked, “How long do I have to bring a slip and fall or a trip and fall case here in Florida?” The short answer is four years, unless it’s a government defendant, in which case it’s only three years. The bigger takeaway is that it’s not about the statute of limitations. We don’t want to be waiting until our last opportunity to file a lawsuit. We want to get in there quickly. Evidence fades over time, so we want to take statements from witnesses, and find out all the medical damages that we can. We want to undertake our investigation so that we can aggressively prosecute the case right from the very beginning.
Do Warning Signs Affect a Claim?
Sometimes when a person is injured in a slip and fall, there’s a warning code or sign in the area where the slip and fall occurred. The question is, will that person still have a claim? Maybe there was a slippery or foreign substance on the floor. What we’re looking for in those cases is if that warning gave you sufficient notice of that condition. Just because there’s a warning in place, doesn’t mean that you don’t have a winnable slip and fall claim. The question then turns to, was that warning reasonable? Is it a warning that was open and obvious and should have been seen? Many times, we find that these warning cones get put out, but nobody sees them because they’re out of the way.
The second issue with regard to that is the duty of the property owner not putting up a warning cone or a warning sign when they become aware that there’s a condition that can cause somebody to have a slip and fall. Did they take remedial steps within a reasonable period of time to correct and take that condition away completely? The law requires them to act reasonably under the circumstance, and just by merely placing a warning sign or cone is not sufficient.
Contact Our Clearwater Office Today
If you are looking for a strong, dedicated, and experienced Clearwater slip and fall lawyer, please call our office today to set up a free consultation. At Perenich Law Injury Attorneys, we take your case seriously and work tirelessly to get you full and fair compensation for your injuries. Allow our experience to work for you.