If you’ve suffered from a “slip and fall” accident, then yours is among one of the most common types of accident to frequent the Florida court system.
These are very straightforward cases. You stepped wrong onto the edge of a curb while walking to work. You slipped. You fell... probably somewhat dramatically.
Some attorneys can make a living by working on nothing more than “faller downers.” That’s how prevalent this type of case is. Would you like to know how very common slip-and-fall cases are?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are more likely to suffer from a slip-and-fall accident. Additionally, this type of accident accounts for more than one-million emergency room visits per year and more than 12% of total falls.
What else? It’s the primary cause of days missed from work and half of all accidental deaths each year. It also costs $70 billion annually in compensation and medical costs for employees. As the elderly keep slipping and falling, the market is only going to become larger.
Trip and fall accidents are the cause of so many emergency room visits, because these accidents can result in broken bones, lacerations, concussions and even death.
A slip and fall accident is a type of premises liability case, meaning that a property owner negligently failed to maintain his premises, which resulted in an accident.
When you enter a commercial or business property, this labels you as an “invitee.” That means a business must use reasonable care to prevent injuries from happening to you while you handle your transaction, and if they fail to do so, the business is potentially responsible for any injuries you incur.
So let’s say you went to a commercial pool company in Florida to buy some cleaner for your Jacuzzi. An employee neglected to clean up a wet patch on the floor where someone spilled some water after cleaning a pool. You slip on that patch and hit your head on the concrete ground, suffering extensive injuries. The business owner would be responsible for your subsequent medical bills and related damages.
It can be hard to keep a clear head once it’s been banged on the floor. However, after a slip and fall, try to preserve the accident scene. This is difficult to do at the best of times, and a business will have it in its interest to mitigate the damage.
Try to take photographs of the scene if you can, as well as any damage to your person. Examples of premises liability in Florida could be wet patches on the floor (e.g., the example above), loose cords, potholes in pavement, loose rugs, inadequate lighting or poorly maintained steps. This photographic evidence will help your attorney significantly later in the process.
After you have this information, talk with a Florida premises liability attorney. He or she can assist you with this process. As the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim in Florida is four years, you should start the process sooner rather than later. The clock begins to run from the date of injury. If the claim is against the government of Florida or some other form of official municipality, the time limit is a 180-day investigatory period and a three-year statute of limitations (two years for wrongful death).
Yes, it’s a bit confusing. An attorney can help walk you through all of these strange twists and turns, don’t worry!
Also, remember that Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, so even if you are 99% at fault for your own slip and fall (somehow), you can still collect 1% of damages.