Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyer
At Englander Peebles, we know that slip and falls are serious accidents. They often lead to injuries that do more than merely disrupt victims’ lives – they change them forever. If you recently suffered severe injury in a slip and fall accident in Fort Lauderdale, we will pursue all compensation that you are due.
Florida law gives the victims of property owners’ negligence the right to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and more. We will thoroughly investigate your case and pursue the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We know how those funds can play an important role in your future.
We are selective in the slip and fall cases we take. We want to ensure that we commit our talent and resources to seeing complex claims through to verdict, if necessary. We also want to give full attention to each one of our clients. When you work with us, we will handle all aspects of your case from start-to-finish and make sure that you know what is happening in your case at all times. Client service is our top priority.
Contact us today and learn more about how we can help you after a slip and fall accident. We have offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens and Boca Raton. We will provide a free and confidential review of your case.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Most Commonly Occur in Fort Lauderdale?
Slip and falls can – and do – happen everywhere in Fort Lauderdale. Through the years, we have seen accidents occur on commercial, residential and government property. No matter where your accident occurred, you need to take a hard look at whether the property owner’s negligence caused it. If so, you may be eligible to hold the owner liable for your injuries.
Our attorneys at Englander Peebles have experience with handling such cases as:
- Walmart Slip and Falls
- Wawa Slip and Falls
- Publix Slip and Falls
- Lowe’s Slip and Falls
- Marina Slip and Falls
- Home Depot Slip and Falls
- Apartment Complex Slip and Falls
- Sunrise Apartment Complex Slip and Falls
- Lauderhill Apartment Complex Slip and Falls
- Margate Apartment Complex Slip and Falls.
We have also worked with victims of slip and falls at private residences in Florida. Our lawyers understand how some people are reluctant to take legal action in those cases. They don’t want to financially hurt a friend or neighbor who is the property owner. Just keep in mind: Homeowners’ insurance – not a property owner’s personal assets – typically covers damages in these accidents. Your attorney from Englander Peebles can explain more about how the slip and fall claims process works during your initial consultation.
Why Do Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
Slips and falls often happen due to unusually slick surfaces or objects that are in unexpected places. Victims frequently slip on wet floors or trip over items because property owners failed to address the dangerous condition (even when they knew about it). For instance, someone may spill a soda in a store aisle. It sits there for hours, and no employee cleans it up. A customer may unwittingly walk through the puddle of liquid, slip and suffer serious injury.
People can slip, fall, and sustain serious harm in a number of other situations. Some of the other common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Defects in pavement
- Torn or loose carpeting
- Cracked or uneven flooring
- Torn floor mats
- Broken handrails
- Loose floorboards
- Poor lighting in hallways and other common areas
- Poor stairway design
- Weather-related hazards.
If a business owner knows (or reasonably should know) about a hazardous condition on their property, they should at least warn visitors about the risk. When they fail to do so, people get hurt. At Englander Peebles, our goal is to pursue maximum compensation for those victims and to hold property owners fully accountable for their negligence.
“All I can say is WOW. These guys are amazing! Very knowledgeable lawyers! If you need someone for injury law these are the guys to use!”- Jason Z.
What Are Some Common Injuries Experienced in Slip and Fall Accidents?
The types of injuries that victims suffer in slip and fall accidents vary widely. It depends on the circumstances of the fall and, to an extent, on factors such as their physical condition before the fall occurred. People who fall a great distance or fall onto other objects, for example, are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. An elderly person who is in fragile condition may suffer a hip injury or worse. Some slip and falls prove to be fatal.
The most common injuries that slip and fall accident victims suffer include:
- Fractures (broken bones)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Torn tendons or ligaments
- Pulled muscles
- Head or neck injuries
- Herniated or slipped discs.
Victims who suffer these or other injuries can face overwhelming medical expenses. Treatment may involve weeks, months or even years of intensive rehabilitation. Additionally, many people injured in slip and fall accidents are unable to return to work for lengthy periods of time. Some people are left permanently unable to work again in any capacity.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case?
To recover damages in a Florida slip and fall lawsuit, you must establish the four elements of negligence. In other words, you must show:
- The property owner owed a duty of care to you.
- The property owner breached that duty.
- The breach of duty caused your slip and fall accident and injuries.
- You suffered actual damages.
The duty element will depend on your status as a visitor at the time of your slip and fall injury. In Florida premises liability cases, visitors fall into three categories:
Invitees – People who are invited onto the property for business dealings or for the reason why the property is opened to the public. Customers at a store are examples. The owner owes invitees a duty to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition and to warn visitors about concealed dangers that the owner knows or reasonably should know about.
Licensees – People who enter property for their own purposes and without invitation. Social guests are a type of licensee. A person who goes into a store just to use the restroom is another example. The owner owes licensees a duty to warn about dangers that the owner knows about and to refrain from intentionally exposing them to danger.
Trespassers – People who enter property without the owner’s invitation or consent. Generally speaking, the owner owes no duty to trespassers other than to avoid willfully or wantonly injuring them.
Additionally, if you slipped and fell on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment such as a store, Florida Statute: 768.0755 would apply to your case. Florida law defines a “transitory foreign substance” as “any liquid or solid substance, item or object located where it does not belong.” Under the law, you would need to prove that the business establishment:
- Had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition, and
- Should have taken action to remedy it.
Actual knowledge is direct knowledge. For instance, your attorney at Englander Peebles may find proof that an employee caused or at least saw a puddle of liquid in a store aisle which you later slipped on. Constructive knowledge, on the other hand, is knowledge that people can infer from the circumstances. As Florida Statute: 768.0755 states, you can prove constructive knowledge by showing that:
- The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
- The condition occurred with regularity and, so, it was foreseeable.
At Englander Peebles, we know how property owners and their insurance companies often try to escape from liability by arguing that a visitor slipped and fell due to an “open and obvious” hazard that the visitor could have avoided. We will aggressively challenge any unfounded attempt by the property owner in your case to shift the blame for your accident to you. We believe it is important to work with a lawyer who will fight for you at every stage in your case.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover in a Slip and Fall Claim?
If you suffer injury in a slip and fall in Fort Lauderdale due to the property owner’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensatory damages. Those damages include:
Economic damages – These are losses with specific dollar amounts clearly attached to them. Past and future medical bills, lost income, rehabilitation costs and other slip and fall accident-related expenses are examples.
Non-economic damages – These damages are more subjective. They can be difficult to calculate. Pain and suffering are the most common type of non-economic damages claimed in a slip and fall lawsuit. Other types of damages in this category include disfigurement, loss of normal life, loss of society and emotional anguish.
Florida law also allows slip and fall victims to seek punitive damages in exceptional circumstances. To recover these damages, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that the property owner acted with “intentional misconduct or gross negligence,” which is a high standard. Florida law caps punitive damages at three times the amount awarded in compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured in a Trip and Fall Accident?
The attorneys of Englander Peebles will handle all aspects of your slip and fall claim from start to finish. We will investigate your case, deal with the insurance companies, calculate your damages and, ultimately, fight for every cent you deserve in settlement negotiations or, if necessary, at trial.
However, you can also take some steps on your own to protect your rights and your ability to recover full and fair compensation for your slip and fall injuries. Those steps include:
Get immediate medical attention – If you are not taken to an emergency room, then you should see a doctor as soon as possible. A timely diagnosis of your injuries is important for your health as well as for your slip and fall claim.
Report the accident – If your slip and fall occurred at a store, restaurant or other business, you should report it to the owner, preferably in writing. Some businesses provide accident report forms that you can fill out. You should keep a copy of your report.
Keep everything – You should hold on to the clothes that you wore when the slip and fall happened, any photos that you took of the accident scene and/or your injuries and any contact information that you have for eyewitnesses. Additionally, keep copies of your medical bills and the receipts from all other accident-related costs.
Talk with a lawyer before you talk with the insurance company – Before you give a recorded statement to an insurer or accept a settlement offer, you should seek honest advice from a lawyer who will be focused on protecting your rights and interests.
Slip and Fall FAQs
If you have never been hurt in an accident before such as a slip and fall, you may have many questions about protecting your rights, filing an insurance claim and taking other steps to pursue compensation that you deserve. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked slip and fall questions. To discuss the specific facts of your case, please contact us. We can provide a free review of your case.
Slip and Fall
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 other 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 floor 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.
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 existed for a sufficient period that the owner or occupant should have discovered the danger and corrected it before to 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 any spilled liquids 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.
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.
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 spilt 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.
- 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 backwards, 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; and
- Head injuries. 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.
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. Englander Law 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; and
- 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 that 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; and
- 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 with 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.
Our Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyers Are Ready to Help You
At Englander Peebles, we have earned a reputation for standing up to large insurance companies that try to bully and ignore the rights of slip and fall victims. Insurance companies know that when our attorneys are on the case, we won’t back down. We can and will go to court if that’s what it takes to pursue full and fair compensation for our clients.
Call or contact us online today to talk about your case with a slip and fall attorney who is ready to listen to your story and help you. We can meet with you in our office in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens or Boca Raton, or we can meet at your home or in the hospital ? wherever is most convenient for you. Our goal is to make the process as smooth as possible and to seek the maximum amount for you.