We tend to overlook the hazard of falling in our everyday lives, but a fall caused by slipping or tripping can result in serious injuries. Some of these falls may be unavoidable accidents. In other cases, the fall was caused by a dangerous condition that should have been addressed. If you have slipped and fallen on someone else’s property and incurred injuries as a result, you may be able to hold the property owner responsible. If you find yourself in this situation, you should reach out to a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer to learn more.
Broken bones, spinal cord fractures, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), soft tissue damage, and painful cuts and bruises are some of the serious injuries people sustain in slip and fall accidents in Florida. Nationwide, the staggering statistics show that millions of people are injured in slip and falls every year, and these unfortunate injuries cost billions of dollars annually. Among the elderly population, they are a leading cause of catastrophic injuries and even death. From 2007 to 2016, fall fatalities rose by 30% among seniors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Attorney David I. Fuchs helps people who have incurred injuries in Fort Lauderdale slip, trip, and fall cases. With nearly 30 years of personal injury experience, he provides dedicated and aggressive legal representation while fighting for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Common Property Hazards that Lead to Slip and Fall Accidents
You can trip and fall under almost any circumstances, but certain hazards are especially dangerous and routinely result in injury. Examples of property conditions that have caused injuries include:
- Wet and slippery floors
- Staircases in disrepair
- Loose handrails
- Broken or uneven flooring
- Inadequate lighting
- Loose floorboards
- Wrinkled carpet or rugs
- Cracked sidewalks and walkways
- Exposed wiring or other unsafe electrical installations
Many other conditions that can result in a fall, both inside or outdoors. Further, these trips can occur on any property, such as the grocery store, Walmart, a concert or sports venue, or a hotel. If you were injured on someone else’s property, an experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney can assess whether the property owner should be held liable.
Slip and Fall Prevention
Sometimes people fall by accident because they simply aren’t looking where they are going, or even stumble over their own two feet. But slipping, tripping, and falling also occur because of the negligence of others who have not kept their properties safely maintained, or who have allowed clutter to build up. Slip and fall accidents happen at workplaces, at stores and other public businesses, at concerts and events, at other people’s homes, and at a whole host of places where people gather.
If you’re a property owner, it’s important to survey your property for slip and fall dangers. You don’t want people to fall and get injured while visiting your property. And you also don’t want to potentially be held liable should such an injury occur.
Here are some things you can do to help prevent visitors to your property, and yourself, from suffering slips, trips, and falls:
- Keep floors clean, dry and free of spills and other debris.
- Post clear warning signs indicating hazards like recently mopped floors or uneven footing.
- Remove unsecured rugs and other possible trip dangers from floors.
- Ensure any rugs used have a non-skid backing.
- Be sure stairs have handrails, and the rails are in working order.
- Fix broken or uneven stairs and steps.
- Remove clutter from floors and tight spaces like hallways.
- Repair potholes and uneven or cracked walking surfaces.
- Make sure rooms, hallways, and stairways are well-lit.
- Avoid running power cords and cables across walkways.
Injuries in Slip and Fall Cases
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can result in very serious injuries. The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs fights for clients to receive compensation for the following:
- Facial and skull fractures
- Concussions and other brain injuries
- Broken bones and torn ligaments and tendons
- Joint sprains and strains
- Deep lacerations that require stitches or plastic surgery
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls ca4 be especially dangerous for people 65 and older, as such accidents are more likely to result in broken bones and other severe injuries. Injuries resulting from a fall can have long-term impacts on your day-to-day life, so it’s important to reach out to a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer if you’re suffering after one of these incidents.
Premises Liability in Slip and Fall Claims
Slip and falls live under the umbrella of premises liability cases. “Premises liability” refers to a property owner’s legal obligation to make their property safe for guests and other visitors. As a result of this duty of care, property owners may be held liable for the injuries and other losses suffered by their guests.
In a slip and fall case, a standard of negligence is applied in order to determine whether the property owner met their legal obligation to maintain their property. They are considered negligent if they did not act with the same level of care that an ordinarily prudent person would have under the same circumstances. In the context of a slip and fall case, this issue raises two questions:
- Did the property owner know about the hazard that caused your fall and fail to take reasonable efforts to repair or otherwise address it?
- If they didn’t actually know about the hazard, should they have been aware of the situation?
If the property owner knew and failed to address the danger, or should have known about it, they may be held liable for injuries suffered by those who lawfully visit the property. A tenacious lawyer in Fort Lauderdale like David Fuchs can use his years of experience in premises liability and personal injury law to strengthen your case from the beginning.
Property Owners’ Legal Obligation to Maintain their Land
It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether a property owner was negligent. Generally, they need to make efforts to make their property safe that would be deemed reasonable under the same circumstances.
In some cases, this means that the property owner meets their obligation by posting signs or other warnings alerting guests to the potential hazard. For example, they need to ensure the maintenance staff is placing wet floor signs after mopping the tile floor in the lobby. In other cases, hanging a sign and refusing to repair or otherwise address the issue may not be sufficient.
It’s important to keep in mind that property owners’ efforts only need to be reasonable under the circumstances. In other words, their efforts don’t necessarily need to be successful or have prevented any fall from occurring. For example, a property owner who makes reasonable efforts to repair a broken sidewalk pending total replacement may not be liable in the event someone who still trips is injured.
In cases where a property owner didn’t actually know about the danger, the question then becomes whether they should have known. In these cases, you need to consider the following:
- How long the hazard existed
- What caused the hazard
- Whether other people had suffered injury as a result of the hazard
- Whether the property owner regularly inspects the property for hazards
- Whether the hazard was obvious or apparent
The facts particular to each situation determine slip and fall cases. That is why it’s important to retain the help of a seasoned attorney in Fort Lauderdale to help you navigate the complicated process of filing a slip and fall claim.
Statute of Limitations after a Slip and Fall in Fort Lauderdale
In any personal injury claim, it’s important to understand that there is a deadline for you to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. The statute of limitations for a slip and fall case under Florida law is four years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit within that time period, your case will most likely be dismissed unless it falls under an exception.
Four years may seem like a long time, but it can pass faster than you think. It’s important to understand that the four-year deadline starts running from the day the accident occurred – not the date you discovered your injury, learned that the property owner was aware of the hazard, or when an insurance company denied your claim.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners often defend themselves against slip and fall claims by arguing that the victim’s own negligence contributed to the accident. For example, the property owner may claim in your case –
- That you weren’t paying attention and could have avoided the accident.
- That the hazard was obvious and easily avoided.
- That you were on a part of the property where you weren’t supposed to be.
- That you were wearing inappropriate footwear or clothing that contributed to the accident.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that any compensation you are entitled to will be reduced by the amount your own negligence contributed to the accident. For example, if it is determined that the property owner was negligent, but your failure to pay attention contributed 20 percent to the accident, your compensation will be reduced by 20 percent.
Allegations of being comparatively involved in a slip and fall accident can be frustrating, so do not hesitate to reach out to a dedicated Fort Lauderdale lawyer like David I. Fuchs.
Our Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorneys Can Help
After slipping and falling on someone else’s property, you may be entitled compensation for your injuries, your financial losses, and your pain and suffering. Unfortunately, getting the compensation you deserve is incredibly difficult without the assistance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer. David I. Fuchs can give you the help you need to put your life back together. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, call or team or reach out online.
If you cannot come to the Fort Lauderdale office, accident attorney David I. Fuchs will send a representative to see you. He speaks English and Spanish.
David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. – Fort Lauderdale Office
8 SE 8th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
P: (954) 459-3755