When you fall on someone's Sarasota, Florida property, it's often painful and embarrassing. Falls cause injuries ranging from simple bruises to catastrophic brain trauma. Despite injuries and pain, embarrassment often controls your immediate response. Instead of scanning the area to understand what happened, you register embarrassment. If you can stand up, you may decide to get away before someone notices you. Even if a premises defect or adverse condition caused your fall, embarrassment often encourages you to walk away instead of getting the facts. When you're injured in a slip and fall accident, it's important to think through your priorities before you walk away. You should focus on getting proper medical attention. If possible, you should gather enough information for Sarasota Slip and Fall Attorney to hold the responsible parties accountable.
- Figure out what happened.
- Take a few pictures with your cell to document any property defects.
- If possible, report the incident to the property owner.
- Get the medical attention you need.
- Never, ever say, “It's my fault.”
People of all ages fall when they're walking down the street or climbing the stairs. Slip and falls cause injuries on playgrounds, on the sidewalk, in public areas, and in work environments. Fall-related injuries often require extensive medical treatment. Injured victims must manage medical costs, lost income, and long term disabilities. Instead of walking away, you must take steps to protect your legal rights.
Negligent Property Owners Should Pay
Once you receive the appropriate medical attention, protecting your legal rights should be task number one on your to-do list. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA should be your first call. Despite defects, poor maintenance, and other premises issues, property owners often blame the slip and fall victim for their injuries. Their insurance companies often compound the injustice by defending the property owner based on no-liability assumptions. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we understand that slip and fall cases are sometimes an uphill battle. Our personal injury attorneys work hard to protect you and your legal rights. We do everything in our power to make negligent property owners pay. Our law firm handles cases for injured victims only and we've recovered millions for our clients. Our experience has given us a strong working knowledge of legal issues, evidence, and courtroom presentation. Our firm has the investigative skills and the resources to prepare our clients' cases for success. Compassion for our clients is at the heart of everything we do. We've gotten to know each injured victim and their family so we could understand how their injuries affected their life. We've always understood that money couldn't take away our clients' injuries. Still, each settlement helped ease the personal and financial struggles that followed when a life-changing injury occurred.
Our Law Firm's Results
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our success has taught us that investigation, preparation, and experience are the keys to winning a legal confrontation. In recovering damages for our clients, our attorneys have carefully reviewed the evidence and the relevant legal issues. We've developed a thorough understanding of our clients' injuries and learned how an accident changed their lives. We've relied on knowledge gained from experience to deliver the best possible outcomes. We've negotiated our clients' settlements when property owners and their insurance companies responded reasonably. Our lawyers have resolved cases during mediation and through other alternative resolution forums. When litigation became our only reasonable option, we've had no problem presenting our clients' cases before a judge and jury. Each slip and fall case involves unique circumstances and distinctive injuries. While we can't guarantee a specific outcome, our case results demonstrate our firm's commitment to winning fair settlements and verdicts for our clients—including a slip and fall case where the defendants denied liability for poor parking lot maintenance. Our attorneys eventually settled our clients' claim for $300,000.
Slip and Falls Happen Everywhere
You won't see slip and fall statistics on the local news, but the casualty numbers are staggering.
- The Florida Health Department lists falls as the number one cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for residents age 65 and older.
- In Florida, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for all ages.
- Safe Kids Florida addresses fall and concussion prevention as part of an initiative to reduce unintentional childhood injuries.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists falls as the number one cause of construction-related fatalities nationwide.
When a slip and fall occurs, it's usually a sudden, unexpected event. Serious falls happen when a property owner fails to maintain walkways, driveways, and other common areas. Property owners allow injuries to occur when they know a hazard exists but fail to warn others. Slip and falls occur in many areas and on many types of properties.
- Parking lots and garages
- Walkways and sidewalks
- Malls, shopping centers, and retail stores
- Single-family homes and apartment complexes
- Restaurants and entertainment venues
- Hotels and motels
- Sports arenas and stadiums
- Construction sites
- Commercial office buildings
- Amusement parks and green spaces
Slip and Fall Injuries on the Job
Falls are a major cause of OSHA-documented on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Employees fall at construction sites and in factories and offices. They fall from elevated working platforms and equipment, and on ground-level walking surfaces. Injured employees may sustain minor injuries, but others may encounter life-threatening, catastrophic conditions that prevent them from working again. A fall at work adds another layer of legal complexity to a slip and fall claim. Even if an employer causes or contributes to your injury, Worker's Compensation coverage fulfills their legal responsibility for medical bills and lost wages. That doesn't prevent you from making a claim for damages when a non-employer injures you on the job. Our personal injury attorneys can determine if you have a legal right to recover additional damages under these and other work-related circumstances.
- A non-employer, independent contractor or other entity causes your injuries.
- You sustained injuries while using a defective product manufactured by another company.
- You were injured because of a premises defect or maintenance issue on someone else's property.
Slip and Fall Injuries
The term slip and fall makes a potentially catastrophic event seem like a simple mishap. The term encompasses falls to hard surfaces, falls from one elevation to another, and falls down staircases. Slip and falls may cause minor problems such as bruises and abrasions, but are also capable of inflicting serious injuries. Young children and seniors are physically frail and particularly susceptible to life-threatening conditions. People of all ages sustain serious fall-related injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Statistics from the National Brain Injury problems database show that falls caused 27 percent of inpatient TBI injuries. People who sustain severe brain injuries struggle with consciousness issues from which they may never recover.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries cause paralysis, partial paralysis, and loss of bodily functions. The potential for impairment varies depending on the injury location and severity. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that approximately 17,700 SCIs occur each year. 31.6 percent of the injuries they track are fall-related.
- Serious/multiple fractures: Falls cause fractures in victims of all ages. As with many conditions, seniors often experience significant long-term complications from hip, pelvis, and other serious fractures. In 2017, 2,817 Florida seniors age 65 and over died because of fall-related injuries. Child slip and fall victims sometimes sustain growth plate injuries which require focused, long-term treatment.
- Damaged internal organs: Organs sometimes sustain damage when a person falls to a hard surface or from one level to another. Abdominal organ damage is often a result of pelvic and spinal fractures.
Who Will Pay for My Slip and Fall Injuries?
A Sarasota property owner may owe for your damages when they cause a safety issue, fail to correct an unsafe situation, or fail to warn of an existing hazard or defect. If a property owner hires an independent contractor, security agency, or maintenance contractor to perform some of their duties, they may share liability if they cause or fail to remedy a hazard. Florida courts assess liability for premises-related injuries based on the injured person's status when the injury occurs. When you enter a person's property, you are either an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Your status determines the property owner's duty to protect you.
- An Invitee: When a property owner invites or otherwise encourages you to enter their property, they owe you the highest duty of care. As an invitee, a property owner must take reasonable care to protect you from harm. They must keep their property safe and warn you of hidden dangers.
- A licensee: As a licensee, you enter a property without a specific invitation. Courts acknowledge that an owner nonetheless owes a licensee a standard of care to safeguard against hazardous conditions.
- A trespasser: If you have no legal right to be on a person's property, the owner has no duty to keep the premises safe or warn of hidden dangers. However, an owner can still not intentionally create harmful conditions to endanger trespassers, such as setting traps that might injure someone.
What Damages Can I Recover for My Slip and Fall Injuries?
Injury settlements include three damage categories: Economic, noneconomic, and Punitive. Economic damages include incurred and future costs for treatment and recovery. When a physician anticipates ongoing treatment and income losses, an economic expert can project future costs. Economic damages include:
- Emergency room treatment
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Medical transportation costs
- Mobility devices and prostheses
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Physician and surgeon fees
- Replacement services
- Scar revision procedures
Noneconomic damages are a bit more complicated to assess. This portion of an award for damages includes dollar values for an injured person's psychological and emotional trauma, and other subjective injuries.
- Permanent impairments and limitations
- Pain and suffering
- Lost bodily functions
- Losses to spousal and family relationships
- Lifestyle changes
- Anxiety and emotional distress
Courts award punitive damages when a defendant's acts warrant punishment. An injured plaintiff may recover punitive damages under Florida §768.72. The statute requires that you present clear and convincing evidence that the plaintiff committed “intentional misconduct or gross negligence.”
How Our Sarasota Slip and Fall Lawyers Successfully Pursue Slip and Fall Claims
Some property owners' insurance companies take a strong stance on defending slip and fall cases, although they don't always clarify their true defense position. An insurance company won't always deny liability outright. Some claim departments simply investigate slip and fall cases and close out their files if you don't demand a settlement. Others pay your medical bills as a “goodwill gesture” then wait for the statute of limitations to run. These goodwill payments aren't necessarily a settlement offer. Insurance companies often pay bills under a property owner's Medical Payments coverage. Premises Med Pay reimburses your medical bills regardless of fault, but the payments often discourage injured people from initiating legal action. Before you accept an insurance company's offer to pay your medical bills, discuss the situation with one of our legal representatives. Insurance companies also avoid paying the full value of an injury claim by negotiating unfairly. If they can't resolve a claim within a low settlement range, they sometimes defend the case in court. They understand that some injured victims would rather accept a low-dollar settlement than deal with costly time-consuming litigation. Insurance companies and their representatives also defend cases in court. They often rely on affirmative defenses to reduce or eliminate their liability exposures.
- No negligence: Property owners and their insurance companies defend cases by alleging they did nothing wrong.
- Status on premises: A property owner alleges that the injured person was a trespasser or a licensee. Either of these statuses reduces a property owner's duties to a visitor on their premises.
- Visible warning: If a property owner posted a visible warning of an existing hazard, it diminishes their responsibility for a slip and fall injury.
- Comparative negligence: Under Florida's pure Comparative Fault Statute, 768.81, a jury or insurance company reduces your settlement by your negligence percentage. Property owners and their insurance carriers can limit their responsibility for damages if they produce evidence that you contributed to your own injuries. They may allege you wore inappropriate shoes, weren't wearing your glasses or were under the influence of medication or alcohol.
- Damages: Defendants sometimes allege that the injured victim sustained some or all of their injuries elsewhere.
Our slip and fall attorneys have extensive experience in holding property owners, insurance companies, and their representatives accountable in court. We investigate each case and present the evidence to overcome challenging defense strategies.
Call Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's Sarasota Slip and Fall Lawyers Now
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Accident Injury Lawyers provide legal services from offices on both Florida coasts. We have dedicated our legal experience and firm resources to recovering millions of dollars in damages for our clients. We'd like to determine if we can help you. You can reach us at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or complete our contact form online to schedule a free consultation. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA - Sarasota Office 6703 14th Street West; Suite 207 Bradenton, FL 34207 (941) 220-0343