Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents or all kinds are far more common than most people know, and can result in injuries, medical bills, lost wages and other types of serious damages. Additionally, many slip and fall accidents happen due to the negligence of others. If you have been injured in this type of accident, call the Miami slip and fall lawyers at The Mercer Firm (305-454-0274) for a free consultation. If your slip and fall accident was caused by the negligence of someone else, you shouldn’t have to bear the burden of your injuries on your own and may be entitled to recover for your injuries.
Typical Causes of Slip & Fall Injuries
People can slip and fall for many different reasons. Sometimes it is a simple mistake, but often it is due to the negligence of another person or company. When your slip & fall accident was due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your economic and non-economic expenses and damages. The slip & fall attorneys at the Mercer Firm can help you determine whether the dangerous condition that caused your fall was due to someone else’s negligence and who was responsible.
There are many causes of slip and fall accidents and injuries. Some are obviously due to the negligence of others, but others are not always as clear to most people even when there is clear negligence involved. Some of the frequent types of slip & fall injuries caused by negligence of others include:
- Slippery or wet substances on the floor – Slippery floors can be caused by spills that should have been cleaned up, leaky equipment, rain, improper cleaning and maintenance or the failure to use mats or carpets in areas where such substances are known to accumulate. Additionally, businesses sometimes use inappropriate floor tiles for appearance purposes even when those tiles are unreasonably dangerous and slippery for high traffic areas even when they are properly cleaned and maintained.
- Uneven or Broken Floors, Sidewalks or Parking Lots – There are a large variety of ways in which broken or uneven flooring or walkways can occur. Potholes can occur in the parking lot and be left unrepaired, tree roots sometimes grow under sidewalks and make the dangerously uneven, there can be cracked or missing tiles, and many other unreasonable hazards that the land or business owner are under an obligation to repair or at least warn people to avoid.
- Inadequate Lighting – Poor lighting is especially dangerous in situations where other hazard exist, as it can prevent you from being able to see a hazard that you could have otherwise avoided with proper lighting.
- Obstacles and Trip Hazards in Walkways and Other High Traffic Areas – All manner of obstacles and trip hazards can be left in high traffic areas. Electrical cords, loose or torn mats or carpeting, and all manner of other clutter can create an unsafe condition for people in walkways.
- Broken, Loose or Missing Railing or Handrails – Railing and handrails are installed specifically because there are certain areas where it is foreseeable that people may need assistance to keep themselves from falling. If those railings are missing, improperly attached or inadequately maintained, they can create an obviously unreasonable and unsafe condition.
- Uneven or Poorly Constructed Stairs – Stairs are inherently more dangerous that flat surfaces, which is why they typically have handrails to assist people. When they are uneven or improperly maintained, they become even more dangerous. Additionally, improperly constructed stairs can leave insufficient room for people to place their feet or might be unreasonably high for many people to be able to safely navigate.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Injured in a Slip & Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents are generally more difficult to prove than many other types of accidents. To make a successful claim in a slip and fall accident, an injured person must prove that the property owner or other responsible party either knew or should have known of the unsafe condition. Thus, evidence of how long the unsafe condition existed, what caused the unsafe condition, what procedures the property owner used to prevent such accidents, whether the condition had been previously reported and other such evidence is critical to a successful slip and fall claim.
As a result, there are specific steps that a slip and fall victim can take to improve their likelihood of a successful claim:
- Immediately inform the Property Owner, Business or Other Relevant Authority – This is basically the equivalent of calling the police when you are the victim of a car accident. However, it is often more important because the unsafe condition may otherwise be repaired or removed before it can be documented. Moreover, slip and fall accidents do not have the ongoing property damage evidence that typically exists in a car accident. Thus, it is critical to report the incident immediately, request to speak to someone of authority (store manager, etc.) and ask that they record the incident in writing.
- Gather Names and Contact Info from Witnesses or Employees – There are often witnesses to a slip and fall accident or others who have relevant information. The Miami slip & fall lawyers at The Mercer Firm, have seen cases where a witness had previously reported the unsafe condition, where an employee admitted that they failed to put up a warning sign while they went to get a mop and bucket and many other helpful statements. Moreover, we have seen claims where a business claims to be unable to identify an employee that was present at the time of accident and other similar issues have occurred. Thus, it is important to gather as much information as you can from witnesses and employees with whom you come into contact at the time of your accident.
- Seek Medical Attention – This is an important step in an accident. However, it is often easy to establish that a victim was likely to have been injured in a car accident even if they do not seek immediate medical attention because of the amount of property damage and other easily obtained evidence. However, people regularly slip or trip and suffer only insignificant injuries or even none. Thus, it is critical to seek prompt medical attention when injured in a slip and fall.
- Seek the Advice of an Experienced and Knowledgeable Attorney – Evidence is critically important in a slip and fall case and the best Miami slip and fall attorneys know that time is of the essence. There are many ways that a slip and fall accident can go wrong for the injured victim. An experienced attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls.
How can The Mercer Firm Help if You Have Been Injured in a Slip & Fall Accident?
Selecting the best Miami slip and fall attorney for your case can make all the difference in your results. If an attorney does not make your claim an immediate priority, evidence can slip between the cracks. Witness memories can become less clear, they can move, return home from their Florida vacation, or even get new phone numbers. The Mercer Firm will look for and reach out to witnesses right away to make sure that we secure their stories and make sure that we stay in contact with them regardless of their life circumstances. As needed, we will also send investigators, take prompt photographs of the scene and whatever else is needed to bring together the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Additionally, the Miami slip and fall lawyers at the Mercer Firm will immediately seek to preserve evidence in the possession of the property owner or other at fault party. Businesses often have video recording of just about anything that happens in their stores. However, they will often claim to have lost, misplaced or recorded over such video footage. As a result, we will immediately send a letter demanding that they preserve any video footage or other relevant evidence. If they receive such a letter in a timely fashion and nevertheless fail to preserve the requested evidence, you may be entitled certain presumptions in your favor at trial or other significant ruling in your favor by the trial judge.
The Mercer Firm slip and fall lawyers will also gather evidence relative to your medical condition and treatment. We will identify and interview witnesses with evidence relative to your prior and existing health and medical condition. We will gather your medical records and bills, including bill and records from paramedics and first responders. We will monitor your treatment, make sure that your records are accurate, consult with your treating physicians, help you make appointments with specialists or diagnostic providers, and identify, and hire the right experts to be able to explain and document your slip & fall injuries for a jury. You will be able to focus on your health and expect us to handle the rest.
In addition to medical experts, The Mercer’s Firm’s Miami personal injury attorneys will identify other experts or evidence that may be helpful to your case. Building codes may apply in cases involving unsafe steps, stairs, floor tiles and other similar conditions. Such code sections can deal can with the height and depth of stairs and steps, placement of handrails, types of materials that can or cannot be used and so on. In those situations, it if often important to obtain an engineer to take appropriate and accurate measurements, an expert of surface coatings to explain whether the flooring was unsafe, or other types of experts with the appropriate experience and knowledge to help establish your claim. With attorneys that have been practicing for more than twenty years, The Mercer Firm will use its knowledge and network of contacts to identify and find the right experts to build a forceful case for either an insurance adjuster or a jury.
The Mercer Firm will work relentlessly to help build your case and help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. We will identify all individuals or companies that bear responsibility for your injuries and will hire the experts needed to prove their fault. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will gather relevant testimony, demand preservation of evidence, help you manage your medical case, and document any and all losses that you suffer. The Mercer Firm will always attempt to negotiate a prompt and fair settlement for your injuries, and you can also be confident that we will take your claim to trial in front of a judge and jury when it is in your best interests. Act and call us now for a free, no risk consultation at 305-454-0274.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Your Injuries?
The facts of every case are different and there is not always a clear answer to that question. Florida law generally states that the property owner has what is called a non-delegable duty to keep its property in reasonably safe condition. Thus, the property owner is usually liable for slip and fall injuries on their property that are caused by negligence, even if they hire a third party to maintain the property in safe condition.
Florida law classifies individual visitors as 1) “invitees” (usually a business customer); 2) a licensee (typically a social guest); and 3) “trespassers”. Business invitees are entitled to the highest duty of care, as commercial property owners are required to regularly maintain and inspect their property for potential unsafe conditions. Licensees are owed a similar duty but are only required to warn of known dangers rather than to regularly inspect and maintain for potential unknown conditions that are dangerous to their visitors. Trespassers are entitled to far less protection under Florida law, but may also have a claim under certain conditions. As a result, you may be able to make a slip and fall against not only a commercial property or business, but also a private home or even a public park.
Additionally, there may be other individuals or companies that are also responsible for your injuries. In addition to the property owner, you may also have a claim against a business or company that is leasing space from the property owner if they were negligent. You may also have a claim against a third party such as a maintenance company hired by the property owner, a vendor stocking shelves at a grocery store, a governmental entity that was responsible for maintaining public spaces around the property, etc. The Mercer Firm injury attorneys have seen many different scenarios and have the experience and knowledge to be able to identify all potential Defendants that may have contributed to your injuries and damages.
What types of Injuries can I Claim for in a Slip & Fall Accident?
While many people tend to minimize slip and fall injuries, they can actually be incredibly serious. Among the injuries that have occurred form slip and fall accidents are:
- Neck and back injuries (soft tissue)
- Herniated spinal disks
- Broken bones (arms, legs, hips, etc.)
- Torn ligaments
- Meniscus Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you have suffered these or any other significant injuries due to a slip and fall accident and you believe the negligence of others contributed to your injuries, call The Mercer Firm right away for a free consultation at 303-454-0274. You can learn from our knowledge and experience with no obligation to you. We have the experience and know how to deal with these complicated issues and build a compelling case that insurers and property owners will minimize at their own peril.