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Slip and Fall

Do You Have A Premises Liability Claim?

Injuries suffered on another’s property – whether it is a home, store, shop, office, sidewalk, or commercial building – are often the result of negligent maintenance or even complete disregard for the safety of others.

Our attorneys have handled a wide range of premises claims such as:

  • Falling in potholes
  • Slipping or tripping and falling
  • Being hit by falling merchandise or other objects
  • Victims of crime on properties with inadequate security measures in place
  • Falling on curbs or stairs which violate building codes
  • Unsafe conditions

If you or a family member suffered injuries from a slip and fall or some other type of accident away from your home, contact us for a consultation, you may have a premises liability claim. But how you go about proving your claim can make all the difference.

What to do if you’ve bene injured in a trip and fall or slip and fall accident

GET PHOTOS
The facts of each accident claim are extremely important. The location of the fall, the location of store employees near the fall, the type and size of the condition that caused you to fall, the lighting – these are all facts that play an important role in making a slip and fall or trip and fall claim. Photographs will document the area where you fell and prevents an insurance company from disputing a dangerous condition existed when it comes time to make your claim.

DO NOT GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT
Employees of large businesses are trained, by the insurance company, and by the business itself, on how to protect the business from a claim by a person injured on their property. One of their tools is to get a recorded statement from you shortly after your accident, when you may still be suffering from the initial impact, and a little disoriented. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO GIVE A STATEMENT. That is why the insurance company or business will try and get in touch with you at the scene, or shortly after the accident. They are taking a statement to help their position – to deny or minimize your claim – NOT to help you. We advise all our clients that if they are contacted by the business or an insurance company, refer them to us, your attorneys. Once the insurance company knows they are dealing with a competent attorney, the phone calls to you will stop.

REQUEST AN INCIDENT REPORT BE FILLED OUT
Businesses and insurance companies are infamous for the defenses they use when a person gets injured on their property. The defenses are:

  • it didn’t happen
  • if it did happen, the business didn’t do anything to cause the accident; and,
  • if the business did do something to cause the accident, you should have seen the dangerous condition and avoided it, so its your fault.

Most business employees are trained to complete an incident report which supposedly will contain all the details of the accident. But you will also see the employees try to fix or clean up the dangerous condition that caused you to fall. Requesting an incident report at the time of your accident will make the business document that a fall occurred, that you were injured, and will hopefully contain notes about what caused you to fall. If your signature is requested on the incident report, MAKE SURE THE DETAILS ARE CORRECT, or the insurance company will try to use it against you in the future.

REQUEST IN-STORE VIDEO SURVEILLANCE BE PRESERVED
This is something that should be done in writing, and done as soon after your accident as possible. Most businesses video recorders will tape over whatever is recorded after a certain period of time. It may be a few days, or as long as two weeks. But once the accident is taped over, the video cannot be reproduced. And you can be assured, if the videotape shows that the business did something to cause your accident, that videotape will be deleted. Florida law says that if a company is put on notice to preserve its videotape, but doesn’t, you are entitled to a presumption at trial that the videotape was advantageous to your case, and that a dangerous condition is presumed to have existed. Our Firm recently obtained a settlement on behalf of one of our clients against a large South Florida Resort Hotel after the Resort destroyed its surveillance video. We also recently obtained a large settlement for a client against a national grocery store chain after it was discovered that the grocery store video had been preserved, BUT WAS MISSING TWO MINUTES OF TAPE WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED!

GET WITNESS NAMES AND CONTACT INFORMATION
There is strength in numbers. An insurance company and their attorneys will attempt to attack your credibility. But when your story is corroborated by another independent witness or two, who tell the same version of events that you have given, it makes it difficult for the insurance company to deny your claim.

DOCUMENT YOUR INJURIES
Make sure you tell the business where you were injured ALL the injuries you are feeling at the time of the accident. Don’t wait for a week or two to see if your injuries will go away, then go back to the store to report the accident. If there is nobody around to record what happened, and you are seriously injured, call for 911/EMS. The EMS report will document where you fell, and what injuries you are experiencing. And, follow up with a doctor as soon as possible. Tell the doctor about ALL your injuries from your accident.

Your claim deserves an attorney that is experienced in slip and fall accidents and premises liability cases. We know the law and we know how to successfully pursue a claim for you. Speak to an attorney in our South Florida office to have your questions answered.

Am I Entitled To Compensation Simply Because I Was Injured At A Business Or Property?

The answer in Florida is “NO”. And many people are surprised to find out that Florida actually requires the injured person to prove that a dangerous condition existed that the business ACTUALLY KNEW ABOUT or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT. This is a very difficult standard to meet.

Florida’s slip and fall law is located in Florida Statute Section 768.0755. It says:

768.0755 Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment.—
(1) 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. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:
(a) 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
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
(2) This section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises.

Because this statute puts the burden on you, the injured person, to prove the business did something wrong, it is critical that you hire the best slip and fall lawyer that will protect your rights. By hiring a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer from the Maus Law Firm, you are assured that the Firm will aggressively pursue its investigation of your claim to ensure you receive ALL the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to learn about your legal options

The expert Fort Lauderdale Slip and fall Lawyers at Maus Law Firm can help.