South Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer

Slips, Trips, and Falls Cases in Parkland & Broward County

When you visit someone else’s home, a retail store, a city park, or any other private or public establishment, you expect a reasonable degree of safety. In fact, Florida property owners are required by law to conduct adequate maintenance and ensure that their properties are reasonably free of any hazards or defects that could cause foreseeable injury. When they fail to uphold this duty of care, and visitors are injured as a result, property owners can be held liable.

If you slipped, tripped, and/or fell due to unsafe conditions on another person’s property, you could be entitled to financial compensation. At Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A., we recognize that these accidents often lead to serious injuries. Victims may face extensive and costly medical treatment, months or weeks off work, and significant physical and emotional hardships. Our Florida slip and fall lawyers are committed to advocating for the injured and fighting for the maximum recovery they are owed.

Give us a call at (954) 504-6577 or contact us online to learn more during a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Person in boots slipping on wet floor

Common Slip and Fall Injuries

According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), a nonprofit organization that is widely considered the authority on slip and fall prevention in the United States, more than 8 million people are treated in hospital emergency departments each year for fall-related injuries, and another 1 million seek hospital treatment after slipping and falling. Although there is a common misconception that tripping and falling isn’t that big of a deal, the reality is that these incidents often result in catastrophic injury and can even be deadly.

Some of the most common injuries associated with slip, trip, and fall accidents include:

Even a relatively minor-seeming fall can have devastating consequences, costing victims immense physical, emotional, and financial hardship. At Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A., we believe that you should not have to navigate these challenges on your own.

If you believe that your accident/injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, reach out to our Florida slip and fall attorneys right away. We have successfully recovered more than $300 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients, and we are ready to fight for the full, fair compensation you are owed. With offices in Naples, Boca Raton, Hollywood, and Coral Springs, we serve clients across Florida.

Common Location of Slip and Fall Accidents

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Most slip and fall accidents are preventable. They largely occur due to unsafe property conditions and improper maintenance or repairs.

Examples include:

  • Uneven ground/flooring
  • Torn or ripped carpets and rugs
  • Spilled liquids
  • Wet or slippery surfaces
  • Pooled water/puddles
  • Exposed cords, wires, and other tripping hazards
  • Defective steps, stairs, and stairwells
  • Missing handrails
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of proper signage
  • Dents or holes in the ground
  • Cluttered walkways or aisles
  • Falling merchandise

These and other hazards put innocent people at risk. If you slipped, tripped, and/or fell due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, reach out to Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. right away to learn how we can help protect your rights.

Can I Sue for a Slip & Fall Injury?

If you have recently been injured due to slipping or tripping and falling due to dangerous conditions at another person’s property, you may be wondering what your legal rights are. Particularly, you might be wondering whether you should pursue a lawsuit. While many south Florida personal injury attorneys offer consultation, it is a good idea to know what to expect.

Litigation to cover the costs of a slip and fall injury falls under the broader category of personal injury lawsuits. Unlike lawsuits for dog bites or medical malpractice, however, slip and fall injuries often recover less money, due to the fact that the individual who fell usually bears responsibility for the fall. However, if you believe that you can show that your fall was due to negligence on the part of a property owner or tenant, you may be able to receive compensation for costs such as medical bills (including transportation costs for treatment and therapy), lost wages, pain and suffering, potential future medical expenses, and what is called “loss of consortium,” which refers to damage to your relationship with your spouse or family.

Lost wages that can be recovered not only apply to those wages you lose in direct consequence of the injury, but also may apply to future wages that you are no longer able to earn, if you receive injuries that cause a permanent disability. In addition, even if you have a pre-existing condition, you may be able to recover medical expenses related to it if the fall demonstrably exasperated your condition.

In order to win a slip and fall lawsuit, you and your personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that the property owner or tenant was negligent in their responsibility to ensure that the property was safe. This means that by acting in a certain way—or by failing to take reasonable action—they allowed conditions to exist which caused your fall. With slip and fall incidents, time is the key factor; for example, how long the hazard was there contributes to the determination as to whether or not the property owner should have discovered the situation and remedied it.

In some states, the degree of care that a property owner is reasonably expected to take varies depending on the person who fell. For example, Ohio requires property owners to take the least amount of care for the safety of potential trespassers; however a child trespasser is more deserving of care than an adult trespasser in that state. On the other hand, in California, there is no difference in the amount of care that a property owner is expected to take, no matter who fell. All visitors to the property, under California law, are to be accorded the same amount of care and due diligence from the property owner or tenant.

Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?

Florida law requires property owners to maintain their premises and reasonably ensure the safety of lawful visitors. This is known as a “duty of care.”

Property owners in Florida owe varying duties of care to different types of visitors:

  • Invitees: The state recognizes two types of invitees: public invitees and business invitees. A public invitee is someone who is invited to use a premises for a purpose for which the premises is made accessible to the public. For example, someone who visits a public park or goes to the hospital for treatment would be considered a public invitee. A business invitee, on the other hand, is someone who is invited to use a private space for a business-related purpose. This includes patrons at retail stores or guests at theme parks. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees in Florida.
  • Licensees: There are also two types of licensees: invited licensees and uninvited licensees. Both are considered “lawful entrants,” meaning they are allowed to be on the applicable property. An invited licensee is someone who visits a property by invitation, such as a social guest. An uninvited licensee, on the other hand, is someone who has not been invited, whether expressly or implied, to the property but, nevertheless, visits the property for their own personal convenience. An example would be someone who comes to the door of a neighbor or an individual who uses a gas station bathroom without purchasing anything. Florida property owners owe a moderate duty of care to licensees—more to invited licensees than uninvited.
  • Trespassers: The last category of visitor in Florida is trespassers. A trespasser is someone who does not have permission to be on the property but enters it unlawfully for their own purposes. Florida property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers; they are only required to refrain from causing wanton or willful injury. In cases involving minors who trespass, property owners are held to a higher duty of care when the child or teen is attracted to the property due to some feature, such as a pool or trampoline, that the property owner could reasonably foresee might attract minors (known as “attractive nuisance” cases).

All of this means that if you were lawfully on public or private property when you slipped and fell, you could have a claim against the property owner.

To have grounds for a slip and fall claim or lawsuit, you will need to prove the following:

  • You were lawfully on the property when the accident occurred
  • You were injured and suffered measurable damages
  • There was a dangerous condition or hazard on the property
  • The property owner knew or reasonably could have known about the dangerous condition/hazard
  • The property owner failed to take reasonable measures to remove, repair, or warn visitors about the dangerous condition/hazard
  • The dangerous condition or hazard was the proximate cause of your injury
  • You were not the sole cause of the accident/your injuries

If the property owner or their insurance company argues that you were negligent, or that the dangerous condition was so open and obvious you could have easily and reasonably avoided it, you may have your total settlement reduced. Our Florida slip and fall attorneys can fight back against these and other attempts to reduce your recovery and, instead, seek maximum compensation on your behalf.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Slip & Fall Accidents?

One of the most important aspects of your claim is the statute of limitations; from the day you suffered your injury, the clock began ticking. The statute of limitations for slip and fall injury lawsuits ranges from one year to six years—and in some states, the time you have to file can be impacted by whether or not the injury occurred on government-owned property. In the state of Florida, you have four years from the date of your injury to file your personal injury claim. There may be special circumstances, and it is a good idea to speak to an attorney about your specific case.

Do Most Slip and Fall Cases Settle Out of Court?

Yes, the majority of all slip-and-fall cases settle outside of the courtroom. Even if you end up filing a lawsuit, most of the time the defendant (person at fault) will settle before the case goes to trial. In fact, only about 5% of all personal injury cases ever go to trial.

Defenses Against Liability for Slip and Fall Injuries

While many property owners may wish to “do right” by the individuals who are injured due to dangerous conditions on their premises, it is often not their choice; their insurance company is the one who ultimately pays claims for slip and fall injuries, and the insurance industry is only to remain profitable as long as it does not pay out on a certain number of claims. What stands as a common sense law on the books can be manipulated by a defense attorney working on the insurance company’s behalf to try and substantially reduce or eliminate the compensation that you would be entitled to receive on judgment. The specific tactic that such an attorney might use varies on the case, but there are some common approaches, and it’s important to know before going into the process what you might see.

One of the most common defenses is to deny the existence of any dangerous condition or to deny having timely knowledge of its existence. They may try to argue that there was no such condition; that there was not a liquid spill at the time of your accident, etc. If you were able to take pictures at the time of your slip and fall accident, this is a strategy that is more difficult to pursue; the attorney can’t deny the existence of a liquid spill that you have a picture of, taken at the time of the accident. They can attempt to claim that there was not enough time for the defendant to have knowledge of the condition, either by arguing that it had happened to recently, or pointing to regular “safety sweeps” that did not document the condition.

Another common defense is to argue for the carelessness or negligence of the plaintiff in failing to observe the dangerous condition. This is used for cases that involve dangers such as loose carpet or improperly-marked step-downs, or uneven surfaces. They may also attempt to argue that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time, regardless of evidence! It may be infuriating to hear these accusations, but keep in mind that your attorney also has evidence to present. If you were mindful when the event occurred and made sure to get the contact information of any witnesses, as well as documenting the situation as it happened, this kind of defense is not as likely to work.

Finally, defense attorneys may attempt to cast doubt as to whether the fall caused the injury in question. Again, as long as you have done your due diligence in keeping records of your diagnosis and prognosis, your personal injury lawyer will likely have an easy time proving that your injuries are indeed due to the fall you experienced.

What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?

Every case involving a slip and fall injury is individual and different. However, there are some general steps that anyone involved in a slip and fall accident can take to make the process of settlement or lawsuit easier. Studies show that 60 percent of all falls are related to a slipping or tripping incident, caused by conditions such as a foreign object on the walking surface, a design flaw in the walking surface, a slippery surface caused by weather or a spill, or impairment due to a person’s physical or mental condition.

Yet, slipping or tripping and falling on another party’s property does not automatically mean that they are responsible for your injury. A successful personal injury claim due to slip and fall or trip and fall incidents hinges on the proof of a dangerous condition, which caused the fall, which could have been prevented by the property owner properly managing his or her duty of care. This can be more difficult than it seems, so the first step when you experience an injury due to a slip and fall accident is to contact police and paramedics if necessary, as well as to gather evidence if you are able to. Unless you are incapacitated, obtain the names and addresses of all witnesses right away. Use a disposable camera or your cell phone to photograph the accident scene and especially the condition that you believe was responsible for your fall. If you are unable to photograph the scene, take extensive notes about the size, color, location, shape, and any other relevant details you can think to note.

Make sure also that you report the slip and fall accident, as well as the dangerous condition, to the land owner or possessor, the store manager, whatever parties should reasonably be involved. It is important, however, to avoid giving an extensive statement until you have spoken with a lawyer. Take notes about the incident if you are able to; note the date and time of the slip and fall accident, the location, names of all witnesses, names of the individuals you reported the accident to, weather conditions, and what you were wearing at the time—particularly your shoes. Keep all clothing or other physical evidence which confirms the accident.

The next step is to seek medical attention quickly. If paramedics were contacted, this is a foregone conclusion. If they were not, try and seek a professional medical opinion on any pains or complaints you have as a result of the slip and fall as soon as possible. Any delay in seeking care can negatively affect your case. An emergency room can provide an immediate evaluation and diagnostic tests such as x-rays; if your injuries are not as dire, make an appointment with your family doctor for the first available time. Make sure to tell any medical personnel about all of the physical complaints, and do not leave any unmentioned. Even if the injury is minor, or a pain is not as intense, it is important for legal records. Also take photographs of any visible injuries.

Finally, seek legal representation. It is a good idea to avoid speaking with the property owner or that party’s insurance company on your own; find a lawyer that you trust quickly, and inform any of the other parties involved to refer all questions to your attorney. Slip and fall accidents can be life changing events, and you should do what you can to ensure you receive just compensation.

How Zimmerman & Frachtman, P.A. Can Help

Our firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We understand the unique complexities present in slip and fall accident claims—and we know how to successfully navigate the process on your behalf. We have helped individuals who were hurt due to unsafe property conditions at restaurants, theme parks, convenience stores, big box stores like Target and Walmart, supermarkets, grocery stores, construction sites, and more. We have also represented victims in serious elevator and escalator accidents, negligent security cases, and other types of premises liability claims.

When it comes to representing you, we are relentless in our pursuit of fair compensation. We offer free initial consultations and contingency fees, meaning you do not owe anything unless we recover a settlement or verdict for you.

Call (954) 504-6577 or submit a free online case evaluation form to schedule a complimentary consultation today.

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