Perhaps you visited the Towne Square Mall when you slipped and fell. The number of visitors makes the area have a high risk since someone could spill their drink or leaks occur. You could have visited Weeki Wachee Springs; the water park area has a high slip and fall accident potential.
No matter where your slip and fall accident occurred, The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine has your back. We keep you up to date with your case in regular meetings and include you in decision-making. Our lawyers give quality representation and work hard to maximize compensation, with offices in convenient locations like Spring Hill.
Causes of a Slip and Fall
When someone thinks of a slip and fall accident, they may imagine a slippery floor. The lack of friction from a liquid causes a person to lose their footing. Water can leak from a refrigerator or enter through an open window.
The National Floor Safety Institute reports how 85 percent of workers’ compensation claims have to do with slippery floors. A spill, mud, rain, and snow make the floors less safe for people to walk on. Public business owners and other property managers have to use signs to alert people of the hazard.
Other causes of a fall are uneven and unstable surfaces. An example might be if a wooden floorboard or tile is loose or broken. A person could trip over a torn rug and fall. If a paving stone on a pathway is loose, someone could slip on it.
Even poor lighting can lead to a fall. Inadequate lighting increases the chance of someone tripping over a curb or uneven stairs. A person is unable to see cracks or holes and injures themselves.
A walkway, hallway, or aisle might have clutter on the floor. You could trip over debris or a power cord. A workplace environment is likely to have an unclean area.
Types of Injuries
Slips and falls make up an estimated one million hospital visits a year. Injuries can become detrimental, and around 22 percent of cases result in someone missing more than a month of work. A slip and fall accident can result in shoulder dislocation.
The impact can be minor, or someone can suffer from a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves, and it links the spinal cord to the shoulder and arm. An arm injury can make you feel weakness or severe pain.
Around 5 percent of people who fall get a fracture, and most victims are over the age of 65. A bone fracture could occur in various parts of the body. You might injure your ribs, hand, forearm, or leg. Hip fractures are common, and injuries generally are more serious for older adults. The bone generally takes longer to heal, and a victim could require more time in the hospital.
A slip and fall accident leads to approximately 50 percent of traumatic brain injury cases. The injury can leave a person with short-term and long-term health issues. Someone might experience headaches or sluggishness. Some symptoms can mean other problems, so a person might not immediately see a doctor for a brain injury.
A person could walk away with cuts and bruises. Regardless of the severity, you should visit a doctor for care soon after an accident.
Can You Sue Without a Lawyer?
No. You will face insurmountable challenges when you try to sue and negotiate with a property owner or their insurance company without a lawyer.
Many court documents have a deadline by which you need to file them. You would need to be aware of what type of evidence can help prove negligence as well. A lawyer can handle the legal system for you.
Either the defendant’s insurer or lawyer may try to settle for a low amount of money. Plenty of adjusters have ways to invalidate a person’s claim. You would want an attorney to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
A slip and fall lawyer is helpful when you need to calculate damages. They can assess your current and potential losses. The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine can take some of the case’s stress off your shoulders and determine how much the accident is worth.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
To receive compensation, the plaintiff must prove negligence. Negligence can be straightforward in several cases, but the situation could be complex at times. Once you identify the liable party, you need to show how they should have known about the hazard.
The employee or property manager should have taken steps to remove or fix the dangerous condition. The defendant may argue the obstacle or spill did not exist long enough for them to act on it reasonably.
Some businesses have a policy for employees to check for hazards regularly. They might have logbooks to record when the procedure occurred. You can use the records to help prove negligence.
A property manager could have caused the action, and they might have had reasonable justification for doing so. However, the justification may not have existed during the accident. You also can prove negligence if the premises did not have adequate warning signs in place.
The responsible party’s negligence needed to have directly led to your injuries. Then, you would need to prove how the injuries caused damages.
The Statute of Limitations in Spring Hill
If you suffer from serious injuries, you might need plenty of time to recover. The days can go by quickly, and time can become an obstacle if you plan to seek compensation. Slip and fall accidents have a limited amount of time in which you can file a lawsuit.
The period begins the same day as the slip and fall incident. The deadline depends on where the injured person lives. In Florida, you have four years to initiate a lawsuit before you lose your chance at a settlement.
The deadline is the same if you want to claim damages for a broken piece of property. For example, your phone screen cracked when you fell.
The best time to start on your lawsuit is soon after you seek medical care. The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine
can ensure you do not lose your right to reimbursement.
Recoverable Damages in a Slip and Fall Claim
The list of potential damages you can recover includes various options. A common one is medical expenses, and many people spend a lot of money on healthcare. According to the CDC, healthcare costs for falls can reach over $50 billion each year. Damages include current and future bills.
A hip fracture may mean you need to spend time in rehabilitative therapy. An extensive recovery period can mean a higher settlement value. If you need to buy medication, you can obtain reimbursement for the costs.
If someone has to stay in the hospital after a slip and fall, they likely miss multiple workdays. Fewer wages add more stress when a person has to pay bills. Additionally, some injuries prevent someone from earning income in the future. The loss of past and future income generally is recoverable damages.
Pain and suffering are non-economic damages you can receive from the emotional distress of the accident. For some people, they can get compensation for a loss of quality of life.
The value of damages depends on the case. Our lawyers can calculate the money you should get with accuracy.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Lawsuit Take?
One concern people have is the duration of a slip and fall case. Plaintiffs usually prefer to settle quickly, but every claim is different. A lawsuit could take months or well over a year to resolve.
Once you file a complaint, you have to wait for the defendant to respond. Some defendants proceed to dismiss a case. If the case progresses, you and your lawyer issue a demand letter. Later, the lawsuit heads into the discovery stage.
The discovery period tends to take longer than other phases. The lawyers on both sides typically spend weeks to months sending interrogatories and other documents. Depositions with the defendant, plaintiff, and any witnesses take place.
Most slip and fall claims end in a settlement. Once a case reaches the mediation phase, both parties usually end up in an agreement. The case could take longer to resolve if negotiations fail and you have to go to trial.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Liable?
In many cases, the property owner or manager is the party responsible for a slip and fall. The manager could be a business owner or a neighbor. They have a duty to keep the area free of clutter and spills when guests visit.
Cleaning and repair companies can be responsible for accidents. Residents of Spring Hill can even file a lawsuit against a municipal agency. A slip and fall incident must cause injuries when you are on government property.
In some cases, a slip and fall case has multiple liable parties. Your lawyer can determine who all owes you money.
Why Should You Start as Soon as Possible?
One reason why you should begin your claim as soon as possible is to avoid missing the deadline. Four years may seem like a long time. However, the last day to sue can arrive faster than someone would expect.
You should start a case early on to obtain evidence in good condition. While eyewitnesses are helpful, their memories can fade over time. You could have difficulty obtaining other pieces of evidence. In some cases, information can become lost.
Additionally, the liable party may use the time to cover their tracks. A slip and fall attorney can get the relevant evidence on time to improve your chances of success.
What Evidence Can You Use?
Besides eyewitnesses, you should collect other pieces of hard evidence to prove negligence. Many businesses have cameras around the place. The CCTV footage can play a crucial role when the court needs to know what happened.
Additionally, you can take pictures of the incident scene. The photos should include the spill or clutter and lack of appropriate warning signs. If the slip and fall incident was at work, the manager should have made an accident report. You can use the report for your case.
Details related to property damage and healthcare costs can help you prove the extent of the damages. The other party’s insurance generally tries to downplay the seriousness of any injuries you sustain. Evidence should include records of lost wages and proof of emotional distress.
Can You Use Building Code Violations?
All buildings need to stay compliant with relevant building codes. The steps of a staircase cannot be broken or uneven. Regulations require stairs to have handrails as well. A property owner can face the consequences of violations.
You can use a building code violation to help win your slip and fall case. An owner’s negligence regarding building safety may have led to your injuries.
You can find information on the building codes on the city’s website. The local planning office can provide you with a copy as well. Your slip and fall attorney can determine which ones the property owner violated if any.
Can You Seek Further Legal Action After You Settle?
When both parties agree on a settlement, you typically get the consented amount. In some cases, a person does not discover excessive damage until sometime after they finish a case. The value of compensation could have been higher. You might wonder if you can pursue further action.
Once you agree to a settlement, you usually sign a release form. The form means the plaintiff gives up the right to future legal actions regarding the same accident. As a result, you cannot get more compensation after you settle.
You should not accept any offers right away. You need to wait until a doctor examines your condition and until you have recovered enough. A lawyer knows the potential value of your accident and can answer any questions you have about the release form.
The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine Are Here to Help
The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine are ready to take on your slip and fall case. Our lawyers work hard to achieve the best results for all of our Spring Hill clients. You do not have to face the legal system on your own. Contact us at any time at (352) 686-0080 for your free case evaluation.