What Is Considered a Slip and Fall Accident in Clearwater, FL?
When a person slips, trips, or falls on someone else’s property and is injured as a result, the incident is classified as a “slip and fall accident.” Slip and fall accidents are only actionable if they result from malfeasance or some other legal offense. Most slip and fall personal injury lawsuits are filed due to a property owner’s negligence.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and fall accidents make up 12% of total falls and are responsible for over 1 million emergency room visits per year. 5% of all people who fall will fracture a bone. In Florida, slip and fall accidents are the predominant cause of lost time at work and the number one cause of injury in amusement parks, theaters, restaurants, and hotels. Falls are a leading driver of medical costs and the primary cause of injury-related hospital admissions. People over 65 are especially susceptible to falls, which can cause loss of independence, increased nursing home admissions, hip fractures, spinal cord, and brain injuries, and death.
What Conditions Contribute to Clearwater Slip and Fall Accidents?
Most slip and fall injuries are caused by poor property and building maintenance. Missing handrails improperly sloped ramps, and slippery or uneven stairs can all cause a person to fall and be injured. Debris-obstructed floors and walkways are also dangerous. It’s easy to catch the heel of your shoe in a hole in the floor or pavement, causing you to lose your balance. Inadequate and badly placed lighting can make it difficult to see a step-down or uneven surface. Unsecured floor mats and torn carpets are other common trip hazards. Floors and pavement covered with spilled liquids, oils, or powders are all-too-common catalysts for slip and fall accidents.
Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents in Clearwater?
Scrapes and abrasions; sprains and strains; chipped teeth; bruising; and soft tissue damage are some of the most common injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents. Broken or fractured bones and head, neck, and spinal cord injuries can have serious long-term consequences. Some traumatic brain injuries can cause damage to coordination, movement, or memory. Other serious injuries include concussions, herniated discs, hip fractures, and paralysis. In extreme cases, falls can cause permanent and severe disability and death. Some more serious injuries related to slip and fall accidents are discussed below.
Musculoskeletal Injuries and Nerve Damage
A person who slips or trips may involuntarily react by reaching out to break their fall. If their arm, wrist, or hand slams against a hard surface, the impact may damage the bones, muscles, tendons, and nerves in their wrist or shoulder. Torn muscles and broken bones can cause significant long-term suffering and impairment. Nerve damage may cause a person to lose feeling in or control over an area of the body. Some injuries that affect motor control and sensation can last a lifetime. Additional complications like infection or internal bleeding can be dangerous and make a recovery difficult.
The vast majority of hip fractures are caused by falls. People who suffer hip fractures may require extensive surgery. They are often bedridden for long periods and can suffer from losing muscle mass. 20% of patients die due to extenuating conditions caused by a hip fracture.
Spinal Damage and Traumatic Brain Injuries
When a person loses their footing, the force of their body meeting a hard surface can cause serious injury to the spine and accompanying nerves. Spinal injuries can evolve to become extremely painful and debilitating lifelong conditions. Traumatic brain injuries can also permanently change a person’s life. High medical costs and wage loss create financial burdens that can last for years.
Speak With a Clearwater LSip and Fall Attorney After a Fall Accident
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you should immediately notify the property owner or manager, and then document your injuries and the scene of the accident using photos and video.
Make sure you have plenty of clear, detailed photos from various angles, and ensure both parties have copies of the documentation as soon as possible.
If there were witnesses to the incident, get their contact information so that they can corroborate and support your account of what happened. Once you have confirmed the identity of a potential witness, avoid discussing details of the accident with that person or anyone else.
Write a detailed description of the hazardous conditions you encountered.
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, and tell the people treating you that you were in a slip and fall accident.
Make sure that they thoroughly document all of your injuries and related treatments because these records can be used as evidence during your claims process.
Above all, do not sign any documents a property owner or manager offers before speaking to a lawyer. If you do so, you risk losing the chance to claim the full amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
Proving Negligence After a Clearwater Slip and Fall Accident?
To successfully recover compensation for a slip and fall accident, you must show that the owner was negligent and did not fulfill their duty of care to protect you from harm. If you are an invitee, a social guest, or are otherwise lawfully present on the property, then the owner should warn you about any potentially dangerous conditions you might encounter. If the property owner breaches this duty of care, causing an injury that hurts or harms you, then you may sue for negligence.
There are different levels of duty of care. Business owners typically owe a higher duty of care to their patrons, meaning they must perform regular inspections, eliminate known hazards, and warn you of outstanding dangers. Renters and homeowners are typically held to less stringent standards and are not necessarily obligated to find and remove hazards for the benefit of guests. Property owners must refrain from causing intentional harm to trespassers, but they do not owe them a duty of care.
It may be necessary to acquire evidence of negligence to prove your case successfully. If you cannot prove a breach of duty, the defendant’s insurer will deny your claim. Photos, security camera footage, witness testimony, and expert medical opinions will all increase your chances of recovering compensation. If you can point to past incidents that occurred under similar circumstances and involved the same owner, you may be able to use that prior history of negligence to support your case. Your Clearwater slip and fall attorney should be able to gather all the available evidence you need to prove negligence and then recover the compensation you deserve to collect for your slip and fall injury.
Responsibility For a Slip and Fall Accident
Florida has pure comparative fault laws, which means that a property owner and an injured party can each be held partially responsible for a slip and fall accident. Property owners and insurance companies often argue that an accident is either partially or completely the fault of the injured party. Sometimes, defendants challenge personal injury claims in court or attempt to reduce the cost of the settlement. When this occurs, your compensation will be directly proportional to your liability.
This means that if a judge or jury finds you are 20% responsible for a slip and fall accident, the amount of compensation for damages you can recover will be reduced by 20%. If you are talking on your phone or texting when you fall, you may be partially responsible for not paying attention to your surroundings. You could also face a reduction in compensation if you fall and become injured while under the influence of alcohol or chemical substances. If you slip and fall even when a hazard, unauthorized area, or warning sign is obvious, you may be judged to be partially at fault for the resulting injury.
What Kinds of Damages Can Slip and Fall Accident Victims Recover?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damage includes lost wages and diminished future earning ability; medical, physical therapy, and rehabilitation costs; and nursing and long-term care costs. Non-economic losses, also referred to as “pain and suffering,” include emotional distress, disfigurement, loss of independence, and a lower quality of life. You may also be able to collect compensation for damages in the case of wrongful death for loss of companionship and financial support. Our Clearwater slip and fall attorneys use specialized methods to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injury.
How Much Monetary Compensation Will I Receive for My Slip and Fall Injury?
Every slip and fall accident case is different, so the range of compensatory damages awarded is broad. Slip and fall accident compensation will pay for the cost of your medical bills and future care, lost wages, and other economic damages. If the injury you suffer due to your slip and fall accident damages your quality of life, you should discuss compensation for pain and suffering with your lawyer. Personal injury claims from slip and fall accidents can yield thousands or millions of damages. To ensure that you receive sufficient compensation to help you recover from your injuries, enlist the services of a Clearwater slip and fall lawyer.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accident Claims in Florida?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for a slip and fall injury claim depends on the accident’s severity and where it occurred. If you slip and fall on government property, you have six months to provide notice of your intent to sue the responsible party. Otherwise, state law allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit for four years if your injury is non-fatal. Slip and fall wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the incident.
Shiner Law Group: Clearwater Slip and Fall Attorneys Near Me
Slip and fall accidents can have serious physical, medical, and emotional consequences. In Clearwater, Florida, the economic and non-economic damages incurred from a slip and fall accident-related injury may be mitigated by compensation awarded by a personal injury claim. Shiner Law Group is here to help you get the monetary damages you deserve. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with the best slip and fall accident lawyers in Clearwater.