Each year, more than one in every four adults will suffer a fall. Falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and the third leading cause of death from unintentional injuries. Nearly 800,000 patients are admitted to hospitals annually due to fall injuries, and falls can cause severe trauma to victims of any age.
If you've been injured in a slip and fall, or a trip and fall, it's important to understand your legal rights. That's where a slip and fall lawyer comes in. If you're asking yourself, What does a slip and fall lawyer do? you've come to the right place. Keep reading to discover how a slip and fall lawyer can help.
Why Would I Need a Slip and Fall Lawyer?
The phrase "slip and fall" refers to any instance in which a victim slips, trips, or falls when coming into contact with an unreasonably dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident as a result of dangerous conditions while physically present at a business establishment, another's home, or premises that are otherwise owned by another individual, you may have a claim for that injury under Florida law.
Most businesses are aware that it's near impossible to have an injury-free premises. For that reason, many of them carry insurance coverage that pays medical bills, up to a certain amount, regardless of who was at fault. This is typically known as medical payments coverage, and while it is not mandatory for businesses to carry, it's often found in both homeowner and commercial policies as a "goodwill" feature.
In other cases, a premises owner may offer to pay for your medical bills. Many times this payment does not cover the entire amount of medical bills you owe. Likewise, other damages, such as pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, and more, are often not considered when a business is making a payment for your damages.
This is where a slip and fall accident attorney comes in. When you've been injured on another's property, you deserve to be compensated for all of your suffering, not just a fraction. A slip and fall attorney works to collect evidence, prove liability and damages, and collect compensation for you.
Step One: Collecting Evidence
The first step of building a slip and fall accident case is gathering evidence. In a slip and fall or trip and fall case, the most critical piece of evidence is proof that the property staff, manager, or owner was aware of the potential cause for injury and did not adequately address the issue. This evidence comes in the form of:
- Prior incident reports
- Inspection reports
- Witness testimony
Other important items a slip and fall lawyer will collect are photographs of the scene, photographs of any visible injuries, personal testimony, medical documents, and expert witness testimony, if applicable.
Step Two: Proving Liability
For a premises owner to be liable for injuries that are sustained by people physically present on his or her property, the owner must have allowed the properly to be in an unreasonably safe condition. This includes failing to recognize or correct non-obvious dangers, such as uneven flooring and stairs, wet or icy areas, and faulty electrical work. By failing to act in a reasonable manner under the circumstances, the premises owner and staff acted negligently - making them liable for any resulting accident injuries.
In order to establish that a premises owner or staff knew of a dangerous condition, or should have known a dangerous condition, it must be shown that:
- The owner or staff created the condition
- The owner or staff knew the condition existed and negligently failed to correct it; or
- The condition existed for such a length of time that the owner or staff should have discovered and corrected it prior to the accident
In order for the premises owner, manager, or staff to be held liable, it must have been foreseeable that this negligence would create a dangerous scenario which could - and did - result in injury. An experienced slip and fall lawyer with extensive knowledge of liability laws works to prove this aspect of the case to secure the victim compensation.
Step Three: Proving Damages
Slip and fall injuries often result in the accumulation of hefty medical bills, including ambulance rides, emergency room visits, diagnostic testing, doctor visits, physical therapy, and - in worst case scenarios - surgery. Common slip and fall injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Bruising and internal bleeding
- Knee sprains or strains
Slip and fall or trip and fall injuries can have serious consequences that can keep a victim out of work for weeks or even months. Slip and fall accidents can cause ongoing pain that can affect daily life. A slip and fall lawyer can seek damages for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income and wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Step Four: Receiving Compensation
In many cases, a business or premises owner may try to simply hand you money to compensate your injuries. However, when you take into account all of the damages that can be accrued due to a slip and fall accident, often this "payment" isn't close to enough. A slip and fall lawyer will help you along the litigation journey: sending a demand letter, filing a suit, and following through with the process until you have a settlement amount you are happy with.
If you've been the victim of a slip and fall, it's time to stop wondering, "What does a slip and fall lawyer do?" and actually reach out to one. At the Weinstein Legal Team, our dedicated team of attorneys is ready to help you fight for your right to compensation. Don't wait, contact Weinstein Legal today.