You don’t go to the grocery store or visit an office building thinking that you might get hurt. When you fall after slipping or tripping on something hazardous, you are completely caught off-guard. Many times you feel extremely embarrassed and vulnerable and want the moment to be over. You may not even realize you hurt yourself until later on.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Tampa Bay or the surrounding area, you probably have questions and concerns about the legal process involved in making a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, these types of accidents often leave victims in pain, facing rising expenses, and under the overwhelming stress of not knowing what to do next.
The personal injury lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys are here to answer your questions and to help you through the process of getting what you rightfully deserve. For more than 30 years, we have successfully settled and completed jury trials for our clients in premises liability cases, slip and fall cases, and trip and fall cases. We are proud of our successful track record of holding businesses and their insurance companies accountable for their negligence and of recovering millions of dollars for our clients who were injured by the careless and negligent conduct of property owners, business owners, and their employees.
What Do You Have To Prove In A Slip And Fall Claim?
Florida law imposes a legal duty upon businesses and property owners to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, to correct dangerous conditions about which the business or landowner either knew or should have known of, by the use of reasonable care, and to warn their customers of dangerous conditions about which the Defendant had, or should have had, knowledge greater than that of the injured party. When employees or management of a business fail to correct a dangerous condition which they knew or should have known about or fail to warn their customers of a dangerous condition; slip and falls, trip and falls, and other accidents often occur, resulting in serious personal injuries.
How Prevalent are Slip and Fall Injuries?
A slip and fall accident can occur almost anywhere – at home, work, school, or while playing. Common locations for accidents include grocery stores, offices, parking lots, schools, amusement parks, restaurants, apartments, shopping malls, and many more. While property owners are responsible for upkeep at the locations, visitors also need to be aware of their surroundings. In other words, if you are the victim of a slip-and-fall accident, make sure that you were taking the necessary precautions to avoid injury.
There is a wide range of injuries that can be caused by a slip and fall accident that can take weeks or even months to heal. Just some of these include all types of twists and sprains, broken bones, torn tendons or ligaments, pulled muscles, strains, spinal or spinal cord injuries, head injuries or concussions, bruises and cuts, brain injuries, bleeding, loss of consciousness, and even paralysis or death.
The attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients through settlements and jury trials in slip and fall, trip and fall, and other premises liability cases against businesses and property owners including:
- Grocery stores
- Retail stores
- Apartment complexes
- Office buildings
- Movie theaters
- Amusement parks
- Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs
- Private homeowners
Our Tampa Slip and Fall, and Trip and Fall Attorneys Represent Injured Clients in Premises Liability Cases Involving:
- Liquid on the floor or wet floor
- Transitory foreign substance on the floor
- Slippery floor surface
- Ice on floor
- Uneven floor surface
- Falling merchandise
- Insufficient lighting
- Insufficiently lit walkways or staircase
- Poorly maintained sidewalks and parking lots
- Poorly maintained or unsafe staircase and steps
- Boxes or merchandise left on the floor
- Trips over torn, wrinkled, uneven rugs and mats
- Insufficient or negligent security
- Dog bites and attacks
- Assault and battery
- Sexual assault
Building a Solid Lawsuit after a Slip and Fall Accident
Although a victim might immediately want to hold the property owner responsible, the owner might contend that they were not liable. For example, if another visitor to the facility dropped a banana peel on the ground and you tripped on it five minutes later, the property owner could not have prevented that. In fact, the property owner might insist that the victim should have stepped over the banana peel.
That being said, you can take proactive measures to back up your claims and show that the other party was responsible. The following steps will help you protect your rights after an injury accident:
- First, seek immediate medical attention, depending on the severity of your injuries.
- Next, report the incident to a property manager or owner on-site in order to begin the documentation process. This shows that you followed the standard protocol after the incident.
- You will also want to take pictures. In today’s world with easy access to cellphones and cameras, almost everyone can take out an electronic device and snap a picture or even a video. Include pictures of the following: the injury, the reason for the injury, an overview of the area, and any missing warning signs. If witnesses saw what happened, ask for their contact information. After the accident, take the time to either record your version of what happened or to write it down as soon as possible so that you do not forget important details.
- Finally, put the clothes and the shoes you were wearing in a safe place in case the physical evidence on them can help in a potential lawsuit.
What is the Transitory Foreign Substance Law that Governs Slip and Fall Cases?
Effective July 1, 2010, the law regarding slip and fall cases involving a transitory foreign substance can be found at Section 768.0755, Florida Statutes. If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. A transitory foreign substance would be something like a spilled liquid, trash on the ground, etc. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing either (1) the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or (2) that the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
What About Comparative Fault Law?
What if the business owner or their insurance company claims that you were partially at fault and contributed to your own injuries? Section 768.81, Florida Statutes provides that in a negligence action, such as a slip and fall case, comparative fault chargeable to the claimant diminishes proportionately the amount awarded as economic and non-economic damages for an injury attributable to the claimant’s contributory fault, but does not bar recovery.
In other words, Comparative fault means that your financial recovery in a personal injury accident can be reduced by any percentage of fault that is assigned to you. It also means that even if you were primarily at fault, you can still recover compensation for any percentage of fault that can be assigned to the business that caused your slip and fall or trip and fall accident.
For example, suppose a slip and fall results in $100,000 in personal injury damages. If the Defendant business owner was found by the jury to be 90 percent at fault and you were found to be 10 percent at fault, you could still recover $90,000 in personal injury damages from the business owner. And if the Defendant was found to be 10 percent at fault and you were 90 percent at fault, you could still recover $10,000 in personal injury damages from the property owner. Call right away to get started on your case.
Talk to a Tampa Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Now
The aftermath of a slip and fall accident can be a challenging time for you and your family. You may be uncertain whether you have a valid legal claim arising from the accident. You may be at a loss for how to proceed. Our Tampa slip and fall accident lawyers can help! We can give you the advice and counsel you need to move forward.
If you were the victim of a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, all you should have to worry about is healing. We can take care of the insurance companies, investigate the incident, all while working to recover every dollar that you deserve.
Click the button below for a free consultation so that you can focus on getting better while we take care of everything else.