Has this happened to you? You’re out shopping for groceries on a busy Saturday morning, scanning the aisles for the items on your grocery list. Suddenly, your feet fly out from under you, and you land hard on the ground with your groceries scattered around you.
You’re in pain, disoriented, and embarrassed as people rush over to help you up. A spill on the floor wasn’t marked with a warning sign, causing you to slip and fall. The injuries from your accident left you with mounting medical bills and the inability to do certain activities.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Slip and fall accidents can happen to anyone, but with the help of a skilled West Palm Beach slip and fall attorney, you can build a strong case and seek compensation for your injuries.
If you or a loved one are injured in a slip and fall accident, call DiBiaggio Law at (561) 473-9800 to schedule a FREE consultation with an experienced and compassionate West Palm Beach slip and fall attorney. You don’t need to suffer alone!
What Is a Slip and Fall Case?
A slip and fall case is a type of personal injury lawsuit in which you are injured after slipping or falling on someone else’s property. Business and property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for visitors. If they fail to do so and you are injured, they may be liable for your injuries.
Where Do Most Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, but you need to be aware of locations where they are more common such as:
- Retail Stores, especially supermarkets and grocery stores, due to spills or wet floors
- Restaurants due to spills, wet floors, or uneven surfaces
- Office Buildings due to slippery floors, tripping hazards such as loose carpeting or wires, and poor lighting
- Parking Lots and Garages due to uneven surfaces and potholes
- Public Sidewalks and Walkways due to cracked or uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and obstacles such as trash or debris
Building a Strong Slip and Fall Case
If you are in a slip and fall accident, it is essential to take the following steps to build a strong slip and fall case:
- Seek Medical Attention: Seeking medical attention should be your top priority after a slip and fall accident, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not show symptoms immediately, and delaying medical treatment could worsen your injuries.
- Report the Accident: Report the accident to the business or property owner where the slip and fall occurred as soon as possible. This not only creates a record of the incident but also allows the business owner to address the hazard and prevent similar accidents in the future.
- Gather Evidence of the Scene: Take photographs of the scene, including the hazardous condition that caused the accident. You should also obtain witness statements from anyone who saw the accident, such as other shoppers or employees. In addition, collect any relevant documents, such as incident reports or surveillance footage.
- Do NOT Give a Recorded Statement without Consulting a Slip and Fall Attorney: If an insurance adjuster contacts you and asks you to give a recorded statement, it’s best to consult a slip and fall attorney first. The insurance adjuster may later use your recorded statement against you to deny or reduce your claim.
- Do NOT Post About Your Accident on Social Media: Posting about your accident on social media could potentially harm your case. The insurance company or business owner’s attorney could use your posts to argue that you weren’t as injured as you claim.
- Document Everything: Keep records of all expenses related to your injury, including medical bills, lost wages, and any other expenses you incurred due to the accident. Keep notes on your recovery progress and how your injuries have affected your daily life. This documentation can help support your claim and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
Under Florida law, to prove negligence by a Florida business owner in a slip and fall accident, you need to establish several elements:
- Duty of Care: The business owner had a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for customers and visitors on their premises.
- Breach of Duty: The business owner breached their duty of care by failing to address or warn about a hazardous condition that caused the accident, such as a wet floor or uneven surface.
- Causation: The hazardous condition was the direct cause of the slip and fall accident and resulting injuries.
- Damages: You suffered damages from the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
It’s worth noting that under Florida law, the property owner and the injured party can be found partially at fault for slip and fall accidents. This is known as comparative negligence. If it can be shown that you (the injured party) were also negligent in some way – for example, by not paying attention to warning signs – your compensation may be reduced accordingly.
Damages in Slip and Fall Cases
If you win your slip and fall case, you may be entitled to several types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses, including current and future medical bills
- Lost wages if you had to take time off work to recover
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress and physical pain
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from working in the future.
What a West Palm Beach Slip and Fall Attorney Can Do for You
A West Palm Beach slip and fall attorney can help you build a strong case by:
- Assessing the Strength of your Case: Your attorney will review the details of your case and assess the strength of your claim. For example, if the grocery store was clearly at fault for your slip and fall, your attorney may advise you to pursue compensation.
- Collecting Evidence to Support your Claim: Your attorney will work with you to gather strong evidence to support your claim, including witness statements and documentation of your injuries. For example, they may interview other shoppers who saw the hazardous condition that caused your slip and fall.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Your attorney will negotiate with insurance companies to help you get fair compensation for your injuries. For example, they may work to settle your case out of court with the insurance company.
- Representing You in Court: If your case goes to trial, your attorney will represent you and argue the case on your behalf. They will use their legal skills to build a strong case. For example, they may present evidence and call witnesses to the stand to demonstrate the negligence of the grocery store.
Settlement vs. Trial
After gathering evidence and building a strong case, you and your slip and fall attorney must decide whether to pursue a settlement or go to trial. Settlements can be advantageous because they avoid the time and expense of going to trial and ensure a guaranteed outcome. However, settlements may result in less compensation than a trial verdict.
Preparing for Trial
If you decide to go to trial, your slip and fall attorney will prepare you by helping you understand the legal process and preparing you to testify. Your attorney will present evidence to a judge or jury during the trial.
The defense will also present its case, including any evidence or witnesses they have. The judge or jury will then determine whether the defendant is liable for your injuries and, if so, how much compensation you are entitled to.
Q: How long do I have to file a slip and fall claim in West Palm Beach, Florida?
A: In Florida, the statute of limitations for slip and fall claims is four years from the date of the accident.
Q: Can I still recover damages if I was partially at fault for the accident?
A: Yes, Florida follows a comparative negligence system, which means that even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you could still recover damages. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a slip and fall attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida?
A: In Florida, attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if you win your case. The fee is typically a percentage of the damages awarded.
Q: What if the business offers me a settlement before I hire an attorney?
A: Accepting a settlement without consulting an attorney is generally not recommended. A slip and fall attorney can help you determine if the settlement offer is fair and advise you on the best course of action.
Q: What happens if I lose my slip and fall case?
A: You will not receive compensation if you lose your slip and fall case. However, you may have the option to appeal the decision or negotiate a settlement with the other party.
Q: Where can I read more about slip and fall accidents and how to prevent them?
Take Action Today: Contact a West Palm Beach Slip and Fall Attorney to Protect Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you must act as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. By working with a skilled West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer, you can build a strong case and seek compensation for your injuries.
Don’t let the negligence of a business owner go unchecked. Contact DiBiaggio Law today. We offer a FREE consultation where we’ll review your case and give you our honest opinion. If we take your case, we’ll do so on a contingency basis, which means you won’t owe us anything unless we recover compensation for you.
DiBiaggio Law is based in West Palm Beach, Florida, and has served clients in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties for nearly 30 years. Call us at (561) 473-9800 or complete our online form to schedule your FREE consultation.
Copyright © 2023. DiBiaggio Law. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.