Each year, over a million people across the U.S. require emergency room visits due to slip and fall injuries. But in Florida, the Department of Health ranks falls as the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for residents aged 65 or older.
It is also one of the leading causes of occupational injuries, contributing immensely to lost days at work, which translates to lost wages for many individuals.
But aside from the workplace, slip and fall injuries occur at home, in retail stores, construction sites, and even on slippery streets/sidewalks.
The bottom line is that these accidents can result in severe injuries like fractures, head trauma, spinal cord damage, brain injury, internal bleeding, broken bones, and more.
So if another's negligence has injured you, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately.
A qualified Tampa slip and fall injury lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim against the negligent party responsible for your accident to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
The Law Offices of Ryan T. Hughes has successfully represented thousands of clients who suffered severe injuries after being involved in a slip and fall accident.
Our firm has extensive experience handling all types of slip and fall cases, including premises liability claims, construction site accidents, and other types of accidents caused by defective products.
Suppose you seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of income, and other related expenses. In that case, we will assist you with filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
We offer free consultations, so call us today at (727) 266-022 to schedule yours.
What Causes Most Tampa Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents happen when someone trips or loses their balance while walking, running, standing, or moving around. These accidents can occur in different settings due to such reasons as:
- Wet, slippery floors
- Uneven surfaces
- Crumbling pavement
- Loose objects like cables and wires
- Poor lighting conditions
- Unsecured carpets or rugs
- Lack of guardrails
- Unsafe stairways with damaged steps or missing treads
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident due to any of the above factors, contact our Tampa slip and fall lawyers today. We'll review your liability claim carefully, unmask what caused your fall, and locate all parties responsible for your damages.
How Do You Prove Negligence After a Slip and Fall Accident in Florida?
To prove negligence, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached this duty; and that the breach was the actual and proximate cause of your injuries.
To establish negligence, you must prove each of these three elements. In addition, you must provide evidence that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition that resulted in your injuries.
- Duty of Care - This element requires proof that the defendant had a legal obligation to protect you from an unreasonable risk of harm. For example, if a property owner fails to maintain their sidewalk in a safe condition, they owe you a duty of care because they know or should know there is a high probability that you will trip and fall.
- Breach of Duty - This element requires proof of how the defendant failed to meet their duty of care. For example, if the defendant leaves a puddle of water on the floor of a store, they breach their duty of reasonable care by failing to remove the hazard before allowing customers to walk through it.
- Actual Cause - This element requires proof that the defendant's breach of duty caused your injuries. For example, if you tripped over a puddle of water left on the floor of a grocery store, the fact that you fell would not be enough to hold the store liable. You must also prove that the puddle was present long enough for the store employees to notice and clean it up.
Please note: business owners have a heightened duty of care to visitors and customers, otherwise known as "invitees." The business owner must:
- Fix unsafe property conditions like broken stairs, uneven sidewalks, loose handrails, etc.
- Provide clear and adequate warnings about hazards that may take time to fix.
- Make a habit of inspecting the property frequently to identify areas that need fixing.
But is there any exception? You bet! If you were trespassing (entering someone else's property without permission or a business purpose), the owner owes you no duty of care.
However, if you are a licensee, e.g., a guest at a party, the owner owes you a duty to warn you about any dangers in their property that are not obvious.
Who is Responsible for My Slip and Fall Injuries?
If you have suffered severe injuries after slipping and falling, you may wonder who is liable for the damages. Naturally, the property owner owes you the duty of ensuring the property is 100% safe and free from hazards.
But sometimes, the owner is not explicitly responsible, significantly if the circumstances of your injuries differ. Instead, the liability may fall in the hands of tenants, government agencies, subcontractors, etc.
- Tenants. When an owner rents or leases their property (or a portion of it) to a business or someone else, the tenant becomes contractually liable for all accidents within the rented space. For example, suppose a customer slips and falls on a slippery floor inside a restaurant. In that case, the tenant may be held liable because they had the duty to ensure that the premises were reasonably safe.
- Government Agencies. Government agencies such as city, county, state, and federal governments can be held liable for slip-and-fall accidents when they own land or buildings used for public purposes. These include schools, hospitals, courthouses, prisons, parks, and many others. For instance, the city government may be liable for your injuries if a local park has been built with defective concrete.
- Subcontractors. Sometimes, the owner will delegate specific property management duties to a third-party entity. For example, they may subcontract maintenance and security duties to professional service providers. But even so, the owner does not necessarily relieve themselves of the obligation to ensure the property's safety. So if a slip and fall occur, the owner and the subcontractor may share the liability.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Slip and Fall Injury?
When you suffer severe injuries due to another person's negligence, you may be entitled to recover economic, non-economic, and in some cases, punitive damages.
Here is a closer look:
These are objective, quantifiable losses that result directly from your injury. They also comprise out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to your injuries. Examples include:
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Lost wages and capacity to earn in the future
- Therapy and rehab expenses
- Cost of professional/supportive services, e.g., childcare
- Mobility devices and prostheses
- Physician and surgeon fees
These are subjective, non-monetary damages that are more difficult to quantify. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disabilities and physical limitations
- Lost bodily functions
- Lifestyle changes/loss of enjoyment of life
Though Florida tries to limit punitive damages, these awards are still possible. Punitive damages are meant to punish negligent parties and deter them from committing similar acts again.
They may be awarded if the accused party's actions were highly negligent, wanton, intentional, or otherwise egregious.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
After a slip and fall accident, there are several things you should do to ensure you do not compromise the value of your claim. Here is a quick breakdown:
1. Establish the cause of your fall. You want to look around and figure out what caused your fall. Is it a slippery floor? A puddle of water? An uneven sidewalk?
2. Take pictures. It's essential to document everything about your injury. Photographs can show the severity of your injuries and provide proof of the condition of the premises after the incident occurred.
3. Seek medical attention. Ensure you see a doctor immediately following the incident. They can provide valuable information regarding your injuries and treatment.
4. Notify the property owner. Once you have taken care of yourself, contact the property owner and tell them what happened. You can ask someone to tell the property owner about the incident or call the owner at the earliest opportunity.
5. Speak with an attorney. You need a qualified legal representative by your side to help you navigate through this difficult time. An attorney will gather the necessary evidence, negotiate with the at-fault party on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary, ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
While at it, here are some things NOT to do after a sleep and fall accident:
- Do not apologize or admit that the fall was your fault. The person who owns the property where you fell is ultimately responsible for maintaining their premises safely.
- Only sign or say something in your lawyer's presence. More so, you want to refrain from recording any written or oral statement with the at-fault party's insurance, as it may be used against you later down the road.
- Do not shelve seeking medical attention or "tough it up." Sometimes, you may not feel or realize the effect of the slip and fall injury after the accident. But you should immediately see a doctor before you experience severe pain.
- Be sure to speak with an attorney. Navigating the legal system in a slip-and-fall case may be challenging. If you want to fast-track recovery, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.
How Do I File a Claim Against the At-Fault Party?
Suppose you believe the property owner (or any of the parties discussed above) was liable for your slip and fall accident. In that case, you should contact a Tampa slip and fall attorney immediately.
The sooner you do this, the better your chance of recovering compensation for your injuries. The section below provides a step-by-step breakdown of how a qualified attorney can help you file a claim against the responsible party.
Step 1: Initial Consultation and Case Review
A good Tampa slip-and-fall lawyer will explain your legal options and answer your questions during the initial meeting. We will also review your case thoroughly to determine whether it meets the criteria for filing a claim.
This will also allow us to formulate a formidable strategy for pursuing the claim to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
Step 2: Investigation and Gathering Evidence
Once we've determined that your case has merit, our investigators will begin gathering evidence. We aim to prove that the property owner or other responsible party was negligent and caused your injuries.
This includes reviewing surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and taking photographs of the scene.
Step 3: Negotiating Settlement with the Property Owner's Insurance
We will work hard to negotiate an amicable settlement with the property owner's insurance company. Our negotiations will be inspired by the facts surrounding the case and the extent of injuries and damages suffered.
If necessary, we will take your case to trial to seek justice.
Step 4: Filing Your Lawsuit
Our attorneys will handle every aspect of the lawsuit process on your behalf while keeping in touch with you throughout.
From drafting the complaint to serving subpoenas, our lawyers will aggressively pursue your claim and ensure your rights are protected throughout the entire litigation process.
Step 5: Post-Judgment Matters
After the verdict, our team will continue working tirelessly to collect as much money as possible for your injuries. We will also ensure that the judgment is paid promptly so you don't incur additional fees and penalties.
Contact Our Slip and Fall Attorneys Today!
If you've been injured in a Tampa slip-and-fall accident, we can help. The Law Offices of Ryan T. Hughes is a client-focused law firm committed to helping victims of negligence recover the damages they deserve.
Our mission is simple: we offer relentless legal representation and compassionate advocacy to those whose lives have been affected by other parties' careless actions. We take pride in our ability to deliver results while treating each client like family.
So don't suffer silently; contact one of our legal experts today, and let us help you pursue justice and fair compensation for your slip and fall injuries!
Tampa Slip and Fall Accident Injuries FAQs
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim in Florida?
The Florida statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident. That means you must file your claim within two years of the date of the accident to avoid losing your right to sue.
Can I Still Recover Damages If the Other Party Is Blaming Me for My Slip and Fall Accident in Florida?
Yes! Florida subscribes to comparative negligence laws. That means if the other party blames you for your slip and fall injuries, the courts will reduce the amount of money you receive based on how much responsibility you bear for causing the accident.