Good people can be badly hurt when they fall to the ground after slipping on, or tripping over, a hazardous condition. One of my biggest trial verdicts (over $800,000) was for a client whose fall caused extensive injuries resulting in spinal fusion and other surgeries.
Often, the challenge to successfully pursuing a slip/trip and fall case is proving who is responsible for the injury event (called “liability”). In Florida, the victim must prove one of three things in order to establish the defendant’s liability:
The defendant created the dangerous condition that caused the fall, OR
The defendant did not create the dangerous condition, but knew of it and failed to fix it or warn others about it, OR
The defendant did not create or know about the dangerous condition, but should have known had the defendant done a reasonable job of monitoring the location of the fall.
The vast majority of slip/trip and falls are based on scenario 3 above, and it is difficult to prove that the condition would have been discovered had the defendant acted reasonably. To compound matters, the claims adjuster will frequently blame the victim for not seeing the condition, arguing that the victim was not paying careful attention.
If this is the case, it’s imperative for you to reach out to a skilled slip/trip and fall lawyer at your earliest convenience. An aggressive personal injury attorney will help you to achieve the outcome you deserve.
People often ask the following questions when they’ve been injured in a slip/trip and fall.
Money recovery for injuries is almost always linked to fault. Owners of properties where victims fall are responsible for the medical bills only if (1) the owners were negligent in allowing a hazard to exist or (2) if they have “medical payments benefits” on their insurance policy.
It is common for the property owner or claims adjuster to blame the victim, at least in part, for falling and getting injured. They will claim the victim was not paying close attention, was not watching where he/she was going, was rushing, was wearing dangerous shoes, etc. One must quickly gather evidence – photographs, eyewitness statements, video footage – to combat these arguments.
Often, businesses, stores, and restaurants have video surveillance throughout their property. Hopefully, you reported your injury to the manager when it happened. Even if you did not, you should immediately deliver a written note to the manager directing that any video footage from the day of your fall be saved and preserved, as footage often gets deleted after 7-10 days.
Chances are, you have never been a victim before and not well versed in how to navigate the waters of an injury claim. You need a guide to help you through those unfamiliar waters, establishing that which is difficult to prove. Claims adjusters focus on settling cases as cheaply as possible, and they have extensive training to do that task. You need to “level the playing field”. I will make sure that your best interests are effectively presented and pursued.
Only 7% of Florida lawyers have achieved the level of Board Certification.
If your lawyer is Board Certified, he will command higher respect from the claims handler. Only 7% of Florida lawyers are Board Certified, because most lawyers do not have the required courtroom experience, high peer reviews, and extensive knowledge needed for Board Certification.
One major benefit my clients get from my Board Certification is higher settlement offers. Why? Insurance companies know which cases can be settled “on the cheap” (those involving lawyers who never go to trial and always settle) and which will require higher offers (to appease the Board Certified lawyer who is not afraid to challenge a defendant in a courtroom).