Daily routines like preparing coffee at the office, picking up groceries at the store, or going for a workout at your local gym should be reasonably safe activities. Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents can occur, causing physical injuries. Some fall accidents also cause permanent disability, which affects your quality of life and ability to work. In extreme cases, these accidents can lead to severe impairment and even death.
When slip and fall accidents occur due to another person's negligence, you have the right to sue for compensation for the injuries and pain arising from the accident. However, reaching a settlement means proving liability and damages sustained.
After a slip and fall accident in Kissimmee, Osceola County, Florida, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and your eligibility to file a claim.
Common Areas Where Slip and Fall Accidents Can Occur
Slip and fall accidents can occur for various reasons, but the location of your fall determines who is liable for the accident. Generally, property owners are responsible for keeping their premises reasonably safe for people lawfully on the property. Some locations where fall accidents can occur are:
- Grocery stores
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Parking garages
- Shopping malls
- Swimming pools
Some slip and fall accidents have dire consequences. According to Florida Department of Health data, slip and fall accidents are the top cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in Florida among adults above 65 years. Over 3,000 people lost their lives to severe falls in 2019.
What are the most common types of slip and fall accidents?
Slip and fall accidents vary in nature and cause. You can sustain injuries to individual areas of the body or multiple places at the same time. The height of the fall and the surface you fall on also affect the severity of your injuries. Some common types of falls are from:
- Wet floors: slipping on wet floors is a common cause of slip and fall accidents in Kissimmee. The wet floor could be due to cleaning products, accidental spills, or leaks.
- Uneven surfaces: these are fall accidents that occur due to loose tiles, uneven floors, old carpeting, poorly placed rugs, and damaged sidewalks.
- Poor weather conditions: inclement weather conditions such as rain or hail can cause slip and fall accidents. Extreme weather causing fallen tree limbs may also lead to accidents.
- Environmental conditions: bad lighting, poorly secured wires, and debris along walkways can cause slip and fall accidents. If you are injured at your place of work, your employer might be in violation of safety codes, and you could be eligible for worker's compensation.
- Medical neglect: slip and fall accidents can occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Accidents are more likely to occur if the staff neglects to help the seniors move around and perform daily activities that require assistance.
Property Owner Liability in Florida
In Florida, property owners are responsible for maintaining reasonable safety levels on their premises for anyone legally present. Reasonable measures can include placing "Wet Floor" signs along corridors when mopping, replacing broken tiles, or removing hazards along walkways.
The responsibility of the property owner still applies whether the owner is aware of the situation or not. An owner must stay informed about the condition of their property and fix any hazards to the public or residents.
A property owner is responsible for the safety of different people on their property. They are:
- An invitee: this person enters a commercial establishment for business purposes, such as a customer in a restaurant or a gym member.
- A licensee: this person enters a property for non-business reasons, such as visiting a friend in their home.
- A trespasser: this is someone who is on a property without permission. However, owner responsibility applies especially in cases such as a child accessing a swimming pool.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Case in Florida
According to the Florida Statutes, to prove negligence in slip and fall accidents, the injured person must prove that the establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of a hazard and didn't take reasonable measures to rectify the problem.
Actual knowledge means that the business establishment was fully aware of the issue. Constructive knowledge, on the other hand, can be proven by showing:
- The slip and fall hazard existed for a period of time long enough that the business establishment must have known about the problem
- The hazard or condition occurred several times
The victim must also prove that they were not aware of the hazardous conditions that caused the accident.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident in Kissimmee?
After a slip and fall incident, it's important to report the accident to your employer or the property manager and seek necessary medical attention. When your immediate medical care has been addressed, contact a slip and fall accident attorney for legal advice and case evaluation.
How can a Kissimmee slip and fall lawyer help me?
After a slip and fall accident, seeking legal redress may not be the first thing on your mind. However, it is your right to seek compensation and recover losses after a fall accident caused by another person's negligence.
When you hire a slip and fall attorney, you can gather the necessary evidence to prove your case. A dedicated attorney helps you determine the exact cause of your accident, compile the relevant documents, and demonstrate the extent of your injuries to justify your claims. Your lawyer can:
- Establish why and how you were on the property
- Investigate if the property has other cases against them for negligence
- Interview witnesses
- Collect photograph and video evidence
- Establish liability based on what the property owner should have done to prevent the accident
Is there a time limit on filing slip and fall accident claims in Kissimmee?
Slip and fall accidents have a statute of limitations. This condition means that there is a limited period within which you can file a slip and fall claim. In Kissimmee, you have four years from the date of the accident to file your claim. That said, it's best to contact your personal injury attorney as soon as possible to resolve the case when the events are still easy to remember, and liability may be less complicated to prove. In addition, when dealing with insurance companies, retaining evidence is critical for recovering compensation. The more time you allow to pass, the harder it is to collect evidence.
Another reason you should begin your case immediately is that the defendants in your claim will also be working on their case. The property owner or employer will have a team of lawyers and insurance companies investigating the accident to determine their liability and find ways to either dismiss your case or reduce your compensation.
What are common defenses against a slip and fall claim?
Property owners can use the comparative negligence law against you. Comparative negligence means that the victim also contributed to their slip and fall accident, so property owners are only responsible for a part of the compensation.
In Florida, if you are comparatively negligent, property owners will attempt to lower your compensation in proportion to the percentage of your contribution. Common precedents when justifying comparative negligence in Kissimmee are:
- The person was not on the premises with the owner's permission at the time of the accident.
- The victim fell because they were distracted, like when using a mobile phone.
- The victim fell because they were wearing inappropriate footwear for the premises. This scenario is especially crucial for work zones with specific footwear rules, such as worker boots.
- The property owner took reasonable measures to inform people about possible slip and fall accidents, like using "Wet Floor" signs or sealing off areas where users may find hazardous objects.
How much does a Kissimmee slip and fall accident attorney cost?
The cost of a slip and fall attorney in Kissimmee varies per firm. However, most slip and fall accident lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning plaintiffs will only pay the charge after a lawyer wins the case.
How much is my slip and fall case worth?
If you are successful in a slip and fall accident case, you may recover damages for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injuries, scarring, and disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
When a slip and fall accident causes death, the surviving family members can bring a wrongful death claim against the property owner and get a settlement for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Cost of counseling for surviving family members
- The mental anguish of losing a loved one
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of consortium, or the loss of association between two married people
The amount you can recover from a slip and fall accident depends on the severity of the fall injuries, medical bills, the extent of disruption to daily activities, the permanence of an injury or death. Consulting a personal injury lawyer is the best way to estimate what your case is worth.
Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer for Slip and Fall Accidents
If you have had a slip and fall accident in the Kissimmee, Osceola County, Florida area, consult a lawyer to learn about your options. Contact Ward Law Group for a free consultation.