Accidents can happen to anyone and they are rarely without consequences. A simple slip and fall accident is not as simple when you end up in the hospital with severe injuries, ranging from a hip fracture to spinal cord injuries or even brain injuries. If your accident happened on private or public property, a rental property, a grocery store, or a government building, the property owner is liable to pay you fair compensation for your medical care costs and other expenses, and economic damages. In order to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve, you need professional legal representation. At VG Law, an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Orlando is here to analyze your case and explain your legal options.
The first moment after a slip and fall can be confusing for accident victims. They are not fully aware of the extent of their injuries and they do not know what they should do. This is when big grocery stores and their insurance company come up with a document for you to sign. They call it an incident report, but in many cases it contains, in fine print, a waiver. This means that you give up your right to take legal action against the liable party if you need expensive medical treatment and miss days from work. This is why personal injury lawyers exist - they will offer you aggressive representation and fight for your rights. At the same time, a slip and fall lawyer in Orlando will advise you on the best course of action during the entire process, until we win your financial compensation.
Slip and fall accidents fall under the tort law category called premises liability. This legal concept is enshrined in Florida Statutes 768.0755. In essence, the law states that business owners, property managers, and owners are liable for removing any dangerous conditions they are aware of (or they are reasonably expected to be aware of).
Here is a simple example: on a rainy day, a grocery store owner should be aware that there is a puddle of water forming on the tiled floor in front of the entrance door. If they do not place an anti-slip mat and a wet floor sign on that surface or take any other safety measures, customers who slip and fall on the wet tiles can file personal injury claims against the business owner.
Although this appears a straightforward process, a slip and fall lawyer in Orlando knows that insurance companies will fight hard to get your claim dismissed or undervalued. And, as you are still recovering from your injuries, you are unable to fight against negligent property owners and their insurers and may be tempted to accept a lowball settlement. A slip and fall lawyer in Orlando will fight hard for their client to make sure they receive fair compensation for their damages.
All types of properties owned by an individual, a business, or a government authority are included in the provisions of premises liability law. These include:
What truly matters is that the injured party should be present on the property with the owner's knowledge, approval, or invitation. For example, customers in a store are business invitees, and an electrician fixing a faulty wire in an apartment building is a licensee. However, trespassers are usually not protected from the premises liability law, with the exception of minor children (protected by the attractive nuisance doctrine).
In some cases, negligent actions are easier to prove, for instance in the case of defective products. When it comes to a slippery floor in office buildings or a supermarket, things are different. You will have to prove that the owner or administrator of the premises knew or should have known of the respective hazardous condition.
Also, you must prove that you were diligent and not distracted when the accident occurred. A business establishment will likely try to counter your claim by showing CCTV footage where you are looking at your mobile phone instead of looking ahead as you are walking among the aisles. A slip and fall lawyer in Orlando with extensive legal experience may win your case, but only if you are also careful to act in an appropriate manner starting with the first moments after the accident.
Here is what every injured party should do after slip and fall incidents:
1. Notify the Property Owner or Manager
Immediately after the fall, you should call a store employee, building administrator, or any other person in charge/in the employment of the owner and inform them that you were injured. If you are in pain and feel unable to do it yourself, ask them to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance for you. Do not think twice about getting the medical evaluation and treatment you need - an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Orlando will calculate all your medical expenses and add them to your personal injury claim, including the cost of the ambulance ride.
2. Collect Evidence of the Hazardous Condition
You should document the unsafe condition that led to your accident, be it a slippery floor or uneven floor levels and cracked pavements. Whether you resort to an insurance claim or a civil action, you have to bring solid evidence that this dangerous condition existed in the first place.
Thus, you should use your phone camera to photograph the conditions, as well as the visible sustained injuries, such as open wounds and broken bones.
3. Find Eyewitnesses and Get Their Contact Details
Independent eyewitnesses (other customers in a store, for example) are usually more likely to offer a testimony describing what happened. However, every little thing matters in premises liability compensation claims. Thus, if an employee apologizes to you for the accident, you should ask them for their contact details. Even if they are not willing to repeat the apology in writing, it is still a useful piece of evidence in your favor.
4. Do Not Negotiate with an Insurance Adjuster on Your Own
If you want to win the maximum economic damages and noneconomic damages you are entitled to, you should let an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Orlando conduct the negotiations. The legal team at VG Law has won millions of dollars for accident victims over the years, using our experience and knowledge of the law.
Also, insurance adjusters are skilled at making you issue self-incriminatory statements, which will hurt your case later on. Even if you avoid this pitfall, you likely do not have the skill and negotiating power of experienced lawyers to obtain the maximum compensation you are entitled to obtain.
Finally, please remember that the statute of limitations for premises liability cases in Florida is 4 years after the date of your accident, so get in touch with an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Orlando at VG Law as soon as possible: 833-HELP-365!