What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident can become a type of personal injury claim when a person is on another’s property and slips and trips due to a negligent hazard, resulting in injury. Slip and fall claims exist under the broader umbrella of cases known as premises liability claims. The property owner may be held legally liable following a slip and fall accident when there was a dangerous condition which contributed to the slip and fall. It is important to note that it is not enough just to slip and fall, rather there must have been resulting injuries from the fall.
If you have been injured in a South Florida slip and fall accident, you need prompt, uncompromising legal assistance. At Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, we have been helping Floridians who are victims of a slip and fall due to negligence since 1973—together, our attorneys have more than 80 years of experience. We are not a legal “mill,” rather offer personalized, hands-on assistance to those who need it most. We are skilled negotiators while also being aggressive, hard-hitting litigators when the situation warrants. The attorney you see is the one who will be helping you throughout your South Florida slip and fall claim. We believe in you, and you can believe in our stellar reputation, placing your trust in the attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti.
Where Do South Florida Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
There are many areas where a slip and fall accident can occur including the following:
- Sidewalks and curbs
- Public restrooms
- Bars and nightclubs
- Escalators and elevators
- Grocery stores
- Wet areas surrounding swimming pools
- Construction areas
- Parking lots
In particular, when the following hazards exist, slip and fall accidents are likely:
- Walkway obstacles which should not have been left for visitors to trip over;
- A lack of hazard or warning signs, particularly in areas around rain or snow-soaked slippery entrances;
- Frayed carpeting;
- Items in a store which are stacked much too high;
- Any spilled liquids which should have been cleaned up, or marked with a hazard sign;
- Floors which have been freshly mopped with no orange cones or other warning;
- Differences in floor heights with no warning sign;
- Stairwells which are built very narrowly, or which have poor lighting;
- Walking surfaces which are uneven;
- Failure to have procedures in place to regularly inspect for hazardous conditions;
- Failure to repair known hazards;
- Failure to post hazard indicators;
- Using inappropriate materials which create a slippery or hazardous condition, or
- Failure to comply with building codes.
How Often Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
According to NSFI, more than eight million ER visits annually are the result of some type of fall—slip and falls account for about 12 percent of that total. The elderly are at a particular risk for a slip and fall injury, with as many as one in three of those over the age of 65 suffering a slip and fall. The Arbill website states that more than one million Americans will suffer a slip, trip and fall injury each and every year, and that nearly a third of those who suffer a slip and fall will suffer a moderate to severe injury. Slip and fall injuries make up about one-fifth of all job-related injuries, resulting in an average of 11 days away from work.
Most Common Injuries from Slip and Falls
Arbill also states facts about the typical injuries resulting from a slip and fall. These facts include:
- Bruises, head injuries and hip fractures are among the moderate to severe injuries suffered by those who experience a slip and fall accident.
- The most common injuries occurring from a slip and fall include spinal fractures, hip fractures, forearm fractures, leg fractures, ankle fractures, pelvic fractures, upper arm fractures and hand or finger fractures.
- More traumatic brain injuries are the result of slip and fall accidents than any other single cause.
- Among the elderly who suffer a slip and fall and a resulting traumatic brain injury, about 46 percent will die from the slip and fall injury.
Slip and fall accidents can cause injuries that result in long-term medical complications which bring long-term medical expenses. Those who suffer a serious slip and fall could find themselves with injuries which require months, years, or even a lifetime of medical attention, including surgical procedures and rehabilitative therapies. When a slip and fall accident causes a serious injury, the victim of the slip and fall may be unable to return to work for a period of time or may never be able to return to work. Because of the inability to work, the slip and fall victim may not be able to pay his or her normal monthly expenses.
If the slip and fall victim was the primary breadwinner in the family, the financial outlook can be grim. This is why it is so important to speak to a knowledgeable South Florida slip and fall attorney as quickly as possible after the accident. A slip and fall attorney from Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti can help you receive equitable compensation for your injuries, allowing you to get back on your feet financially. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses as well as lost wages, lost future wages, pain and suffering and possibly even emotional trauma.
How to Prove Liability Following a South Florida Slip and Fall
Property owners owe a duty of care to visitors on their property. That duty of care includes the responsibility to keep property well-maintained and to fix any hazards as quickly as possible. A successful slip and fall claim must prove three things: liability, negligence and responsibility. Liability means the defendant had a responsibility to provide a safe environment for visitors and failed to meet that responsibility. Negligence means the defendant breached the duty of care, and as a result, the plaintiff was injured. Responsibility or fault means the negligence of the defendant was a major cause of the injuries to the plaintiff. The plaintiff also has a certain duty of care in that if a hazardous condition is clearly visible, the property owner may be able to defend the case by saying the plaintiff also exhibited negligence, therefore shares responsibility for the accident.
What You Should Do Following a Slip and Fall Accident
If you suffer a slip and fall accident, you must follow these steps to ensure your future claim is preserved as well as for your health:
- Seek immediate medical treatment. This should always be the first priority after a slip and fall accident occurs. You want to ensure your health is protected and that your injuries are properly documented.
- Report the accident to the owner or manager of the premise. Ask that the details of the slip and fall accident be put down in writing and that you receive a copy.
- As soon as your health allows, make sure every detail of the slip and fall accident is properly documented. If others saw your accident, collect contact information from each witness. Photograph the area where you slipped and fell, particularly any condition that contributed to your accident such as an icy patch or a narrow, poorly lit stairwell. Make notes of what you were doing immediately prior to the accident as well as the exact time and date of the accident.
- Limit your communication with the manager or the property manager and avoid posting any details of your slip and fall on social media. In the same vein, do not give a statement to an insurance company until you have spoken to an attorney.
- Finally, contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible.
How an Experienced South Florida Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
If you have suffered a slip and fall accident, the Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti Key West attorneys can help. Slip and fall cases can be complex and we will handle all the confusing paperwork as well as worry about the deadlines applicable in your slip and fall claim. At Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti we always treat you with respect while fighting aggressively for your rights and your future.
We understand that you may be dealing with serious injuries and may be unable to work and make a living for your family. You may find yourself in an untenable situation; the Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti attorneys can help you through this difficult time in your life. Do not get stuck paying medical bills for an accident that the owner of a business is liable for. Contact Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti today for a comprehensive consultation.