Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and falls can occur anywhere. Some are from our own carelessness, some from the negligence of others. Property owners that are open to the public owe a duty of care to keep the property safe. They are required to maintain the premises for guests, customers or anyone visiting their location. Some property owners fail to keep the public safe and often neglect their duties as owners. If you have suffered an injury due to a slip and fall in Palm Beach County, Florida, that was the result of the property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. Not every slip and fall will result in monetary damages. However, it is important that if you suffered any type of injury from a fall that you consult with a West Palm Beach Slip and Fall lawyer so that it can be determined whether you have an actionable claim.
Act Now! Call Your Palm Beach County Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
In Palm Beach County and throughout Florida, there is a maximum of four (4) years to bring a lawsuit. This is your statute of limitations. If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, it is important to document your injury and begin treatment. Take lots of photos and videos of the location and injury. Acquire names, address, emails and phone numbers to potential witnesses. A West Palm Beach slip and fall lawyer will assess your case and prepare a strategy to maximize the compensation for your injury. If you have any questions, contact the Law Offices of Roger P. Foley to discuss your options regarding your Palm Beach County slip and fall case. Call us today, we offer free, no-obligation consultations! 561-746-7076
5 Things You Need to Know About Slip and Fall in Palm Beach County, Florida
- Slip and Fall is a claim of Negligence
- Duty and breach
Any claim against a property owner is a claim for negligence. The plaintiff is stating in their legal claim that they were injured through the negligence of the defendant.
The injured party must prove that the owner had a duty to keep them safe and they breached that duty.
- Actual Knowledge
- Constructive Knowledge
The owner of the property actually sees or learns of the potential hazard and fails to act. This can be difficult to prove because the owner will likely deny knowledge.
When the owner of the property is aware, or should have been aware, of a known or foreseeable hazard that has occurred over a length of time, is avoidable, but still did not correct the hazard. This is known as constructive knowledge. It is often proved through circumstantial evidence.
To be successful in a slip and fall you must prove the breach of duty caused you to be injured and as a result of that injury you now have an economic loss.
If you suffer a slip and fall in Palm Beach County or anywhere in Florida, then you have four (4) years from the fall to file a legal claim. Delay decreases the amount you receive.
The defendant in a slip and fall claim will likely argue comparative negligence. In other words, they are saying it was partially your fault thereby reducing the amount you are entitled to be paid.
Example of comparative negligence would be that you fell because you weren’t paying attention. Had you been paying attention; the hazard would have been obvious. Your contributory negligence accounts for sixty percent of the accident. If that is accurate you would only receive an $40,000 on a $100,000 award. It as an offset against your actual damages.
In summary, Florida law requires you to prove:
- You fell because of some hazard, i.e., water on floor.
- It was on the property of another.
- The hazard was dangerous.
- The property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard.
- They should have corrected the hazard but they did not.
Why Do You Need to Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer?
Some may say that no lawyer is needed. They will say the case is simple. Maybe the property owner told you they would help you out with your medical bills and now the insurance company is reaching out. Just do it yourself. Sure, that is a remote possibility but you don’t know the law. Insurance companies employ trained negotiators. They are seasoned warriors that battle attorneys every day. They hear you telling them you deserve X amount. Think about it, do you think they will just hand over the money and apologize?
No, the insurance company and the property owner will find ways to blame you. They will argue that you were careless, not paying attention, that the hazard was open and obvious. They may say that it was entirely your fault. Without a doubt, the property owner will deny knowledge of the hazard. Even if, it can be shown that a hazard existed, they will say they took reasonable steps to correct the situation. That is all they need to defeat you claim and they may even convince you to sign a release of liability.
A Palm Beach County Slip and Fall attorney that practices plaintiff personal injury will have the training, knowledge and experience to not accept the defenses alleged and will work to disprove them. They are excellent negotiators. They can evaluate your slip and fall accident and provide you with options. They can assist you in finding medial assistance. They will attack the case and look out for your best interests. They will do all the work and increase your chances of being fairly compensated for your injuries. They only get paid if they are successful.
Please contact the slip and fall attorneys at The Law Office of Roger P. Foley at 561-746-7076 for a free case evaluation. If hired, we will work up your case so that liability and damages are clear to ensure that you receive maximum compensation. If the insurance company does not want to provide a fair settlement, we can litigate your case.
Common Areas Where Slip and Fall Occur
All areas that are open to the public have a duty to maintain the property and keep it safe for its visitors. Although property owners and staff are aware of this duty, they fail to maintain the property causing hazards that may lead to a slip and fall. The most common areas were slip and falls occur are:
- Retail stores
- Shopping malls
- Grocery stores
- Public restrooms
- Bars and restaurants
- Construction areas
- Amusement parks
- Parking garage
- Private residence
- Wet floors
- Inadequate lighting
- Items left out in walkways
- Loose carpet
- Warped or broken tiles
- Loose floorboards
- Lack of warning signs
- Hand railing not properly secured
Common Injuries in Slip and Fall Head injuries
During a fall, one may hit their head on the ground. The blow could result in a concussion. The impact of the skull hitting a solid surface may also cause a brain bruise or contusion. A hit to the head can equally cause a hematoma where blood vessels can bleed and form a blood clot. Doctors refer to this as a hematoma and it may lead to pressure on the brain. Pressure on the brain is a very serious condition and could lead to death. Head injuries should always be taken seriously and medical attention should seek immediately.
Anyone can slip and fall, however older adults have a higher chance of breaking a hip, arm, leg or wrist. Broken bone may also be referred to as a fracture. There are different types of bone fractured: Compression fracture, stress fracture, growth plate fracture, greenstick fracture, buckle or Torus fracture, and comminuted. In order to diagnosis a fracture you must consult a medical doctor. An x-ray is the easiest way to find out. Depending on the severity of the break, you may or may not need surgery and healing times vary.
Back and spinal cord injuries
A slip and fall injury can result in mild bruise or paralysis in severe back cases. The spine is a critical part of the human anatomy. Muscles line the back and attach to the vertebrae; if the muscle is torn or bruised it can cause spasm which misaligns the vertebrae. In between the vertebrae are disks that can rupture or herniate. Another common back injury with the elderly is a compression fracture. Any back or spinal injury can cause mobility issues and force you to be confined to a bed and in serious cases can cause paralysis.
During a slip and fall it is possible to dislocate a shoulder or break a collar bone. A fall can also cause you to tear a rotator cuff. These types of injures are painful. When you have a shoulder injury it affects your everyday life because you may not be able to use your arm. You may not be able to turn the knob on a door. You may not be able to drive. A shoulder injury is debilitating.
Sprains and torn ligaments
Muscles, tendons and ligaments are often hurt while playing sports but can easily occur during a slip and fall. When these parts of your body are injured, they are often referred to as a soft tissue injury. A sprained ankle or wrist is most common type of sprain. When you hear of torn ligaments it is usually in your knee but you can tear a ligament in other locations of the human body. If you fail to treat a soft tissue injury you will feel increased pain and loss of movement. If you slip and fall, and believe you have sprained or torn ligament, do not wait. Seek medical advice.
Types of Compensations
There are three different types of damages in personal injury cases in Florida. Tangible evidence are the bills related to your slip and falls are referred to as economic damages. Lost wages are also considered economic. The second type of compensation is non-economic damages and the courts have ruled that there is no cap or limit that can be awarded on this portion of your claim.
- Economic damages
- Medical bills
- Hospital visits
- Doctor visits
- Future Lost wages
- Non-economic damages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
Another type of non-economic damages is punitive damages. A judge or jury can award punitive damages but they are more difficult to acquire in a personal injury case. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant in a civil suit when their misconduct was intentional (malice) or grossly negligent, meaning they were so reckless that it constituted a conscious disregard for others. See Florida statute 768.72.
Law Office of Roger P. Foley Can Help With Your Slip and Fall Injury in Palm Beach County, Florida
After a serious slip and fall injury, you are in pain and your mind is stressed. As experienced personal injury attorneys dealing with slip and fall cases, we are here to help you get paid for your injuries. Our consultations are free; call our law firm when you have been a victim of a slip and fall injury. Our personal injury office is located at 1555 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 1555, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401. Call us at (561)746-7076.