Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyers
If you have suffered an injury because of a slippery floor, bad lighting, or broken stairs, or tripped over something that should not have been there, you could have a potential claim for damages. These kinds of accidents fall under “premises liability” which is a part of personal injury law in Florida. The negligent property owner, manager, or occupier could be held liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
The physical, emotional, and financial impact of fall injuries can be significant for the injured victim. Property owners must keep their spaces safe. Whether it is a grocery store, a mall, or someone’s home, they cannot just ignore hazards. If they do, and you sustain an injury, they may owe you compensation. If you have had a slip and fall injury, it is time to take action. Consult with Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorneys at Englander Peebles today to discuss your best legal options. Give us a call at 561-556-6786 or contact us online.
Types of Slip and Fall Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
You can fall almost anywhere, anytime. Some of the most common situations we have represented our clients include:
- Wet floor slips in grocery stores and malls due to spills and absence of warning signs
- Uneven surfaces found in parking lots and walkways with cracks or potholes
- Cluttered floors in retail stores that usually leave items in aisles
- Staircase fall accidents due to missing handrails or poor lighting
- Escalator and elevator falls caused by mechanical failures or sudden stops
- Outdoor accidents in parks due to poor maintenance or natural obstacles
- Workplace falls in construction and warehouses with risky environments
- Nursing home falls (for the elderly) due to poor care or medical issues
- Swimming pool slips around pools with wet and slippery surfaces
- Restaurant and bar falls caused by spills or freshly mopped floors
- Defective footwear; some shoes can cause trips, but hard to prove in court
What is the Law of Premises Liability in Fort Lauderdale?
The premises liability law in Fort Lauderdale states that every property must be well-kept. If you get injured, the party responsible for your fall injury is the one who was in charge of taking care of that property’s maintenance. In most cases, this is the property owner or manager.
Under Florida law, there are three different types of visitors:
- Invitees: These are people invited onto the property for a business purpose, like customers in a store. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, which includes regular inspections and immediate correction of known hazards.
- Licensees: Social guests fall under this category. Owners must warn licensees of known dangers but do not have to inspect for them.
- Trespassers: These are people who enter without permission. Generally, owners owe no duty to adult trespassers except not to cause them intentional harm.
In other words, if you own a property anywhere in Florida, it is your job to keep it safe for people who come over. If there is something dangerous on your property that you know about — or should know about — you need to fix it fast.
If you cannot get the issue repaired right away, you must warn people so they do not get hurt. You could do this by putting up signs or blocking off that particular area. If you do not do this and someone gets injured, you could be held responsible for their injuries.
To win a premises liability case in Florida, you must prove:
- Duty of care: The property owner had a duty to maintain a safe environment.
- Breach of duty: They failed to uphold this duty by either creating a hazard or not correcting a known hazard.
- Causation: This breach directly led to your injury.
- Damages: The injury resulted in actual losses, like a hospital stay, ER visits, prescription medications, time off work, etc.
The hardest part in a Florida slip and fall case is showing that the property owner either knew about the problem or should have known. The key here is the “reasonable person” rule which asks if most property owners (or their managers) would have been aware of the issue and done something to fix it.
Can You Recover Compensation if You Were a Trespasser?
If you are present at someone’s property without permission, the owner or manager usually does not have to keep you safe. That means if you get injured, they probably would not be held responsible. But that does not give them the right to ignore safety.
There are a few exceptions here: if the homeowner knows that people regularly trespass on their land, they might be responsible for any injuries sustained by those trespassers if:
- The owner/manager created or did not repair a dangerous situation
- That situation could seriously hurt or kill someone
- They think trespassers would not notice this danger before getting hurt
- They failed to make an effort to notify people about it well in advance
When it comes to kids who trespass, the rules change. Property occupiers have to make sure their land is safe for children who might wander in. This is because kids might not understand the risks and could be drawn to dangerous things like an open swimming pool, an old well, or heavy equipment. These are called “attractive nuisances” because they are likely to lure children.
A building owner/occupier could be taken to court if a child gets injured because the former knew or should have known:
- That kids are likely to wander into a dangerous area
- That they would not understand the risk
- That the danger is much greater than any benefit it provides
2023 Changes to Florida’s Civil Justice System and What They Mean for Slip and Fall Accident Victims
The House Bill 837 that took effect on March 24, 2023 has made some major revisions to how personal injury cases – including slip and fall – are handled in Florida.
Firstly, the time you have to file a lawsuit after a fall accident has been cut in half. It used to be four years, but now you only have two years to take legal action. The new law specifies that the two-year time limit applies to cases that occur after March 24, 2023. If your slip and fall incident happened before that date, the old four-year limit still applies. In any case, you need to act quickly to consult a lawyer and get your case moving.
Interestingly, this shorter timeline only applies to “general negligence” lawsuits where you can prove that the premises owner/manager acted in a careless manner. It does not apply to claims regarding the design, manufacturing, or sale of personal property. What does this mean? Well, depending on how good your slip and fall lawyer is, they might get creative with how they describe your case to get around the shorter time limit.
For example, if you slipped and fell because of a poorly designed staircase. Instead of filing the case as “general negligence,” your lawyer might file it under “defective design,” which could have a four-year time limit for filing the lawsuit. This way, you might still have more time to file your case, even under the new rules. To learn whether or not this applies to your case, get in touch with our experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyers.
Another significant revision to the Florida law is about how the liability will be established. Previously, even if you were 99% responsible for the fall, you could still recover 1% damages from the defendant. But now, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you will have no case and no right to recover any compensation.
If the property owner is able to prove that you were goofing around, texting while walking, or running on the premises instead of paying attention, it would be easy for them to put most of the blame on you. The same goes if you ignored warning signs or went into an area you clearly should not have. This makes it imperative to work with a team of tenacious fall accident lawyers who know how to collect the right evidence to prove your innocence.
What Types of Injuries Can Happen When You Trip and Fall?
A fall can wreak more physical damage on your body than you might imagine. As soon as you slip or trip, your reflexes kick in. You might extend your arms to break the fall, which can result in wrist or elbow injuries. If you hit the ground knees-first, you could suffer from sprains or broken bones. The immediate shock might also cause muscle strains because your muscles are all tensed up.
If your head hits the ground, the risk of a concussion or traumatic brain injuries goes up. Spinal injuries are also a concern, especially if you fall backward or from a height. These can have long-lasting effects, including chronic pain or, in extreme cases, paralysis.
That does not even mention the force of hitting the ground and how it can cause deadly internal injuries. Your kidneys, liver, or spleen can get bruised or worse. While these injuries might not show immediate symptoms, they can turn fatal if not treated in time.
Over time, what seemed like a minor fall can lead to chronic issues. A simple wrist sprain can evolve into long-term joint pain or arthritis. Back injuries can mean a lifetime of debilitating pain and ongoing treatment.
Knowing the full extent of your injuries will help you get the right care for maximum chances of recovery. It will also give your fall injury lawyer a detailed picture of how the injury has affected your life, so they can accurately calculate the compensation you are entitled to.
Make sure to visit an ER or your nearest hospital as soon as you can after the fall. If you underestimate your injuries and wait too long, you might miss the opportunity to file a claim. Some injuries have long-term effects that could call for continuous treatment, multiple surgeries, or result in permanent disability. Recognizing these consequences will help your legal team plan for your future medical costs and negotiate a reasonable settlement.
Keep in mind that the new House Bill 837 has also changed the way healthcare bills are presented in court. You can no longer present the initial high-cost bill. Instead, you have to show what you actually paid or what your insurance company covered. This could affect the amount you are awarded, making it more important than ever to keep accurate records of your hospital stay, treatments, medications, and other related expenses.
How Englander Peebles Can Help You
Once you have received the immediate medical attention you need and notified the person who owns or runs the property about what happened, you should reach out to our personal injury lawyers at Englander Peebles in Fort Lauderdale as soon as possible.
Businesses and insurance companies will likely challenge or diminish the validity of your slip-and-fall injury and may shift the blame on you. They will try to reject your fall claim or offer you a very low offer. Having us by your side can show them you are serious about your claim. We will fight based on hard evidence, and prove their liability.
We have represented slip and fall accident victims and their families millions of dollars in compensation against the negligent parties, such as:
- Grocery stores
- Shopping malls
- Public parks
- Office buildings
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Parking lots
- Apartment complexes
We will gather evidence including the security camera footage, statements from employees, records of how the place is maintained, and the company’s existing safety rules. Our goal will be to prove that the property owner or maintenance company was negligent, which led to your fall injuries.
Maybe the lighting was bad, or there were no handrails on the stairs. Perhaps the floor was worn out, or there was a spill that nobody cleaned up. If any of these types of negligence occurred, and the owner knew about it (or should have), our experienced slip fall accident lawyer will find it and build a strong case for damages.
Do Not Wait: Set Up Your Free Consultation Today
If you or your loved one have suffered slip and fall injuries, your first priority should be on healing. Let us handle the rest. Slip and fall accidents typically happen because the person or company in charge did not take the proper safety measures. Call us at 561-556-6786 or fill out this form to schedule a free consultation with our dedicated Fort Lauderdale slip and fall accident attorneys.