Many people are injured on residential and commercial properties in Florida yearly through slip and fall accidents. While some of these accidents result in nothing more than a few bumps and bruises, others cause serious injuries. These injuries may require significant medical attention.
More than that, they could result in the need to take a leave of absence from work as you recover. In severe situations, long-term disability or even death may result.
Depending on the circumstances, you may initially blame your own clumsiness or inattention to the incident. For example, you may not have noticed a puddle of water in the middle of the floor. However, property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for all who visit it.
In some cases, their negligence to this important duty may have contributed to your accident. For example, they may not have fixed a plumbing leak, marked the wet spot properly, or wiped away the moisture.
If you have been involved in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident recently, rest assured that you may have legal recourse available. Speaking with a Naples slip and fall lawyer today, you can explore your legal options in detail.
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Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Naples, FL
A wet spot on a floor is only one of many causes of slip and fall accidents. Property owners must actively monitor their properties for potentially dangerous situations. More than that, they must take steps to correct the issue or to properly mark the hazard so that it is obvious and can be avoided by visitors to the property. What of the many other causes of slip and fall incidents that you should be aware of?
- Potholes in parking lots
- Uneven surfaces on sidewalks and driveways
- Torn carpeting or uneven hard floor surfaces
- Inadequate lighting
- Recently cleaned or waxed floors
- Stairs and railings in poor condition
- Inadequate warning signs
- Debris, such as glass or food, on the floor
- Litter on walkways
- Loose mats and area rugs
These are all issues that can result in a significant fall, and these are also issues that the property owner could mitigate. You may have legal recourse if your slip and fall accident is related to these or other situations. Your slip and fall attorney will take the time to learn about your case and can advise about your legal options for obtaining financial recourse.
Seeking Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your slip and fall accident may have resulted in tremendous medical bills. These may be bills for an emergency room visit, overnight hotel stays and treatment, outpatient visits, physical therapy, surgery, medication, and more.
Expenses can mount quickly, and these expenses may be combined with the inability to work while recovering. Loss of income paired with unexpected medical expenses can put you into a financial tailspin when you should be focused on recovering from your injuries.
During a slip and fall injury case, the financial impact of the accident will be analyzed closely. Medical bills, prescription receipts, pay slips, and other documentation will be considered. Through your slip and fall accident case, you may also be able to obtain financial compensation for pain and suffering.
During an initial consultation with your Naples slip and fall lawyer, your attorney will analyze all aspects of your case upfront. Through this initial process, you can learn more about the compensation that may be available to you through a personal injury case.
Proving Fault in a Naples Slip and Fall Injury Case
To win your personal injury lawsuit, your attorney must prove a few important factors to show that the property owner was at fault for the accident. First, you must be on the property legally. For residential properties, for example, you should be a guest the property owner has invited to enter the premises.
You must be on the premises for commercial properties because of designated business activities. Remember that government entities may be liable in a slip and fall injury case. For example, a government department may have failed to maintain a park in a safe condition adequately, and this could have resulted in your injury.
Second, your attorney must prove that the property owner was negligent of the circumstances leading up to the accident. For example, he or she may have failed to repair or fix a known issue.
Until that issue was addressed properly, the property should have taken steps to safeguard visitors to the property. For example, he or she should have created signage to mark the hazard in a clear and obvious way. Otherwise, the area of concern should have been made off-limits to visitors. One example of this would be blocking access to a damaged staircase.
An important aspect of your slip and fall injury case involves identifying who is at fault and proving negligence. During your consultation with your Naples slip and fall attorney, he or she will actively review the circumstances of the case.
You can then learn about the strength of your case and any additional documentation necessary to build the strongest case possible.
Building Your Personal Injury Case
Whether your slip and fall injury case is settled outside the courtroom or decided before a judge and jury, you and your attorney must build a strong case. Proving negligence is one important aspect associated with building your case, but there are other factors to consider.
For example, you may need to prove that the injuries were sustained at the time of the accident and that the medical care you received was reasonable.
You may also need to prove that you could not return to work for the specified time period. This may mean proving that you followed recommended treatment plans promptly and attended all scheduled doctor appointments.
You and your attorney can pull together several related documents to build your case. For example, the hospital and doctors you were treated by will have your medical records on file. You may even ask your doctor to offer expert witness testimony on your behalf.
Introducing photos or videos of the scene may also be effective. Even if you did not take photos and video footage, someone else might have captured the area or your actual accident. If the owner has not already repaired it, it may also be possible to go back to the scene, such as to get a photograph of a pothole.
What to Do After a Naples, FL Slip and Fall Accident
Immediately after a slip and fall accident, you may be overcome by pain and trauma from your injury. However, if you remember, ask someone nearby to document the scene by taking videos and photos on your behalf.
If you are at a place of business, you should immediately notify the business owner or property owner of the incident. Businesses should have procedures in place for documenting the accident. Ensure that these procedures are followed, and obtain a copy of the accident report, if one has been prepared.
Several people may be critical to building your case. One of these is the property owner or business manager. Obtain the names and contact information of these individuals. Eyewitnesses to the accident may also be essential for building a strong slip nd fall case. It can be easy to lose track of witnesses after you leave the scene, so ensure that you obtain their contact information as soon as possible.
It is also important to document your injuries as soon as possible. For example, you may need to call an ambulance to the scene for immediate emergency treatment. Otherwise, you should visit the emergency room as soon as possible to diagnose your injuries.
The emergency room’s staff members may run various tests and complete imaging. For example, blood and urine tests may be performed, and MRIs, X-rays, and other imaging may be completed. In some cases, an injured person may be admitted to the hospital for observation, surgery, or other types of treatment. Obtain records and imaging results for all of the treatments that you received.
You should also carefully document any ongoing or follow-up care you receive outside a hospital. Ensure that you keep copies of all bills.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the circumstances after being the victim of an injury accident. Suppose you have the wherewithal to think about these factors on the scene. In that case, you can ask someone you are with to assist with documenting the scene and ensure all necessary documentation and contact information are obtained.
Laws Related to Slip and Fall Cases
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Florida is four years. This means that your lawsuit must be filed within this time period, or you will not have any legal recourse. Because memories can get fuzzy and evidence can be lost over time, it is important to file your slip and fall injury case as soon as possible.
In addition to paying attention to the statute of limitations, your attorney must prove negligence in the case. Your Naples slip and fall attorney must present and prove several factors to meet the legal threshold for negligence.
Your attorney needs to prove that the property owner had a duty of care to you. This means that he or she was responsible for creating a safe environment for visitors to the property.
The attorney also needs to show that the owner did not perform up to that duty in full and that you were injured due to that breach of duty. Finally, the lawyer must prove specific injuries resulting from that breach of duty. To win your personal injury lawsuit, these elements must be successfully proven in court.
Speak With A Naples Slip and Fall Lawyer Today To Discuss Your Accident Details
At Shiner Law Group, our team of attorneys is ready to fight for your rights in a court of law. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, your next step is to schedule a free consultation with our legal team. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation at Shiner Law Group.