Fort Lauderdale Slip & Fall Attorney
Serving Florida since 1981
Slip or trip and fall accidents can occur in malls, food courts, supermarkets, hotels, theme parks, office buildings, apartment buildings, parking lots, underground parking garages and a wide range of other types of properties. You may slip and fall because of spilled produce in a grocery store and the failure of employees to timely clean up the aisles. You may be injured in a trip and fall in a parking lot because of inadequate lighting, loose or cracked pavement, crooked bumpers or a range of other dangers. Or you may suffer severe injuries when slippery pool tiles cause you or your child to fall.
At Boone & Davis, Attorneys at Law, our Fort Lauderdale slip & fall attorneys have extensive experience helping injured victims in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida. When a property owner is negligent and you sustain injuries in a trip or slip and fall accident, we help you recover the compensation you need through skilled and highly accessible representation.
Slip and fall accidents in Fort Lauderdale
At Boone and Davis, our Fort Lauderdale slip & fall attorneys provide the dedicated assistance you need to obtain compensation for injuries sustained in slip and trip and fall accidents caused by all types of dangerous or defective property conditions, including:
Common slip and fall injuries
Trip or slip and fall injuries are often much more serious than people realize. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in adults of all ages in the United States. Falls can cause whiplash, herniated discs and other spine and back injuries, broken hips, and all types of broken limbs, including broken ankles caused by twisting in a fall and broken wrists or carpal tunnel syndrome resulting from the impact of your hand when you try to break your fall. These injuries often result in costly medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and significant pain and suffering. Severe fall injuries may cause ongoing pain or even a permanent disability. Our personal injury lawyers understand what long-lasting effects a fall can have on your life, and we work hard to ensure that you are fully compensated by the negligent party.
Some injuries take a while to appear. This is particularly true of head or back injuries, which might not cause any pain for a day or two. However, it is wrong to assume that you are “okay” following a tumble simply because you are not gritting your teeth in agony. To ensure the best recovery possible, we recommend that all accident victims visit the hospital as soon as possible to be checked out by a physician.
How to strengthen your claim for compensation
A slip and fall case might be relatively straightforward in a few situations. But, more often than not, many retailers will aggressively deny responsibility for the accident. Some of the larger big box stores have loss departments that employ dozens of people and handle thousands of claims for the company. These larger companies also hire countless lawyers to help them fight off claims for compensation.
Anyone injured in a slip or trip and fall must immediately begin collecting evidence for their claim. Admittedly, this can be hard, especially if you were seriously injured in the accident. You might lay on the floor and cry in pain until an ambulance comes to pick you up. However, we encourage people to do the following, if they can:
- Take a picture of the hazard that caused you to trip or slip. You can use your cell phone or ask someone else at the scene to take a picture for you. In some extreme cases, stores actually deny that there was any hazard, so we need photographic evidence.
- Get the names of anyone who saw you slip or trip. Try to get contact information as well. Your attorney might interview them just to find out what they saw, if anything. Witnesses can easily disappear, especially in a city as large as Fort Lauderdale.
- Notify the store of the fall and the hazard so that they can protect other people. Also get the names of whoever you spoke to.
- Visit the hospital soon after the incident. You want to create a paper trail that documents the severity of your injuries.
- Remember to follow your doctor’s orders for proper treatment. If you’re told to stay off your feet, for example, then do that. Any failure on your part could contribute to injuries.
These are some of the more common-sense things people can do before reaching out to an attorney and discussing their claim.
What we can do to help after your injury
When you are injured in any premises liability accident, our attorneys have the skills, experience and resources to help you pursue your claim. Using our legal knowledge and our network of experts, we help to build a case for negligence against the responsible parties. We listen carefully to your claim, fully investigate your accident and help you obtain the appropriate medical care and documentation. We fully explain your rights, your responsibilities and whether there may be any limitations in your case. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident caused by spilled milk in a grocery store, you may not be able to recover compensation if you slipped immediately after the spill occurred. However, by gathering grocery store security footage, witness testimony and other evidence, we help you prove when a store employee was negligent and failed to mop up the spill in a timely manner.
Myths about slip and fall claims
If you’re searching the internet for information, you might come across some wild claims online. Remember, anyone can put anything on the web—that doesn’t make it true. The people who write these articles might not even be lawyers who practice in this field. Below, we look at some of the more common myths:
Myth #1: A store is immune from a lawsuit if they put up a “Wet Floor” sign. Actually, it depends on the circumstances. Putting up a sign or a cone like this might be enough for a store to protect themselves, but we must look at all the facts of the case.
Myth #2: You can’t sue if you were looking at your phone when you fall. This is another partial truth you might have read online. True, Florida recognizes comparative fault. This means that the victim’s negligence is always a consideration. And walking with your nose in your phone is pretty careless (even if it is a common occurrence). However, a victim’s negligence must be compared to the property owner’s negligence, and a victim’s financial recovery gets reduced by their proportion of fault for the accident.
Myth #3: You can only sue businesses, not private citizens. Actually, you can sue any property owner if you slip and fall or trip and fall on their property because of a hazard. We can even sue government entities if the public property is not reasonably maintained. A private property owner might have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance which can pay out a claim.
Myth #4: If the property is rented, you can’t sue the renter. Not true! There is always a question about who is legally responsible for the upkeep of the property. It might be the person whose name is on the deed, or it could be a tenant or property management company. Let your Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney figure out the correct person to sue.
Avoid common mistakes with a slip & fall claim
Our priority is ensuring that our clients receive as much compensation as they are legally entitled to for their medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, some people make simple mistakes which end up costing them valuable compensation. This is a difficult time, and you are probably worried about money. A concussion, for example, can keep someone out of work for months at a time and increase the stress on their family. In these types of situations, it is very easy to make a rash decision you will later regret.
For example, never agree to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster or an employee of the store where you fell. Yes, there may come a time later where you will tell your side of the story. But the store and its insurance agents are only digging for information to use to their advantage. As mentioned above, Florida is a comparative fault state. So if the store can pin some of the blame on you for falling, they can reduce the amount of compensation they end up paying.
When someone is in pain, it’s easy to make a statement you later regret. Instead, contact a Fort Lauderdale slip & fall attorney to review the incident.
Another mistake some victims make is to quickly accept a settlement. Even if the amount seems fair, you should discuss your claim with a lawyer. Most lay people have no idea how much a claim is really worth. And remember: every settlement offer comes with a catch. If you sign on the dotted line to accept the settlement, you also agree to not sue the defendant in the future for more money. This is all you are getting, regardless of the seriousness of your injuries.
How stores defend against slip & fall claims
Stores can raise many defenses to get out of paying compensation to slip and fall or trip and fall victims. Some common defenses are:
- The hazard was open and obvious so the owner didn’t need to warn visitors of it. An example: a big hole in the ground of your neighbor’s property. What’s considered “open and obvious,” however, is up for debate. Is it really obvious that there is cracked paving, freshly mopped floors, or spilled liquids in an aisle? Some hazards are not visible until you are right up on them.
- The store did not have knowledge of the hazard. Imagine that someone drops a gallon of milk in the grocery store aisle. The store needs to know it’s on the ground before they can clean it up. Of course, sometimes a business will have “constructive knowledge,” which might exist if the hazard has been on the floor for a long time.
- The property owner didn’t have time to fix the hazard. Once they know of a hazard, they need a reasonable amount of time to fix it. For example, a bad storm might tear leaves and limbs off a tree. It’s not reasonable to expect a property owner to go out in the howling wind and clean up the ground. But the next morning once the storm departs? Yes.
As mentioned above, stores can also try to minimize liability by arguing a victim contributed to the accident or failed to mitigate their damages by following a doctor’s orders. When large sums of money are at issue, we can expect stores to pull out all the stops to minimize their financial exposure.
Contact our Fort Lauderdale slip & fall attorneys today for reliable help after a slip or trip and fall accident
When property owners are negligent, our lawyers at Boone & Davis, Attorneys at Law use their more than 40 years of experience to help you obtain the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. As part of our commitment to helping the injured, we never charge fees — not even for our expenses — until we win an award or settlement for you. To speak with a dedicated Fort Lauderdale slip & fall attorney, contact us online or call 954-566-9919 today.