Slip and Fall Accident Attorney in Lakeland, FL
An unsafe condition or unaddressed hazard can easily cause someone to slip or trip and fall, and could result in severe injuries, and even death – especially in older adults. A slip and fall accident can also cause significant financial stress as medical bills pile up and the victim can’t work.
If your slip and fall accident occurred on someone else’s property due to their carelessness, you may be able to pursue a claim for financial compensation to cover your losses.
At Brooks Law Group, our slip and fall attorneys in Florida understand that the Florida legal system can be complex and daunting for accident victims without legal experience. Our team can take on the legal challenge and help you seek the justice that you deserve.
To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free case review.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the legal concept that the owner or occupant of a property has a duty to keep the area safe for visitors. Property owners and other responsible parties should know about unsafe conditions on their property and take steps to repair any hazards. They should also warn visitors to their property about any unsafe conditions.
In Florida, visitors are placed into one of three categories based on their reasons for visiting a property. Property owners have different responsibilities toward each of these categories.
- Invitees are visitors who enter a property for the economic benefit of the property owner. They include customers in retail stores and contractors the owner hires. Invitees are owed the highest level of care. Property owners must routinely inspect their property for hazards, fix the hazards in a timely manner, and warn invitees about any potential hazards.
- Licensees are visitors who enter a property for their own benefit. They include houseguests or someone who enters an office to make a sales call. Licensees are owed a slightly lesser duty of care than invitees. Property owners must warn licensees about any potential hazards but are not responsible for inspecting for hazards or repairing them.
- Trespassers have entered a property without permission. Property owners must refrain from causing willful harm toward a trespasser, but otherwise, owe no duty of care to trespassers. The exception to this rule concerns trespassing children who may not be aware of the inherent risks of attractive nuisances like swimming pools. Property owners must secure risks like these to prevent children from getting hurt.
A premises liability lawyer will be able to help you determine what category of visitor you fall into and whether the property owner’s actions constitute negligence.
Compensation Available for Slip and Fall Victims
If you are able to prove that the property owner was negligent and caused your injuries, you could be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. These damages are meant to compensate you for all the losses you incurred as a result of the accident. Your lawyer will be able to calculate the full extent of your damages to seek the compensation you deserve.
Economic damages are any losses with a set monetary value. Economic damages may include compensation for:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earnings and earning capacity
The pain and the consequences of a traumatic accident can be emotional as well as physical. You may be awarded compensation for non-economic damages, including:
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship or care
- Punitive damages
Determining the amount of compensation for emotional pain and suffering is very subjective and often disputed. A lawyer will be an essential resource if you wish to recover non-economic damages.
It is important to note that under Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws, your share of the blame for the accident will affect the compensation you recover. The amount of compensation awarded to you will be reduced by your percentage of fault, if any.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Florida
There is a wide variety of hazards that could cause injuries in a slip and fall accident. Some causes for these accidents are more common than others, such as:
- Liquids on the ground in high-traffic areas
- Uneven surfaces
- Insufficient lighting
- Lack of railings and grab bars
- Poor construction of steps
- Torn or ripped carpet
- Broken floors or loose floorboards
- Building code violations
- Defective sidewalks
- Parking area potholes
- Cluttered floors
Each case is unique, and a professional Florida slip and fall attorney can sort through the details to determine how the accident occurred and who was at fault.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt on Someone Else’s Property
Experiencing the trauma of an accident can leave you shocked and wondering what to do. Here are some steps to take after you have been injured on someone else’s property:
- Seek medical attention. Accept emergency medical treatment and transport if necessary. Even if you don’t go to the emergency room, be sure to get a thorough medical exam as soon as possible. Keep up with your treatment plan as directed by your doctors, and hold on to all medical documentation, including bills.
- Do not admit fault. Do not apologize for the accident or say that you are fine.
- Take pictures. Take as many pictures of the hazard that caused your fall as possible. Record a video if it is convenient.
- Get witness names and contact information.
- Contact a lawyer. Speak with a Florida premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Brooks Law Group can help you to decide your next step.
If you are unable to take any of these steps yourself, ask a friend or family member to do so for you. Evidence can disappear quickly, especially if the hazard was something easy to fix like a spill. Contact a lawyer for help as soon as possible if you were unable to gather this evidence in time.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Accident
Despite what they may say to you, insurance companies are not on your side. They are businesses that maximize profits by paying as little money as possible to injury victims. They have many tricks and tactics that they will use to try to minimize their payments to you, or even blame you for the accident entirely.
For the best results in dealing with insurance companies following an accident, follow these tips:
- DO NOT speak directly with any insurance representative. Direct all calls from insurance companies to your lawyer. Even short, seemingly casual conversations with insurance adjusters could result in you saying something that damages your case.
- DO NOT accept a settlement without speaking to your lawyer. Insurers will typically offer you the lowest amount possible and convince you that you don’t have enough of a case to receive a higher amount. Even if the initial offer seems like a lot, it very likely does not include compensation for future expenses, non-economic damages, and other losses that should be part of the settlement. A lawyer will be able to evaluate any offer that an insurance company makes and advise you whether it is acceptable.
- DO NOT admit fault. Even apologizing for the accident could be twisted into an admission of fault. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, your award will be reduced in accordance with how much fault you are assigned, so it is essential that you don’t say anything that could suggest you contributed to your injuries.
It is extremely risky to say anything at all to an insurance representative. It is best to insulate yourself from making mistakes by hiring an attorney with experience dealing with insurance adjusters. They can handle all communications on your behalf, while you focus on your recovery.
Florida Premises Liability Cases Beyond Slips and Falls
There are many other types of premises liability cases beyond just slip and fall accidents. The lawyers at Brooks Law Group have successfully handled premises liability claims involving many different types of accidents.
Other common types of premises liability accidents include:
- Animal attacks – Dog bites are a frequent cause of injury in Florida.
- Structural collapses – When a deck, porch, roof, or other structure on the property collapses and injures visitors, the property owner could be held liable.
- Swimming pool accidents – People, especially children, can drown when property owners do not properly fence their pools, clean them, or provide adequate lifeguards.
- Amusement park accidents – Rollercoaster accidents and other accidents at amusement parks such as Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Busch Gardens can cause severe injuries.
- Negligent security – Failure to protect patrons and visitors from criminal acts, such as inadequate lighting and parking, could result in a premises liability claim.
You could encounter hazardous conditions anywhere. Dangerous conditions can be caused by any type of poor maintenance and disrepair, such as slippery or cracked floors, uneven or broken sidewalks or steps, broken handrails, falling merchandise, contaminated food or pool water, malfunctioning elevators, escalators, smoke alarms, and other building code violations.
Let our experienced attorneys at Brooks Law Group listen to your case and decide together how to hold the negligent property owner accountable for their failure to keep you safe while visiting their premises. Don’t pay for someone else’s negligence.
Time Limits on Premises Liability Claims in Florida
Under Florida’s statute of limitations, the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit against a property owner is four years after the accident occurred on the property. If the deadline is missed, then your case will be dismissed, unless a rare exception applies for an extension. A Florida premises liability lawyer can get your paperwork done correctly and filed on time.
The same deadline applies to lawsuits to file over property damage that was caused by the accident.
The sooner you file the claim, the more time you will have to build a case and negotiate with insurance adjusters and the defendant’s legal team. Filing a claim soon could also give you leverage to negotiate the best settlement possible and maybe avoid going to court. Perhaps most importantly, crucial evidence can disappear if you wait too long to file a claim. For these reasons, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a premises liability accident.
How Can a Florida Slip and Fall Attorney Help?
The Florida slip and fall attorneys at Brooks Law Group understand what you are going through. We will listen to you and provide sympathetic representation. We pride ourselves on our personal approach and will walk you through every step of the case and answer all of your questions.
Our professional team will gather all relevant information about your case and evaluate every detail. We will calculate your losses and build the best case possible on your behalf. We will make a claim against property owners and their insurance companies to seek the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, then we will go to court and argue our case in front of a judge or jury. Our attorneys will work tirelessly from the very first phone call until you are awarded compensation and justice has been served.
Because we understand the financial stress you likely face after an accident, our attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means we cover all of the expenses of an investigation and lawsuit ourselves. We do not collect any fees from you unless and until you receive your financial settlement.
Contact us now to schedule a free case evaluation and find out more about how we can help you.