Table of Contents
Without question, the principle of keeping one’s property safe for visitors and guests is universal. A property owner is responsible for making sure reasonable precautions are taken to avoid bodily injury to others. Florida’s personal injury laws are clear in their intent. When owners or tenants fail to provide and maintain a safe property, the health and safety of visitors is compromised. If you, or a family member, has been injured on someone else’s property because of a dangerous condition, you need a personal injury law firm.
The Time Span Of A Slip and Fall Accident Case
How long does it take to initiate and settle a slip and fall case? There is no simple or definitive answer to this question. Moving right to the bottom line, the answer is “As long as it takes to do it right.” It is a time-consuming process, and one of the most complicated in personal injury law. There is no legal yardstick to measure the length and breadth of a slip and fall. Is it worth the time and effort to invest months, maybe years, on a case? It depends on the circumstances of each individual incident. At the Shiner Law Group, we understand the scope of the financial, physical, and emotional losses our clients endure in this situation. We stand firm on the premise of each family being made as financially as whole as possible. Justice should never take a backseat to expediency. We take the time to ask the right questions.
The Scope Of Slip And Fall Injuries
It makes no difference if you were invited on to the property, a tenant on the property, and under certain circumstances, even trespassing on the property, you have a legal right to be safe. Following a slip and fall accident, remember injuries are both objective and subjective, Visible damages (lacerations, obviously broken bones)is are immediately apparent and an undeniable piece of evidence. On the other hand, subjective findings such as ongoing pain, limited range of motion, and psychological damage often take longer to investigate, and most importantly, much longer to accurately estimate the full financial impact for the plaintiff and their family.
The Medical Evaluation Process
Seeking immediate medical treatment is crucial following a personal injury accident. A medical report can substantiate the injury, explain how the damage stemmed from the fall, and validate the fall is responsible for any pain and suffering. Because medical records are a definitive link between the victim’s injuries and the incident, they can be critical in determining compensation. Points of interest contained in an emergency room and physician’s reports include:
- Initial diagnosis
- Recommended treatment
- Prescriptions issued
- Radiology reports
- Patient’s medical expenses
- Physician’s correspondence to the patient and other medical providers
- Preexisting conditions exacerbated by the injury
- Out-of-pocket costs
A personal injury case cannot be closed while treatment is ongoing.
According to HIPAA guidelines, medical records should be released within 30 days of the request. Securing medical records, from all providers and facilities, can take several months.
The Causes Of Slip And Fall Accidents
Slip and fall cases are, in fact, premises liability cases, and unquestionably complicated. A few of the main causes of such accidents are :
- Floor hazards
- Broken walkways, sidewalks, and stairs
- Poor or insufficient lighting
- Lack of adequate security
- Missing or broken handrails on stairwells
- Obstructions in the walkway
- Poorly maintained, wet, or slippery floors
- Debris on floors, walkways, or parking lots
- Poor construction
- Defective materials
- Building code violations
Why are these cases so difficult to win? For the most part, there is a lack of definitive evidence to substantiate what must be proven:
- Who is responsible for the condition and maintenance of the property?
- Was there, in fact, a dangerous condition?
- Who knew about it?
- Did the victim have a legal right to be on the property?
The law mandates that buildings, parking lots, public gathering places, apartment complexes, and walkways be properly maintained to ensure everyone’s safety. Working together with our clients and investigators, our attorneys gather data to support a claim. The intent is to clarify and verify all evidence available at the time and uncover any impactful information that may have been overlooked, such as:
- Security camera footage
- OSHA or city inspection reports
- Maintenance logs or schedules
So to answer the question, are slip and fall accidents hard to win? Yes, they are. We are not afraid of hard work. We believe each and every client deserves stellar legal representation and the best possible financial outcome. We have what it takes, for as long as it takes, and collectively we are a force to be reckoned with.
Dealing With Insurance Carriers
Without a doubt, insurance claim adjusters are skilled investigators, trained and focused on saving money for the companies they represent. The insurance adjuster may attack your credibility, question the validity of your injuries, and accuse you of being responsible. Feigning concern for your well-being they may offer a quick settlement. They count on your need for immediate cash flow. The goal of the insurance carrier is to settle the issue as soon as possible for the least amount of money. Their prime focus is to stay out of court. At the Shiner Law Group, we are poised and ready to stand toe to toe with the large insurance companies. Every case is different and going to trial is not a guarantee of success.
Pain and Suffering in Slip and Fall Cases
There are many layers to consider in a slip and fall accident. The physical damage can be devastating, the financial burden is often staggering, and the emotional toll touches a whole family.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Hip fracture
- Soft tissue injury
- Sprains and lacerations
- Spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
The Centers For Disease Control tells us “Every second of every day an older adult (age 65*) suffers a fall in the United States.”
35% of brain injuries are caused from a fall (The Brain Alliance of Kentucky)
The financial cost of a slip and fall
In addition to lost wages, loss of future earnings, current, and future medical expenses, financial compensation may be justifiable for:
- The cost of job training
- Specialized home care
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Necessary adaptive equipment
- Modifications to the home
The emotional impact of a slip and fall accident
Mental anguish is a very real side effect of personal trauma. A medical diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder come equipped with diagnostic codes (ICD-10 codes) recognized by the insurance industry. These symptoms are real and compensable if they are a result of someone’s negligence. When verified by medical experts and attested to by witness statements the following symptoms carry a lot of weight in determining compensation:
- Excessive worry
- Self-imposed social isolation
- Uncontrollable crying
- Humiliation as a result of a disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
There is often a significant shift in the family dynamic and structure after one member suffers an injury. One spouse may be forced to take on additional responsibility, roles, and relationships change, and the standard of living can be altered dramatically.
To Sum It Up
Whether we are talking about a few months or a few years, the length of time, from incident to resolution, in a slip and fall accident case will depend on:
- How quickly a plaintiff hires a personal injury attorney
- The extent of physical, emotional, and financial loss
- The exploration of future expenses
- The straightforwardness of the investigative process
- The availability of expert witnesses or reconstruction experts
- The outcome of negotiations
- The court’s calendar
A slip and fall accident is an unexpected trauma, caused by someone’s negligence. Seeking fair and just compensation is a process that plays out in real-time. Due to the many facets and components of a personal injury case, and the Florida statute of limitations, there is a real sense of urgency to begin the process sooner than later. Contact our legal team if you or your family need guidance and direction concerning a slip and fall personal injury accident.
We offer a no-cost case evaluation, and if you choose to become a client you pay no legal fee unless we make a recovery for you. We have four locations (Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Stuart, and Fort Pierce.) For your convenience, we offer video conferencing and document delivery. We are ready to be of service to your family. You can reach us 24/7 at (561) 777-7700 or by filling out our online consultation request.