Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney for Your Florida Accident 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. A Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney at our firm 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.
Our Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyer Explains 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. Contact a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney to discuss your options.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
After an accident, your first step is always to seek medical attention to make sure your injuries are documented and that you don’t have any latent injuries. You should schedule a consultation Fort Lauderdale slip and fall attorney as soon as you are well enough to visit, but while you wait for your appointment you should:
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. Our Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyers 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 COMPLETED
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 AND PRESENT THE INFORMATION TO YOUR FORT LAUDERDALE SLIP AND FALL ATTORNEY
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. Request a printout summarizing your visit and bring it to your consultation with a lawyer.
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.