Slip and Fall Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of accidents that occur in our daily lives. While everyone is vulnerable to a slip and fall accident, older adults are especially prone to injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 30 million slip and fall accidents involving adults over the age of 65 occur in the United States, and over 3 million of them require medical attention each day. One-fifth of these accidents result in some kind of serious harm.
Common slip and fall injuries include head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones, and falls are the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures. Unfortunately, the costs of these accidents can be astronomical. In 2015, medical costs associated with slip and fall accidents came to more than $50 billion, with Medicaid and Medicare covering over 75% of the costs.
If you slipped and fell and were injured as a result, a slip and fall lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help. We understand that an injury can be painful with long-lasting physical and financial repercussions. From medical bills to lost wages, the Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyers at Schlacter Law are here to help. We will work hard to help get you the compensation you need to get you back on your feet.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Fort Lauderdale
While there are times when an accident occurred because someone had a pre-existing medical or physical condition, more often than not, a fall occurred due to someone’s negligence to fix a dangerous situation. When someone fails to maintain their property or warn of a dangerous hazard in Fort Lauderdale, they may be liable for any injuries that result. Some common examples of conditions that lead to accidents include:
- Wet floors
- Slippery conditions
- Uneven surfaces
- Poorly labeled step-ups or step-downs
- Poor lighting
- Broken stair railings
- Uneven or broken stairs
- Unsecured items such as rugs or carpets
- Appliance cords
- Icy sidewalks or driveways
Wet floors and slippery conditions are some of the leading causes of slips and falls. When a surface fails to dry properly it can easily cause someone to fall. While the type of footwear a victim is wearing may contribute to a lack of grip, a property owner should attempt to clear wet surfaces or, at the very least, warn a passerby of the danger so that they can avoid the hazard.
Uneven surfaces can easily create danger by creating an incline or decline that a victim is unable to anticipate. Uneven surfaces can exist when flooring has worn down over years, when different surface materials touch each other, or by improper installation. Similar to a wet floor, the best way to avoid an uneven surface is to know it’s there, and it’s important that the hazard is labeled to avoid any dangers.
Poorly labeled step-ups and step-downs often contribute to slip and fall accidents. When different levels of a structure are connected, they can create the need to take a step higher or lower than the surface a victim is already standing on. Typically, this step-up or step-down is smaller than a stair’s step and can, therefore, be easy to miss. When improperly labeled a victim can easily overlook this type of hazard and stumble.
Proper lighting is essential in avoiding a slip and fall. Even when a hazard is not in a victim’s path, it is all too easy to wander into a dangerous or hazardous condition when there isn’t sufficient light to illuminate a path. This can be even more dangerous when a hazard is in the way. Even if a hazard is properly labeled, without the correct lighting to see the warning, an accident is bound to happen.
Stairways often contribute to slip and fall accidents. While it is important for anyone on a stairway to proceed with caution and take each step one at a time, there are other hazards on staircases that can cause serious injuries. This could include improperly secured railings, or hazards on a step such as loose carpet, a nail, or any other hazard in the path of someone using it. Combine this with poor lighting and an accident is just waiting to happen. Additionally, it is essential that each step is evenly spaced and securely installed. A broken stair can topple a victim over causing them to fall the entire length of the stairway.
Certain items should be properly secured so a victim is unable to move it. Things such as carpets and rugs can shift when anti-slip mats aren’t secured under them. Furniture that isn’t properly secured can cause a hazard when they move after someone grabs them for support, anticipating that they won’t move. Any item that is improperly secured can create a slip and fall hazard.
Most appliances today require an electrical cord to supply power. With the proliferation of extension cords, it’s all too easy to try and use the shortest path possible to get these cords to a power outlet. When a cord is improperly secured it can become a tripping hazard by catching on a victim’s shin or leg. And even when a cord sits flat on the floor, it can easily be kicked out of place and create a hazard.
Weather conditions can easily contribute to slip and fall accidents as well. Ice and snow in Fort Lauderdale, in particular, can create slippery conditions and fail to provide enough grip to prevent a fall. While Florida’s weather rarely falls below freezing, when it does, most residents are unprepared for the consequences. Even a small amount of frost can create a dangerously hazardous condition. Property owners should immediately remove any ice or snow as soon as possible and lay down sand or ice melt to create a better grip and increase the speed of ice melt. Snow should be shoveled from driveways and sidewalks soon after the storm ends. Failing to do so can lead to extremely slippery conditions and contribute to a fall.
Temperature changes outside can contribute to uneven or broken sidewalks and driveways. When even a little water gets into cracks and freezes, the expanding ice can cause large cracks, uneven surfaces, and potholes. Potholes are holes in driveways and roadways that are typically rather deep. Often, it’s difficult to determine how deep a pothole is, and stepping in one can cause a victim to fall over or even cause a sprain, fracture, or broken bone. Like most hazards, potholes should be properly identified or filled so a victim can avoid it.
There are numerous conditions that might contribute to a slip and fall accident. When these conditions are improperly labeled, the property owner may be liable for any injuries that result. If you were a victim of a slip and fall and sustained an injury, call a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer today. The slip and fall lawyers at Schlacter Law will work hard to help you get compensation for your injuries.
Who is Liable After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Liability for a slip and fall accident will depend on the conditions that led to the accident. Generally, a property owner owes a duty to visitors to have their property clear of any known hazards, and if a hazard does exist, it should be properly labeled as such so a potential victim can avoid it.
Business owners, in particular, should be sure their business is free and clear of any hazards that can cause an injury. Failing to do so can make them liable under a personal injury lawsuit. The doctrine of premises liability would apply. Premises liability defines the duty of care a property owner owes to someone on their property, and this duty of care varies depending on the classification of visitor they are.
There are three general classifications of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. As the name suggests, an invitee is someone who was invited onto someone’s property. A business invitee is someone invited onto a property to benefit the property owner. Businesses owe business invitees the highest duty of care. This would require them to keep their property free and clear of any known hazards and properly warn of any dangerous conditions. There may be limits placed on this duty, such as areas on their property not open to the public. For example, if someone shops in a supermarket but wanders into an area labeled “employees only” and slips and falls on a slippery surface, the property owner’s liability might be limited since it was an area not open to the public.
There are other contributing factors that may reduce a business owner’s liability following a slip and fall. For example, if an accident victim failed to pay attention to their surroundings or if a victim failed to wear footwear appropriate for the conditions, the business owner’s liability may be reduced. Additionally, when a hazard is properly labeled and cordoned off, and a visitor ignores the warnings, the property owner’s liability might also be reduced. Liability may also be reduced if a dangerous condition is so obvious that it should have been evident to the victim that there was a dangerous condition.
When a victim contributed to an injury the amount of compensation available to them might be reduced. Florida is a contributory negligence state. This means that any award for compensation following a slip and fall accident would be reduced by the percentage the victim contributed to the accident. Fortunately, this might not completely bar recovery of compensation. Even in cases where a victim is more than 50% responsible for their injuries, recovery may be available.
Understanding liability following a slip and fall accident can be complicated. If you were injured in an accident, a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer can help. With a deep understanding of premises liability law in slip and fall accidents, a slip and fall lawyer can help determine who might be liable following an accident. Call today for a consultation.
Statutes of Limitations
It is important to note that Florida places a limit on the amount of time a victim of a slip and fall accident can file a lawsuit in court to seek compensation. This is known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit for negligence is four years. If a slip and fall victim fails to file their lawsuit within this four-year window, a lawsuit might be barred from proceeding, and no compensation would be available.
Dealing with statutes of limitations is extremely important. Failing to meet important deadlines can result in a case being dismissed, eliminating the ability to recover compensation. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to contact a slip and fall lawyer sooner rather than later. A slip and fall accident lawyer will work hard to ensure that no deadline is overlooked and will help you get as much compensation as possible. Call today for a consultation.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I am partly responsible for an accident?
Even if a Fort Lauderdale accident victim was partly responsible for their injuries they may still be able to recover compensation. The doctrine of comparative negligence is followed in Florida and would reduce the amount of compensation by the percentage of responsibility attributed to the victim. In cases where the injury victim was found to be 20% at fault, then any compensation they would have received would be reduced by 20%. This means that some compensation might still be possible. Call a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall injury lawyer today, so we can help evaluate any potential award.
What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
Fortunately, most fee arrangements for these types of cases would pay an attorney through a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer gets paid only if they are successful in getting you compensation. This fee arrangement would pay the lawyer between 33.33% and 40% of any money they get on your behalf and allows them to initiate a claim without you having to pay anything at the onset. If you’re concerned about being able to afford a slip and fall accident attorney, call the Fort Lauderdale slip and fall law firm today so we can assist you with getting you the money you need to move on from an injury.
How much compensation can I expect to receive?
There is no easy way to calculate the potential for compensation. A Fort Lauderdale falling injury lawyer would need to examine the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident to help figure out what types of compensation may be available. This might include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today for a consultation so we can start the process of getting you the money you deserve.