Did you know that more than 1 million people in the US visit the hospital every year due to a slip and fall accident? Yes, that's right, this type of accident is much more common than you thought.
However, not all victims know they can claim compensation for being injured in a slip-and-fall case on another person's property. Have you been hurt in a slip-and-fall case in Tampa and want to file a lawsuit against the property owner?
While you need a slip-and-fall lawyer to guide you in the right direction, knowing the steps you need to take after any such accident is always advantageous.
To help you out, we have noted everything you need to know about slip and fall accidents in Tampa. Take a look below.
Are Slip And Fall Accidents Common In Tampa?
Unfortunately, yes. As with the rest of the US, slip-and-fall accidents are widespread in Tampa. And these can occur just anywhere. Apartments, offices, hospitals, grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, parking lots, etc. - are among the significant locations where people tend to slip and fall.
However, in case you are injured in slip and fall accidents in Tampa due to the fault or negligence of the property owner, you have the right to demand compensation for your injuries.
But, before doing so, you need to ensure that you were in no way responsible for the accident and had taken all necessary precautions to avoid being injured. Slip and fall accidents can be severe.
Some of the common causes for such mishaps include wet floors, the presence of transitory foreign substances, uneven surfaces, etc.
Of course, if you are lucky, you may be able to get away with some minor injuries like sprains or bruises. But, victims often sustain grave injuries, including torn ligaments, broken bones, muscle strain, concussions, etc.
Slip and fall accidents may also result in brain or spinal cord injuries, leading to paralysis and sometimes even death. Severe injuries sustained from slip-and-fall accidents can take weeks, or even months to heal, often rendering a person incapable of going to work during the said period.
If you have suffered any such gracious injury, getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer is the best way out. These professionals have the expertise to ensure you get the proper compensation to cover all damages.
What You Need To Do After A Slip And Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. And more often than not, the victim may feel overwhelmed by the experience and fail to deal with the situation appropriately.
This is especially true if they have sustained any serious injury. However, this may put them at a disadvantage if they file a lawsuit against the property owner later to get their due compensation.
Therefore, it's beneficial to be aware of the steps to follow in case you experience any such situations. If you aren't sure what to do after getting into a slip-and-fall accident in Tampa, check out the points mentioned below.
1. Get Medical Help
The most important thing to do if you get into a slip-and-fall accident is to assess your injuries and seek medical care. This is especially true if your injuries are severe, as any delay can further deteriorate your condition.
Moreover, delaying your trip to the hospital gives the opponent a chance to use it against you in court. The property owner may bring up that you did not seek immediate medical attention to imply that you did not sustain any severe injuries.
Also, inform your attending doctor that the injuries are due to a slip and fall case, and you would need complete medical documentation.
These records can provide solid evidence when you file a claim and help you get a good compensation amount during negotiations.
2. Collect Evidence
You need evidence to win your compensation lawsuit. Therefore, collecting evidence from the accident scene should be a priority. The first step is to document the scene as it was during the accident via photographs or videos.
Make sure to capture images of any substance or object present on the surface that led to your fall and any visible injuries. This will be convincing evidence in court if your opponent tries to deny their responsibility.
Additionally, you can approach the people who witnessed the accident and collect their contact information if they are willing to testify in court. Their testimony will strengthen your case further.
Of course, if you are seriously injured, it might not be possible to document the scene at the moment. In such cases, you can come back later to collect evidence or ask someone else to do so on your behalf.
3. Avoid Making Any Statements Regarding The Mishap
Ensure to avoid giving any written or recorded statement to the property owner or their insurance company if they contact you after the accident. And under no circumstances should you admit fault for the same.
Being experienced in handling negotiations, the agents from the insurance company may trick you into admitting that you were responsible in part for the accident and use the same statement against you. As a result, you may end up with little or no compensation.
4. Get In Touch With A Reliable Slip-And-Fall Lawyer
Once you are done with the necessary medical treatment, the next step is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to take up your case. These professionals can help determine whether your case qualifies for a slip and fall claim and advise you on the steps you need to take.
From handling all the necessary documentation for the case to assisting you in collecting and compiling evidence in your favor - a professional personal injury attorney can help make your life easier.
Are Property Owners Considered Liable For Slip And Fall Accidents In Tampa?
Property owners will be considered liable for any injuries on their premises as long as it can be proved that the accident was preventable and occurred due to the negligence of the former.
In the case of private properties, the property owner is responsible for warning you about potential hazards on their property that you may need to be made aware of as a visitor.
This responsibility is more important for businesses (grocery stores, retail outlets, etc.), as these entities earn a profit due to your visit.
The owners of such properties are expected to regularly check their premises for any potential hazards and take the necessary steps to fix them in time. And if they cannot fix the issue immediately, they are required to warn any visitors about the safety issue.
In case the property owner fails to inform you about the hazard and gets into a slip-and-fall accident due to it, they can be held liable for the same and need to compensate you for your injuries.
Damages You Can Recover By Filing A Slip And Fall Claim In Tampa
Getting into slip-and-fall accidents in Tampa doesn't only cause physical injuries - victims may also experience mental trauma due to the incident.
However, contacting a reliable slip-and-fall lawyer can help, as these professionals can help you get the compensation you deserve. You can recover damages for the expenses you incurred and the trauma and suffering you have endured.
An experienced lawyer can help you recover both economic and non-economic damages such as the following:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future wages lost due to the accident
- Pain and suffering caused
- Compensation for disfigurement or permanent scarring
- Any permanent disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning potential
What You Need To Prove To Win A Slip-And-Fall Claim
To win your slip-and-fall case, you need reasonable proof to contend that the property or business owner was at fault.
If the accident weren't preventable, the property owner wouldn't be liable to provide any compensation.
According to Florida laws, you can claim compensation from the property owners on the grounds of negligence.
However, if you were partly responsible for the accident, it will be attributed as a contributory fault, and your compensation amount may be reduced proportionately.
To simplify, if you get a compensation amount of $50000 but are found to be 50% responsible for the same, your final amount will be diminished by half.
But, to claim compensation on the grounds of negligence, your lawyer will have to establish the following:
- The property owner had a duty of care toward the victim.
- There was a breach of this duty of care - the owner's actions led to the accident, or they failed to take the steps necessary to prevent the mishap.
- This breach directly led to the slip-and-fall accident.
- You suffered damages due to the accident.
Suppose the accident occurs due to any transitory foreign substance within the premises of a business. In that case, the case will be governed by Florida's statute on transitory foreign substances in a business establishment.
To claim compensation, the victim needs to provide circumstantial evidence in favor of the following:
- The dangerous condition that led to the accident existed long enough for the business to be aware of it under the regular exercise of their duty of care
- The said condition was a regular occurrence and was hence foreseeable
A capable personal injury lawyer can help you understand the laws that govern your particular case and assist you in filing your claim.
How Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Help
Victims of slip-and-fall accidents often don't have the legal knowledge to file a case alone. Therefore, hiring a legal representative is crucial to ensure all legal proceedings are taken care of in time.
Here is how a personal injury lawyer can assist you.
Help You Figure Out The Right Compensation Amount
A personal injury lawyer can go through the details of your case and the associated evidence to help you determine the damages you can claim from the responsible party.
They can help you determine the right compensation amount to claim and file the lawsuit accordingly.
Can Deal With The Insurance Company On Your Behalf
Your lawyer can help deal with the responsible party's insurance company in case they are open for negotiation. It is only advisable to agree to meet with the insurance company's representatives in the presence of a lawyer.
These representatives may trick you into accepting that you were partly at fault for the accident or offer a more minor compensation than you deserve. But having a lawyer by your side can help you avoid this.
Being well experienced in handling such cases, they can help you get a sizeable compensation amount that covers all the economic and non-economic damages you face.
Help Prepare You For The Trial
A slip-and-fall lawyer can help collect evidence for you and provide guidance that would prepare you for the trial in case the negotiations fail.
They can take care of all the necessary paperwork and compile all the evidence to ensure you have a strong case ready before the trial.
As slip and fall accidents are relatively common in Tampa, being aware of your rights can significantly help if you face such an unfortunate incident.
Irrespective of your injury, it is advisable to always get in touch with a capable personal injury lawyer to determine if you have the right to claim compensation from the responsible party.