Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney for Your Florida Accident Claim
If you are suffering injuries because of a slip and fall accident, a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney at Maus Law Firm can help. Slip and fall personal injuries can be painful, even catastrophic. And the sad truth is that many of these accidents would never have happened if the person who owns or is responsible for maintaining the property had taken reasonable care of the premises.
Slip and Fall Injury Causes
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. A Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer can handle 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 personal injury claim. But how you go about proving your claim and the Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney you select can make all the difference.
The Legal Process for Slip and Fall Claims
It is important for a person who has been injured in a slip and fall accident to understand the legal process for making claims for compensation in Florida.
- Making a Claim With the Insurance Company: Your attorney is likely to first make a claim with the property owner’s insurance company. This is usually done in the form of a demand letter. The demand letter will state that the property owner is at fault for the client’s injury and make a demand for settlement. An experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney will include critical information in the demand letter, such as information about the accident and evidence of the client’s injuries.
- Filing the Lawsuit: If the insurance company does not make an adequate settlement offer, your attorney may have no choice but to file a lawsuit against the property owner. However, the insurance company may still settle after the lawsuit is filed. In fact, filing the lawsuit can be exactly the leverage you need to force the insurance company to take your claim seriously.
- The Discovery Process: This is the phase of litigation where the two sides exchange information. The parties exchange written questions and answers and take depositions. In addition, an accident investigation will take place, and accident report will be created and statements may be obtained from witnesses.
- Trial: If the case reaches this point, the trial may be before a judge or jury. Both sides will present evidence and witness testimony, and the attorneys will present their arguments. Settlement may still be reached during trial or even after trial if there is the threat of an appeal.
A Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer is essential for every step in this process. From dealing with the insurance company to taking the case to trial if necessary, your attorney will provide you with the best chance of recovering compensation.
Damages Recovered in Florida Slip and Fall Cases
Serious injuries and even death can result from Fort Lauderdale slip and fall cases. Bone fractures, internal injuries and injuries to the head and spinal cord are all too common. Below are the most common forms of legal damages an injured victim can recover in slip and fall cases:
- Medical Expenses: This category includes bills for both past and future medical treatment. If a lawsuit is filed and the case proceeds to trial, expert testimony will likely be necessary to estimate future expenses.
- Pain and Suffering: While the amount of a pain and suffering award is unpredictable, it can be a substantial portion of a victim’s damages. If a slip and fall victim has to live with a serious injury that is long-lasting or even permanent, the amount of the pain and suffering award could potentially be high.
- Lost Wages: A person who misses work due to their slip and fall-related injuries may be entitled to recover lost wages.
- Lower Earning Capacity: If the injured victim can no longer perform the work they did before the accident or if they cannot earn as much, they may be able to recover damages for loss of earning capacity.
- Wrongful Death Damages: The family and loved ones of a person killed in a slip and fall may be able to recover wrongful death damages, such as loss of financial support and loss of companionship.
Our Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney Advises You to Do the Following After a Fall
If you or a family member has suffered injuries from a slip and fall accident, ,you need to take immediate action. Along with scheduling a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible, we recommend taking the following actions:
- Seek medical attention. After an accident, your first step should always be to seek medical attention. Not only do you need to make sure that your injuries are treated right away, you need to be checked out because not all injuries from a slip and fall are readily apparent at the time of the accident. Latent injuries can cause big problems later. If you are seriously injured, call 911.
- Make sure your injuries are documented. Your Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney will need documentation of your injuries to help fight for just compensation for your injuries. Make sure you get this documentation from your doctor. If you called 911, get a copy of the EMS report.
- Get photographs. It is important to document the area where you fell. If you can, pull out your phone and take a photo of the accident and surrounding area as soon as the fall occurs. Insurance companies often try to dispute that a dangerous situation existed, and a picture paints a thousand words.
- Write down all the facts. The facts and details of your 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. Write everything down while it is still fresh in your mind.
- Request that an accident report be completed right away. Most business employees are trained to complete an incident report. As experienced Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorneys, we have seen situations where employees try to fix or clean up the dangerous condition that caused you to fall. Requesting that an incident report be filed at the time of your accident will make the business document that a fall occurred, that you were injured (be sure to explain all your injuries; and if you discover injuries later, go back and have the business update their report), 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.
- 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.
A Special Note About Video Evidence in Slip and Fall Lawsuits
The slip and fall attorneys at Maus Law Firm recently obtained a settlement from a large South Florida resort hotel on behalf of a client after the hotel 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 store’s video — which had been preserved — was missing the two minutes of tape covering the period when the accident occurred!
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. This is why, as seasoned Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyers, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of putting the in-store video surveillance request in writing.
Request that in-store video surveillance is preserved. Do this in writing as soon after your accident as possible. Most businesses video recorders will tape over whatever is recorded within a few days or a couple of weeks. Once the accident is taped over, the video cannot be reproduced.
Refer all Calls to Your Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney: Do Not Give a Recorded Statement
Businesses and insurance companies are infamous for the defenses they use when a person gets injured on their property. Typical defenses are:
- It didn’t happen.
- If it did happen, the business didn’t do anything to cause the accident.
- If the business did do something to cause the accident, you should have seen the dangerous condition and avoided it, so it’s your fault.
To defend their cases, businesses and insurance companies will try certain tactics. Don’t fall for them. Most importantly, 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 hoping to get to you before you consult with a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer. If you are contacted by the business or an insurance company, refer them to your attorneys. Once the insurance company knows they are dealing with a competent attorney, the phone calls to you will stop.
Get the Help You Need from a Top Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney
Your claim deserves a lawyer 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 a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney in our South Florida office to have your questions answered. Call 1-855-999-5297 today.