If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in Pompano Beach or anywhere in South Florida, or otherwise suffered any injuries while present on someone else’s property, you should contact Englander Peebles immediately. The injury lawyers at Englander Peebles have experience handling slip and fall cases.
A slip and fall injury is a kind of personal injury claim that is also known as a premises liability claim. These kinds of cases arise if a person gets injured because of a hazardous situation on another individual’s or entity’s property.
Call (954) 231-1384 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with a Pompano Beach slip and fall lawyer.
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What Are Some Common Injuries of Slip and Fall Victims?
Slip and fall accidents can cause a range of injuries. Some of the most common ones are:
Broken or Sprained Wrists and Ankles
During a slip and fall accident, your common impulse is to catch yourself. Unfortunately, trying to stabilize yourself can cause you to put too much pressure on your hands or onto the delicate bones in the wrists and ankles, causing them to be sprained or to break.
Stretched Tendons and Pulled Muscles
The body has natural reflexes in anticipation of a painful fall. These reflexes include tensing muscles or twisting the body. These natural reflexes may result in overextension of tendons or overstretch of muscles.
Bruised or Fractured Tailbones and Clavicles
If during a slip and fall accident, you fall backward, your natural reaction will be to extend your buttocks to absorb the direct impact on the body’s softest part. However, the sheer force of the fall may be so great that it goes through the tailbone, causing extensive bruising or even fractures.
Also, you may fall forward and hit your chest on the ground. If the collarbone hits the hard ground first, the impact of that fall may cause the clavicle to fracture.
Back or Spinal Cord Injuries
If you fall on your back, most of the force of the impact may be absorbed by the spine. That may cause vertebrae to break, discs to slip, or nerves to be damaged. This impact may even cause permanent, disabling injuries on the spinal cord itself.
The skull is attached to the body by small, delicate bones, and when you fall on your chest or your back, it acts like a whip to the skull. The impact may whip the skull back and forth. At a minimum, this may cause whiplash and other neck injuries. At worst, this may result in a skull fracture, brain bruising, concussion, or even traumatic brain injuries.
What Are Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries?
Falls are, without a doubt, the most common kind of injury-causing accident in the United States today. Millions of people sustain injuries from falling each year. Most accidental falls occur when an individual is walking, running, or otherwise moving. Such movement may also aggravate the injuries by adding the body’s movement speed to the natural force of falling.
Additionally, the body’s own natural mechanisms for trying to mitigate by fall by turning and/or twisting can further pull tendons or muscles, thereby causing even move injuries in addition to the impact of the fall itself.
There are multiple types of accidents which may result in a fall injury, including:
- Step and fall accidents, where a person’s foot encounters an unexpected hole or another failure in the walkway surface
- Stump and fall accidents, where a person’s foot encounters a dangerous condition in the walkway surface, whether it is a sticky area of the surface or some other condition that impedes the movement of the foot
- Trip and fall accidents, where a person’s foot encounters a foreign object in the walkway
- Slip and fall accidents, where the traction of the surface is affected and the person’s foot makes contact with the floor but fails to support the person’s center of gravity
By far, a slip and fall accident is the most common type of fall. During such incidents, a person’s foot breaks contact with the floor, and the person tries to maintain balance. However, recovering balance is reflexive and not under a person’s conscious control. If the individual hits a rigid surface with a fleshy body part, then the injuries will probably be minimal. If the person strikes a hard, bony part, the injuries are likely to be more severe.
There are many potential causes for a person to slip, such as slippery walkway surfaces due to the presence of liquids. Fall injuries may also result from foreign objects such as cardboard or plastic in the walkway. Certain waxes that are not compatible with a flooring material may also cause an unreasonably slippery surface.
Commercial establishments are also prone to conditions that may cause falls. For example, stores may have items such as clothing that fall to the floor and cause unexpected dangers.
Stockroom clerks may leave store inventory in aisles causing customers to trip and fall over boxes or other items. Outside the establishments, sidewalks and parking lots may have uneven or broken surfaces, thereby causing falls regularly. Poor illumination may compound the dangers listed above.
Who Can I Hold Liable for My Slip and Fall Injuries
In most cases, a person who sustains injuries in a slip and falls on another person’s property must show that the cause of the fall was an unreasonably dangerous condition and that the owner or occupant of the property knew, or should have known, about such condition. A dangerous condition qualifies as such if it presents an unreasonable hazard to people on the property.
To prove that a property owner or occupant was aware of a dangerous condition, a claimant must show that:
- The owner or occupant created the dangerous condition.
- The owner or occupant knew the dangerous condition was present and failed to correct it.
- Or, the dangerous condition existed for a sufficient period that the owner or occupant should have discovered the danger and corrected it before the slip and fall accident.
To hold a property owner or occupant liable, the claimant must show that it was foreseeable that neglecting the danger could cause injuries.
For example, say a jar of sauce falls to the floor and spills sauce in a grocery aisle and, a day later, the grocery has not noticed or cleaned it up. If someone slips in the sauce and is injured, the claimant will likely successfully argue that it was foreseeable the grocery’s negligence in failing to inspect the aisles and clean up the spill would cause someone to slip and sustain injuries.
Occasionally, a claimant can show negligence by providing evidence that the property owner was in violation of a relevant regulation or statute. For example, many building codes dictate the proper location and placement of handrails and other similar features on a stairway. If a person falls on a stairway that did not have the appropriate handrails, which caused injuries, that person may have a claim against the owner based on the violation of the building code.
What if I Get Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident at Someone’s House
Liability for slip and fall accidents is not limited to owners of commercial establishments or public properties. If a homeowner invites you to visit his or her house, then that homeowner has a legal obligation to remove any unreasonably dangerous conditions that may cause injuries and to warn you of any known dangers.
This obligation means that if you visit someone’s house and you fall because a certain area is poorly maintained, then you may be able to obtain compensation from the homeowner.
Typically, homeowners’ insurance policies cover these kinds of claims. Often, claimants don’t have to worry that they will be forced to pay you from their own pockets. Homeowners’ insurance policies should cover the cost of bills and expenses stemming from a slip and fall accident while a guest at the home of a friend.
What if I Am Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident at a Store
When it comes to commercial establishments, the question that arises is whether they have engaged in efforts to keep their premises safe from dangerous conditions. Florida has answered this issue by passing Florida Statutes 768.0755, which governs liability for transitory foreign substances in business establishments.
According to this statute, if an individual slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a commercial establishment, that person has to prove that the business knew or should have known of the danger and should have acted to correct it.
Proving the store had actual knowledge is generally more difficult. For example, let’s assume a gallon of milk spilled onto a grocery floor by a customer. Unless a store employee saw the milk on the ground, the store would not have actual knowledge. However, assume that the milk was left for 15 minutes without an employee coming by to inspect.
In this scenario, the Florida statute allows for claimants to use circumstantial evidence to prove constructive knowledge. This provision means that the claimant can show that the condition existed long enough that the store should have known of the condition. Time and notice are the focus of this question.
How Can I Tell How Much My Slip and Fall Injury Claim Is Worth?
Most of the time, it is nearly impossible to be able to know in advance how much a slip and fall claim is worth until the facts have been fully investigated, the owner’s liability has been well-established, and the claimant’s medical treatment has concluded. A Pompano Beach slip and fall lawyer at Englander Peebles will assist clients with reviewing the case from beginning to end to ensure that it is analyzed thoroughly.
It is normal for individuals to want to know the value of their case immediately after an accident. The thought of vindication and paying off mounting bills are probably driving that desire to know. However, placing a price tag immediately after the accident is often not helpful for the following reasons:
- The injured party isn’t always acutely aware of all the injuries immediately after the accident.
- The injured party often does not accurately foresee the kind and duration of treatment they require for their injuries.
- The injured party doesn’t always fully anticipate the strain the accident would place on his or her personal life.
- The injured party doesn’t always fully account for the psychological and emotional stress that the accident would place on him or her.
Although these are merely a few common effects that an injured person cannot always account for immediately after an accident, they represent some of the most important parts of a claim. This information becomes more valuable if an attorney presents them to an insurance company and provides medical documentation and other evidence.
Calls for immediate compensation are often not in a claimant’s best interest. Additionally, once the claimant signs a release, he or she is barred from recovering from that party further in the future.
Sometimes, claimants hear that they can receive three times as much compensation as their medical costs. However, this formula is often inaccurate, and the worth of a case is based on the circumstances surrounded each case. A person may receive that much, or more, or less. Consulting an attorney may help you manage your expectations regarding your potential recovery.
There are three main components of any injury claim that may influence how much a claimant may recover from a defendant:
- Any past or future medical expenses incurred
- Any past or future wages or earning capacity lost or diminished
- Any past or future psychological and emotional suffering, pain, disability, or disfigurement
In these kinds of cases, Englander Peebles will immediately inform the liable party’s insurance company of the injured party’s legal representation and require that they send the law firm a certified declarations sheet that outlines the insurance policy’s specific coverage terms and limits for the insured liable party.
Once the law firm receives a copy of these declarations, the injured party will know how much money is available for recovery, but this will still not be a determination of the total amount that a claim is worth as other factors influence this.
Englander Peebles can assist you in reviewing an insurance policy so that you have that information available. Insurance policies are often difficult to interpret, and an attorney will be able to assist you with deciphering pages of legalese so that you are aware of your rights in a particular case.
Contact the Pompano Beach Slip and Fall Lawyers at Englander Peebles
If you have suffered injuries on someone’s premises, many different people of entities may be liable. You should meet and consult with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers are experienced in pursuing slip and fall claims and routinely handle these cases in Pompano Beach and throughout Florida.
We can review the evidence in your case and help you determine whether you have a claim. Claimants should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after a slip and fall to help preserve evidence, such as video surveillance. Contact Englander Peebles at (954) 231-1384 or through our online form today to schedule your free initial consultation.