Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyers
Nearly all of us are embarrassed when we fall in public. We often feel like everyone is watching us and feeling foolish. Too often, however, these falls are the result of negligence on behalf of the property owner.
We have all done foolish things like not watching where we are going, but most often, a slip and fall accident takes place because a property owner did not put a warning sign up on an uneven surface, failed to warn a visitor about a wet spot on the floor despite a persistent leak, or they failed to properly repair a damaged carpet.
These accidents can lead to serious injury. If you were a victim of this type of accident, contact a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accident attorney at the Levin Firm immediately for advice.
Injuries That Commonly Occur in Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accidents
Fall injuries can occur anywhere and the injuries can vary greatly depending on the fall. A victim’s age, the distance of the fall, and the surface upon which the victim lands will all play a factor in the types of injuries as well as the severity of the injury.
Some common injuries include:
- Broken bones – Falls can cause legs, hips, and pelvis fractures regardless of a person’s health. Landing on a hard surface is always painful and when you wind up hitting a floor or cement hard, the chances of breaking a bone are high.
- Back and neck injuries – Because slip and fall accidents are nearly always unexpected, a victim often has no opportunity to react defensively to halt their fall. This often means the twisting of their body can result in back and neck injuries which can be very painful.
- Head injuries – When a victim falls, they may strike their head on the surface where they land, or on an immovable object on the way down. This can result in serious head injuries including cuts to the head or scalp, brain injury, and even a fractured skull.
Regardless of whether you think your injuries are serious or not, you should seek medical care following a slip and fall accident. The simple act of falling can result in serious injury which you may not be aware of for a few days following a fall. Victims often think they have only bruised themselves only to learn they have soft tissue damage on their back, limbs, or the trunk of their body.
Holding Someone Accountable for a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accident
When a property owner has constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition, they must address it immediately. Repairing a defect does not have to occur immediately but if a property owner becomes aware of a defect which could result in a slip and fall accident, they do have a duty to warn.
Constructive knowledge is defined as “…knowledge of a particular fact, circumstance or set of facts or circumstances which could be obtained by exercising the degree of care which a person of ordinary diligence would exercise in the same or similar circumstances;”. Ignoring a defect would result in the property owner being liable for your injury.
One of the primary reasons why it is important to work with an experienced Fort Lauderdale attorney following a slip and fall accident is they may investigate to determine when the defect originally occurred and what steps were taken, if any, to mitigate the risk to others.
What Steps to Take Following a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accident
Regardless of how embarrassed you may feel following any type of slip and fall accident, you should make sure you notify the property owner you have fallen and potentially injured yourself. This act will put the property owner on notice that a defect exists if they are not already aware of the problem. Additionally, this will provide you with the documentation you need should you need to seek compensation for your injuries.
If possible, you should take photographs of the area where the fall occurred. Too often, someone falls on a property and the owner scrambles to repair the defect so there is no proof it existed in the first place. Make sure you document the date and location of the accident and take any photos which may be appropriate. If there were any witnesses to your fall, you should ask for their contact information as well.
Finally, you need to seek medical attention. Too often, people are so rattled after a fall, and they do feel foolish they often overlook the signals their body may be giving them which could indicate they are more seriously injured than they think. Remember, your body is flooded with hormones following any type of accident that can mask injuries and symptoms of injuries. Seek medical care from an emergency room or your personal care physician.
Filing Insurance Claims Following a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall
When you fall on someone else’s property, you may file an insurance claim with their carrier to be reimbursed for your out-of-pocket costs. Medical care, prescription pain killers, and time lost from work may be compensable from the insurer. However, do not be surprised if the insurance company denies your claim!
Should this occur, you need to seek guidance immediately from an accident injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale. While you may not think you need to seek the assistance of a lawyer, it is a good idea to do so to protect your rights. While the insurance company must allow you to appeal their decision, generally if you do so without seeking legal guidance you will not get far.
Keep in mind, both the property owner and the insurance company have a vested interest in denying your claim. For the property owner, they may be looking at an increase in their insurance premium because a claim is paid. For the insurance company, paying a claim hurts their bottom line. Never forget that claims adjusters are not there to help you personally—they have one goal in mind which is to look out for the interest of their employer, the insurance company. Having an attorney to serve as your advocate allows your voice to be heard.
Benefits of a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney in Slip and Fall Cases
You may think you can handle your slip and fall case on your own. After all, the facts are clear—you were on someone’s property and you fell and suffered an injury. The problem with this type of thinking is you do not necessarily have the experience and legal knowledge necessary to prove liability. Insurers fully know that most laypeople do not know their rights, and they are going to aggressively pursue every available option to avoid paying your claim in full or paying it at all.
Common tactics insurers will use include:
- Blame the victim – This is a common tactic regardless of the circumstances of your accident. You may have been talking to someone when you slipped, and the insurer will claim that your inattentiveness was responsible for your fall.
- Preexisting condition – Another common tactic is to say you had a preexisting injury that was exacerbated but not caused by your slip and fall accident. This is especially common when someone suffers a back injury after a slip and fall accident in Fort Lauderdale.
Seeking guidance from an attorney before speaking to an insurance adjuster can help protect you from some tactics insurers will use to discredit your claim. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask specific questions to solicit answers which will reduce the amount of liability an insurer has following a slip and fall accident. Insurers may also ask you to sign a medical information release form—if you are not careful about the fine print, you may be releasing more information than they need to validate your claim. Your Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer can review any documents the insurance company asks you to sign to make sure you are not sacrificing your rights.
Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Frequently Asked Questions
Clients often have some specific questions about what to expect following a slip and fall accident. Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions.
How difficult is it to prove a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall claim?
Slip and fall claims can be challenging because as previously mentioned, the property owner must have constructive knowledge of the defect which resulted in your injury. Your attorney will take the time to determine the cause of your fall, what type of hazard existed, for how long the hazard existed, and whether the property owner was making reasonable attempts to keep the property maintained. This can often be done by checking business records, security tape footage, and witness statements.
Where am I most likely to suffer a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall injury?
In Fort Lauderdale, we need not worry about snow and ice given the warmer temperatures the area enjoys year-round. However, rain can result in slick floors and other hazards. Other places where a victim may have a slip and fall accident include malls, amusement parks, restaurants, and grocery stores to name a few. Anyplace where liquids are in use regularly, or where there is a swimming pool—such as a hotel—the potential for a slip and fall accident increase.
What is the typical compensation awarded for a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall injury?
One of the most difficult questions an attorney is asked is about compensation. Even when an attorney has a proven track record of securing high compensation for victims of Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accidents, there is never an easy answer—nor is there a guarantee of success.
However, in most cases, your lawyer will fight for compensation based on:
- The extent of your injuries – The more serious the injury, the more likely you are to get a reasonable settlement. A victim who suffers a brain injury is likely to collect more than someone who breaks their arm which makes sense since the recovery times are vastly different.
- Medical treatment costs – If you need only short-term medical care following a broken bone you are still entitled to be fully reimbursed for all costs. This includes the cost of medical tests, pain medication, trips to and from the doctor, and any treatment you receive. If your injury is so severe you will require ongoing care, this will be taken into consideration as well.
- Lost current and future income – Victims of a slip and fall accident who are out of work a few weeks suffer financially. Those who suffer a serious injury may be out of work for several weeks, months, or can’t return to work at all. This will be part of the damages your attorney will seek on your behalf.
Victims of slip and fall accidents should discuss all potential costs with their attorney who will help them determine the appropriate settlement amount. Before you accept any settlement, make sure you have a full picture of what your expenses will be if your health will be compromised for an extended period following a slip and fall accident.
Do I need a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, and if I do, how do I pay for one since I am out of work?
You do need a lawyer following a slip and fall accident. You do not want to be taken advantage of by an insurance company, and you want to get the maximum amount of compensation you can collect. A lawyer will serve as your advocate and fight on your behalf.
One of the primary concerns for a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall victim is how they go about paying for a lawyer when they are out of work. There is good news on that front—first, you will have a free consultation with an attorney who will thoroughly review your case with you. Once the consultation is over, the lawyer will explain your legal options to you and help you decide which option is best suited for your needs and the needs of your family.
Should you decide to follow through on hiring the lawyer, in nearly all cases, the lawyer will work on a contingency basis. What this means is that unless and until they can secure a settlement on your behalf, you are not expected to pay any legal fees.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyers Today
If you have suffered an injury due to a slip and fall accident in Fort Lauderdale, contact The Levin Firm today at (954) 715-3260 and see what a difference an experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall law firm representing you can make.