Orlando Slip & Fall Lawyer
They may not seem like a serious form of trauma, but slip and falls kill thousands of people every year, and injure hundreds of thousands more. In fact, slips, trips, and falls are the second leading cause of accidental death, second to motor vehicle collisions, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They cause 15 percent of all accidental fatalities, and millions of serious injuries such as bone fractures, torn ligaments, traumatic brain injuries, contusions, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, and serious sprains. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a poor walking surface, contact an experienced Orlando slip & fall lawyer today.
Slip and fall accidents can be a scary and jarring experience. If you are hurt in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, it is important to understand your rights to compensation and the legal complexities of a premises liability case. At The Pendas Law Firm, our slip & fall lawyers in Orlando have helped a number of clients with their slip and fall cases and can provide you with top tier legal representation for your personal injury needs.
Slip and fall cases fall under a legal doctrine known as premises liability. Property owners and occupiers in Florida have a duty to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions for anyone who may visit the property. This applies to stores, restaurants, bars, malls, movie theaters, amusement parks, apartment buildings, single family homes, and more. For business invitees, property owners must protect visitors from slip and falls caused by hazards they knew or should have reasonably known about if they would routinely inspect the property. For licensees, property owners must exercise reasonable care to prevent slip and falls from dangerous conditions and inform visitors of any hazards. For trespassers, property owners must not create hazardous conditions, and one common example of this is an illegal trip wire trap on a home when the owner is not present.
Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Claims in Florida
A statute of limitations is a cap on the amount of time that a party has to bring forth a civil action after an injury has occurred. The statute of limitations is in place for multiple reasons, including protecting defendants from unfair litigation and improving the chances that evidence is reasonably preserved. It is very important that a claim is initiated as early as possible in Florida, both to ensure that it is brought within the statute of limitations, and to the reduce the risk that pertinent evidence is destroyed or lost.
The statute of limitations for slip and fall, and all other premises liability cases, in Florida is four years from the date of the accident. If filed afterward the statute of limitations has expired, the court can throw out your lawsuit for personal injury damages. The same time limit applies for any lawsuit filed to recover property damages caused by the slip and fall, as well.
A Serious Slip and Fall Accident Can Change Your Life
If a person experiences a serious slip, trip, or/and fall accident, they are at risk of suffering a number of different injury types, many of which are severe and may have long-term consequences. The severity of a slip and fall accident is influenced by many different things, including the height from which the victim falls, the surface upon which the fall happens (harder surfaces are associated with more serious injuries), the angle of the fall, and the health and wellbeing of the victim (for example, older adults are more likely to be seriously injured in a slip and fall accident due to their fragility).
Types of injuries that may result from a slip and fall accident include:
- Traumatic brain or head injury;
- Back or spine injury;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Injuries to extremities;
- Superficial injuries, such as bruises and cuts; and
- Bone fracture injuries.
It is possible for some of these injuries, namely traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, to cause long-term complications for affected persons. To be sure, a traumatic brain injury can affect thinking, learning, language, sensation, emotion, and more for a person’s life, and a spinal cord injury can result in complete or partial, but always permanent, paralysis.
When a person suffers a slip and fall that leads to disability or impairment, especially long-term, they may not only suffer high medical expenses, but also a loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages and the inability to work and earn and income, depression and other psychological harm, a strain on their personal relationships, and more.
Compensation for Slip and Falls
The victim of a slip and fall accident may be entitled to both economic and noneconomic damages for the injuries suffered as a result of the accident. Economic damages include items such as present and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings and benefits, and property damage. Noneconomic damages are for less tangible harms, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. When a slip and fall accident results in a fatality, the family of the victim can also seek wrongful death damages. This includes compensation for funeral costs and for the loss of security, companionship, love, and consortium.
It is important to note that in Florida, slip and fall cases fall under the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, the court determines the degree of fault for everyone involved in the case, and compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if a slip and fall victim is awarded $500,000 in compensation and found ten percent at fault, the total award is reduced to $450,000.
The Elderly Are at The Most Risk of Serious Injuries from Slip and Falls
Every year, millions of older people fall, which often results in injury. As depth perception and balance fade, irregularities in the floor, residue, water, and even confusing flooring patterns all lead to falls and serious injuries. And, those injuries cause serious health problems down the road. In fact, a fractured hip, which is a common injury resulting from a fall, can be a death sentence for an older person. The older the fall victim, the more likely the injury will be life-lasting or even fatal.
Factors That Can Cause Falls
The following conditions of disrepair and neglected cleaning can lead to falls, regardless of age or physical ability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Walkway and floor spills;
- Ice, snow, and rain causing outdoor walkway hazards, as well as slipping hazards indoors when tracked inside. In Florida we don’t have to worry about the first two so much, but slippery walkways from rain cause countless falls and injuries;
- Lose mats and rugs can be slipped on due to poor traction or causing tripping from entanglement;
- Boxes, containers, and other merchandise can obscure vision;
- Poor lighting adds to poor visibility; and
- Walking surfaces in poor condition or filled with clutter cause tripping due to differences in floor height, surface irregularities, protruding nails, extension cords, and other debris.
Proving Business Owner Negligence for a Successful Litigati
With any premises liability the key to a successful lawsuit or settlement offer is proving that the business owner had either physical or constructive knowledge of the poor, unsafe conditions that lead to the accident. For a business owner to have physical knowledge of a slippery floor, they would have to see the damp spot for themselves or hear about it from an employee. Constructive knowledge is less direct, yet still legally pertinent. An example of constructive knowledge would be that the store owner knew that it had been raining outside, yet did not take precautions by placing a mat inside the front entrance to collect the wet footsteps of the customers.
Another element of a successful premises liability suit is, after establishing that the owner of the property had physical or constructive knowledge of the unsafe condition, establishing that the property owner did not act take to remedy the condition within a reasonable amount of time. What is considered to be ‘reasonable’ is dependent upon the situation. For example, it is reasonable to assume that a glass of spilled water in a restaurant will be cleaned up nearly immediately, and surely within a few minutes, whereas broken stairs may take days or even weeks to repair depending upon the circumstances. Even if you can prove that the property owner had knowledge of the defect or dangerous condition on their property, if you cannot prove that an unreasonable amount of time passed prior to the owner taking action, your claim will most likely not be successful. Let our Orlando lawyers help you.
Contact an Experienced Orlando Slip & Fall Lawyer
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident that was caused by the carelessness of a negligent business, contact The Pendas Law Firm today at 1-888-573-6327 to discuss your case with one of our experienced Orlando slip and fall lawyers. We are happy to help you in this time of need.