Slip & Fall/Trip & Fall Injuries
The Villages Slip and Fall Lawyers
Each year hospital emergency rooms see eight million slip and fall or trip and fall accident cases across the United States. Ten percent of people visiting hospital emergency departments following a slip or trip and fall – approximately 800,000 people – end up being admitted to the hospital. One out of five victims of a fall end up with broken bones or a serious head injury. In fact, falling is the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are also the leading cause of injury-related deaths for senior adults aged 65 and older. Overall, slips, trips and falls cause 15 percent of all accidental deaths and are second only to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accident-induced fatalities. Slips, trips and fall injuries also make up almost 20 percent of all on-the-job injuries, resulting in businesses losing productivity and workers losing income.
Not surprisingly, slip and fall or trip and fall injuries are extremely costly. Medical costs nationwide in 2015 alone for these types of injuries exceeded $70 billion, and it is expected that this number is continuing to rise.
People who are injured after falling can be left with extremely high medical bills to pay, exorbitant costs associated with rehabilitation and possibly long-term care, and the financial fallout from being either temporarily or permanently out of work.
What Is a Slip & Fall/Trip & Fall Injury?
When a person slips and falls or trips and falls due to the carelessness of another person or business, a slip and fall or trip and fall accident has occurred.
While anyone can have a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, in order for a slip and fall case to be valid, another party’s negligence must have caused the accident. Under Florida Premises Liability law, anyone who owns or is legally responsible for a business or residence can be held legally accountable for foreseeable injuries that occur on their property.
To prove negligence it must be shown that the property owner knew or should have known about the problem or hazard and did nothing to rectify it. The Villages slip and fall lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help accident victims in The Villages and any surrounding areas recover monetary damages by filing a slip and fall or trip and fall accident claim.
Causes of Slip & Fall Accidents
Unfortunate accidents can happen all the time due to negligent property owners. Slip and fall accidents can be caused by a variety of factors including broken stairwells, leaky roofs, cracked tiles and much more. Florida property owners are required by law to properly secure premises and surrounding areas so that the property is reasonably safe for all visitors or passersby.
Property owners also have a duty to provide reasonable property maintenance that includes examining, preserving and restoring all dangerous areas routinely. In addition, property owners must warn guests or visitors of any potential hazards that could cause an individual to slip and fall. Should a property owner fail to reasonably upkeep the premise or warn others of hidden dangers, they could be held liable for a slip and fall or trip and fall accident.
Common causes of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are:
- Recently mopped or waxed flooring
- Spilled liquids
- Potholes on roads or in parking lots
- Splashed grease or oil
- Loose floorboards, rugs or mats
- Uneven flooring
- Uneven sidewalks, cobblestones or pavement
- Cords running across walkways
- Unsafe stair rails
- Falling debris
- Blocked or too narrow store aisles
- Items falling from shelves
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate roof structures or balconies
Steps to Take After a Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall
If you are involved in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, The Villages slip and fall lawyers can help you make sure that your needs are taken care of and that all relevant evidence is preserved. The following are general steps every slip and fall and trip and fall victim should consider:
See a Doctor First
Do not delay in seeing a doctor after your fall. Some people’s injuries after a fall are obvious, and may include bruises, cuts, sprains, broken bones, and bumps to the head. Because other injuries might not reveal themselves right away, do not assume that just because you don’t feel pain immediately following a fall that you are not injured. What might seem light a slight bump to the head could be a concussion. Other symptoms, such as those associated with neck injuries or bruising, might not show up until some time after the fall. It is important that a medical professional assess your condition and document any injuries immediately following a fall, as well as in days and weeks afterward.
Observe and Document Relevant Information About the Fall Environment
If you can, right after your slip and fall or trip and fall, take a careful look around the environment where your fall occurred for issues that likely contributed to your fall. Do you notice a lack of lighting? Is the floor wet and/or slippery? Are the aisles narrow or crowded? Is there debris on the ground? Do you see any cracks in the pavement? Does the flooring appear uneven? Try to notice any other flaws in the flooring or hazardous matters that could have contributed to your slip and/or trip and fall. Be sure to take notes and pictures if possible.
When Appropriate, Make a Report of the Incident
In cases where your fall occurs in a public building such as a store, mall or office, ask any employees present if you can fill out an incident report with the manager. Note the time and date of the fall and ask if the facility has a security camera that might have recorded your fall.
Get Contact Information of Witnesses
If anyone stops to help you or witnesses your fall, be sure to ask for their contact information. Also ask any witnesses if they have taken any photographs of the premises where you fell and if you can have copies of them.
Do Not Speak With the Property Owner or Their Representative
In some cases following a slip or trip and fall, the owner of the property or their insurance representative might try to contact you directly. It is advisable to consult with The Villages slip and fall lawyers before speaking to anyone other than a medical professional about your fall.
Liability for Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall Accidents
If your slip and fall or trip and fall injury was due to another’s negligence, you can hold them responsible for the damages you incur as a result of your fall.
Under Florida law, all landowners owe others the duty to use reasonable care to prevent the occurrence of injury on their property. The type of duty is owed to a particular person depends on whether or not the person was invited to be on the property.
When you enter another’s property, you enter it as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
- An invitee is someone who is either invited to be on the property in question for a purpose connected with the landowner’s business or is a member of the public who is on the property for a purpose for which the property is open to the public. Examples of invitees are retail shoppers at a store or mall, visitors to public buildings or parks, and a salesman invited to a professional office to demonstrate a product.
- A licensee can be either invited or uninvited. An invited licensee is invited to be on the property by the landowner or property manager as a social guest. An uninvited licensee is not an invited guest, but is not an unexpected one either. An invited licensee would be a friend who comes to your home for dinner. An example of an uninvited licensee is a courier delivery service person.
- A trespasser is a person who has no legal right to be on the property.
Generally speaking, the landowner or person managing the property owes the highest duty of care to invitees and invited licensees, and a much lower duty of care to uninvited licensees, and almost no duty of care, other than refraining from willful or wanton injury, for trespassers.
Whether and to what extent the landowner in your case owed you a duty of care is a legal and factual question that The Villages slip and fall lawyers can assess based on the particular circumstances of your case.
Recovering Damages for Slip & Fall Injuries
If you are injured in a slip & fall or trip & fall accident due to the negligence of the property owner or the person responsible for the upkeep of the property, The Villages slip and fall lawyers can help you determine the amount of damages you may be entitled to receive as compensation for your injuries.
Compensatory damages fall into two types: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages consist of the actual monetary losses you incur as a result of the slip and all accident. They are objectively verifiable monetary losses.
Non-economic damages are also actual losses, but they are not as easily verifiable as they depend on how you feel and what you have lost or suffered from a subjective quality-of-life perspective.
You are entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses: These include all your doctors visits and hospital bills, as well as what you can reasonably anticipate spending on medical matters such as physical therapy or medical transportation in the future. Your medical expenses following a slip and fall accident could last a lifetime, especially if you had a brain or spine injury. Some typical long-term costs include skilled nursing care and the cost of medical equipment.
- Loss of wages: You could be out of work for an extended period of time following your accident. You are entitled to compensation for the income you lost as a result of your inability to work following your accident.
- Job loss and lost business opportunities: It is possible that you could either lose your job as the result of your slip and fall or trip and fall accident or no longer be able to work due to your injuries. In addition, you might have lost business opportunities due to the accident. In either case, you are entitled to receive compensation for your lost earnings due to short-term or permanent job loss.
- Pain and suffering: If you experienced physical pain and suffering as a result of your fall, you should be able to receive compensation for the discomfort you experienced. You are also entitled to be compensated for any ongoing pain that can be attributed to the accident. Further, emotional issues that arise following an accident – such as anxiety and fear or sleep deprivation – are legitimate concerns for which you can be compensated.
The Villages slip and fall lawyers can help you isolate your claims for both economic and non-economic damages following your accident and determine what compensation you might be entitled to.
Contact The Villages Slip and Fall Lawyers at Whittel & Melton
Regardless of the details associated with your slip and fall or trip and fall accident, it is always best to speak with The Villages slip and fall lawyers before speaking to the property owner or talking to any representatives from the property owner’s insurance company. It is important to understand that an insurance company’s only goal is to talk you into accepting a minimal settlement when you actually could be entitled to much more.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, contact Whittel & Melton today online or in The Villages at 352-369-5334. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your convenience, so contact us anytime, day or night. We seek a fair settlement in every case and are always prepared to fight for you in court. Remember, our representation costs you nothing until you are compensated for your injuries.