Articles Posted in Slip And Fall

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Florida premises liability law requires that the owners and managers of businesses maintain their establishments in a reasonably safe condition. If this does not happen, a person who is injured on the property may bring a lawsuit seeking financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

When someone brings suit to recover damages for injuries sustained in an accident arising from allegedly unsafe conditions on business property, some in the legal community refer to it as a “slip and fall” case. In Florida, there are several statutory requirements that must be met in order for such a case to be successful. The District Court of Appeal for the Fourth District of Florida recently ruled that a particular woman’s case failed under statutory law.

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boat2If you or a loved one has been injured due to another party’s negligence, you may be surprised to know that, in most cases arising under Florida law, you do not have a legal right to sue the responsible party’s insurance company directly. This is true even if you were contacted soon after the accident by a representative of the insurance company and have never even spoken directly with the person or business that caused your injury.

The rationale for the “nonjoinder statute,” as it is called by the courts, is that a jury should not be told whether a defendant has liability insurance because an award of damages would be more likely if the jury knows that an insurance company (rather than the negligent party) would actually be writing the check at the end of the day. In the recent case of Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. v. Morris, the plaintiff attempted to find a way around this general rule by asserting a breach of contract claim, rather than a negligence action, against the insurance company under a medical payment provision.
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Personal Injury Lawyers Fort Lauderdale

When it comes to a slip and fall accident, sometimes the victims involved miss their opportunity to properly file a lawsuit. If you’ve recently been injured in a slip and fall accident, be sure to speak with a professional slip and fall accident attorney before beginning the journey on your own.

Reasons to File

There are many reasons to file a slip and fall lawsuit. It’s important to know everything about the incident to help prove your case. Here are a few important factors to pay attention to.

  • If the accident occurred and was due to another’s negligence, then that person is at fault. For example, sometimes spills occur and no one is warned, informed or even aware that the accident happened.
  • If the manager or owner was aware of the accident and took too long to repair or clean it up, he or she may be at fault. It is his or her job to ensure the customers or employees in their place of business are safe.
  • If a victim is seriously injured in this accident, then properly filing a claim can help the victim and/or the victim’s family receives a fair settlement.

Slip and Fall Examples

Slip and fall accidents can occur from a number of reasons. They can happen inside a building or outside on the property. Depending on how far the property extends and what accident occurs, the owner can be at fault. If you sustained an injury on business property, the owner might also be at fault. Some of the examples of injuries that may justify filing a slip and fall claim include:

  • Icy or snow covered sidewalks or walkways. It is the responsibility of the business to clear walkways for pedestrians and customers to enter the premises safely.
  • Slipping on a spill or wet area inside of the building. While some spills go unnoticed for a brief amount of time, wet floors need to have caution signs or be cleaned immediately to prevent accidents.
  • Objects in the walkways can be hazardous. If they cause an accident, and the obstruction wasn’t clearly marked with a sign, then this might qualify as a reason to file a slip and fall claim.
  • If a damaged floor or bad lighting causes an accident, you may be entitled to a settlement, especially if the items have been in poor condition for a lengthy amount of time.

Beware of Your Surroundings

While a slip and fall claim can help victims receive the settlement they are entitled to and deserve, there are other ways to help prevent these types of accidents. Be aware of your surroundings while inside or outside the property of a business.

  • People make mistakes; if there is a spill, they are usually quite visible. Try to pay attention where you’re walking.
  • Heed the warning signs—pay attention for caution or wet floor signs.
  • Pay attention and stay alert. Avoid becoming distracted with a mobile device. Be sure to always look where you are going and not enter any forbidden areas.

Slip and Fall Attorney Fort Lauderdale

If you sustain an injury from a slip and fall, contact Cohn & Smith online or at (954) 687-0503. Our experienced and professional lawyers can help you file a claim that will get you the settlement you deserve. If you are unsure of filing a claim, contact us for further consultation. Fees are only charged if your case is successfully won and we do not charge anything upfront.

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Slip and Fall Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries as a result of slipping, tripping or falling are among the most common injuries. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.

Over a million Americans suffer such injuries annually. While tripping or slipping may seem like a minor problem it kills over 17,000 Americans a year.Falls are to blame for nearly nine million visits to American emergency rooms annually.

Slips, trips, and falls are the second most common cause of workplace fatalities. They account for 15% of all reported work-related injuries. Last year nearly seven hundred American workers died of workplace falls, slips, or trips.

In American extended care facilities just under 2000 people died of fall-related injuries .

In American households nearly 60% of fall injuries are caused by slips, trips, or stumbles. Half of these occur inside the house and the remainder of them occurs outside the house or in the nearby vicinity. Most occur on flat terrain. Outside the home only 15% happen on stairs or escalators. Many falls outside the home are caused by curbs or obstacles like furniture.

The most frequent fallers are adults over fifty-five. 33% of adults over sixty-five fall every year—many of them fall repeatedly.

Slip and fall accidents can be very serious. Often they are life-changing events.

Who is Responsible?

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, the owner may be liable. However, a property owner cannot always be held responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We have an obligation to take precautions about where we are going.

In order for to be legally responsible for the injuries someone suffers as a result of slipping or tripping and falling, the following must be true:

  • The fall resulted from a worn or torn spot, or a slippery or dangerous surface or item.
  • The owner was aware of the dangerous surface and did nothing to correct it.
  • The owner should have known because it was obvious and should have been removed or repaired.

Is Your Lawsuit Reasonable?

  • Was the dangerous spot there long enough that the owner should have known about it?
  • Is there a regular procedure for examining and cleaning or repairing this property?
  • Was there a legitimate reason for the object you tripped over to be there?
  • Could a simple barrier have warned of a slipping danger?
  • Did poor or broken lighting contribute to the accident?

If any of the above is true, you may have a good claim for compensation. Did your own carelessness in any way contribute to your accident?

For more information on personal injury claims for slips and falls click on:

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Swimming pools and water parks offer hours of entertainment and relaxation for adults and children alike. During the summer months, pools may be packed with friends, relatives and vacationers. However, the increased volume of bathers may unfortunately contribute to the proliferation of unsafe conditions around pools, as adults are forced to focus on other issues besides keeping the pool area free of hazards such as excess water, toys and refuse. While preventing swimmers from drowning is a critical aspect of pool safety, many forget that a great deal of accidents involve injuries sustained through falls on the pool deck.

Poolside risks

The materials out of which pools and their surrounding areas are constructed can be, by their nature, more susceptible to accidents, as the chlorinated water from the pool may create a perpetually slippery surface on the pool deck. This is exacerbated by the fact that most people are either barefoot or clad only in sandals or slippers, neither of which provides the necessary traction on a slick pool area. Tiled locker rooms and entryways may present additional dangers in the case of public pools and water parks.

Safety measures for pool owners

While common sense goes a long way to achieving pool safety, there are legal requirements with which pool owners must remain compliant. These include not only water quality standards and guard and barrier maintenance requirements, but also the standard negligence rules that require property owners to eliminate dangerous conditions ― such as slippery floors they have or should have knowledge of. This means that a pool owner may be liable for a condition that existed long enough that they should have known about it. It also includes regularly occurring conditions that the pool owner could have foreseen.

How to handle a fall

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a poolside fall, seek medical attention immediately and try to pinpoint exactly what caused the accident. If you have reason to believe that the accident was caused by unsafe pool conditions, you may need the assistance of competent legal professionals in addition to quality medical care.

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According to the Polk County Fire Rescue, one person died on June 1, 2013 after a fire broke out in a small apartment complex. Another man sustained serious injuries when an explosion damaged an apartment spreading the fire further. The building sustained water and smoke damage. Additionally, 11 residents were displaced by the fire. County and state authorities are conducting investigations for the cause of death and fire.

The term premises liability refers broadly to landlords’ liability for injuries to others on their property, often involving slip and fall accidents or dog bite scenarios on residential, commercial or government property. A landlord is not expected to insure its tenants or occupants’ safety absolutely, but it is obligated to keep the premises reasonably safe. Safety is a complex, fact-specific standard that depends, though not decisively, on who gets hurt. The injured person may be categorized as an:

  • Invitee — Someone on the premises at the express or implied behest of a property owner, like a supermarket customer, social guest or sporting event fan. The owner needs to maintain the property in a safe condition and correct dangers the defendant knew or should have known about.
  • Licensee — An individual on the property with the explicit or unstated permission of the owner, but with no business interest. For example, someone breaking a large bill at a 7-11. Owners owe them a greater duty than trespassers, but less than invitees.
  • Trespasser — An owner owes a limited duty to prevent only intentional or reckless injuries to a person who enters the property without any authority.

Under Florida law it is crucial for the plaintiff to prove the landlord had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition. If the condition existed for ample time and there was no inspection or remedy, the landlord may be deemed on “constructive” notice — whether in the case of criminal activity or a sinkhole on the premises.

A landlord must periodically inspect rental properties for unsafe conditions and take reasonable precautions to prevent injuries from known conditions or those that should be known. His responsibility includes common areas like garages or stairwells, but does not apply as strictly to rented apartments.

Selecting knowledgeable Florida premises liability lawyers may be crucial to your injury case. Contact the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, PA for a free consultation.

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A “slip and fall” injury can damage more than just your self-esteem. Slip and falls are a leading cause of injuries, sometimes resulting in fatalities. Whether at a shop, office, apartment or government complex, your injury can cause months of intense pain and rehabilitation, lost wages and over-the-top medical bills.

There are some proactive and simple steps you can take to help yourself:

  1. Get immediate and ongoing medical help. The full extent of your injury or pain may not be understood until later. If you dislike going to the doctor, you may choose to suffer through the pain — but delaying medical treatment can upset your case just as much as accepting a settlement before you know the extent of your injury. Without immediate or ongoing treatment, the insurer may argue that some later event caused your condition.
  2. Create a detailed file, ASAP. You must prove your accident was caused by certain conditions. For reasons of legal evidence, it is preferable if the property manager creates a timely report. While potential defendants are usually disinclined to help your case — sometimes they even displace or destroy evidence — they may inadvertently admit things against their interest which may be helpful to your case. A report of the accident should include detailed witness statements and the circumstances of the fall, with exact time and dates. In this way, you can guard against a defendant who may claim your injury never happened.
  3. Determine what caused the accident. For a sustainable injury claim, it is essential to identify the injury causing condition. For example, was it an uneven surface or a hole in the ground? Did a solid or liquid object cause your fall? Time and date-stamped photos can spark your memory about an overlooked but vital detail. If cracks or uneven surfaces caused your fall, a simple ruler may gauge the scale of the location. Be aware that the accident scene often changes because the owner may remove or displace evidence. Some locations, like a construction site, evolve daily.
  4. Retain a competent law firm. A quality firm will have the means and expertise to thoroughly analyze the location where you fell by obtaining proof of prior problems at the scene from witnesses, physical evidence and/or surveillance video footage and will pick the appropriate expert for your case. The attorneys may partner with a structural engineer to prove safety hazards. If a trial is necessary, an expert jury consultant may help. A reputable lawyer can identify all potential defendants — owners (sometimes multiple), employers, parent companies and service providers. Sometimes you are dealing with a major conglomerate with an army of lawyers. In Florida, your case must be filed within four years or you risk permanently forfeiting your right to sue.

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida, level the playing field by contacting the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, PA.

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Florida is among the states with the greatest amount of rainfall each year. A Florida Climate Center study explains how Florida weather often includes frequent storms and torrential rain, particularly along the Panhandle and Gold Coast. Northern Florida tends to have rain throughout the year, while rainstorms are more seasonal in the rest of the state. South Florida has a five-month rainy season that lasts from June through October when about seventy percent of the year’s rainfall occurs, according to the South Florida Water Management District.

Rainy Season and Slip and Fall Accidents

One of the detrimental effects of rainfall are slip and fall accidents caused by wet floors in business establishments, schools, condominium entrances and many other locations throughout the state. A slip and fall accident on a wet floor can lead to serious injuries such as fractures, torn meniscus in the knee, and head, neck and back injuries. The injury is often more severe when the victim is elderly.

However, Florida law, as amended last year, makes it more difficult for someone injured from a slip and fall accident to hold the property owner responsible. Pursuant to the new Florida law, a person who slips and falls on any substance, including a wet floor at a place of business, has to prove:

  • The owner knew about the wet floor and failed to clean it prior to the accident
  • The wet floor existed for so long that in properly caring for their property the owner should have discovered the wet floor before the accident occurred
  • The area regularly becomes wet when it rains, so that it was foreseeable that it would happen again, i.e., the time when the accident occurred

The existing Florida law makes it important to investigate the accident as soon as possible. It is often critical to take pictures of the scene and obtain witness statements before the conditions change. Weather reports also prove invaluable in these types of cases.

As experienced slip and fall attorneys practicing law in Fort Lauderdale, the team at the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, P.A. advises that you seek legal counsel as early as possible so that we can investigate the accident and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

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There are many injuries that can occur in a slip and fall accident. One of the most feared and serious of these injuries is a fractured hip. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a broken hip is especially prevalent when senior citizens are involved in an accident.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, hip fractures happen most often to people sixty five years or older as a result of a fall. Hip fractures are much more common in women ― who are more likely to develop Osteoporosis, a common bone weakness condition. A person with weaker bones is at a greater risk of suffering a broken bone in a fall. Hip fractures are serious injuries requiring lengthy hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy and often permanent disability.

A hip fracture is usually described as a crack in the thigh bone beneath the hip socket. There are two predominant types of fractures to the hip:

  • Intertrochanteric fracture ― when the break is under the top ball-like section of the thigh bone the fracture will likely require surgery including inserting a plate and screws
  • Femoral neck fracture ― a break to the bottom of the femur neck itself, separating it from the thigh bone may result in the need for complicated surgeries depending on the patient’s age and the degree of displacement in the break

It is a well accepted principle in tort law is that someone who is negligent takes their victim as they find them. As such, a victim’s pre-existing weakened physical condition is not a defense to the tort. For example, a property owner has an obligation to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. An elderly person who suffers a fractured hip as a result of a dangerous condition on that property, even though a more healthy person may not have suffered the fractured hip, are nevertheless entitled to recover for the full impact the injury has on their lives.

When a senior citizen falls and suffers a serious injury like a fractured hip there are important medical and other decisions that have to be made. An experienced Florida personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, P.A can make sure your legal rights are protected as well.

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Wal-Mart stores lost an important case last year when Valerie Dantzler successfully sued the retail chain for $800,000. Dantzler was injured while shopping at a Wal-Mart branch in Florida in 2005. The incident occurred when she slipped on a wet spot left behind by an employee. Ms. Dantzler was left with permanent nerve damage in her shoulder. She was awarded $195,000 to cover medical expenses, $220,000 for lost wages and $585,000 for pain and suffering.

Nationally, slip and fall cases such as the one Dantzler filed are a fairly common occurrence. Business owners are required to carry liability insurance to pay for your injuries as well as your pain and suffering should you be hurt on their premises through negligence. Of course, slip and fall cases are only one example of such incidences. It is equally possible for poor lighting, broken pavement or other maintenance issues to cause a slip-and-fall while you are shopping, visiting the doctor or doing other common activities.

The determining factor as to whether or not the owner of a property is responsible for your injury is negligence. If you happen to get dizzy while wandering around the local mall because your blood sugar is low, for example, that is not the mall owner’s responsibility. However, if you fall because the mall’s cleaning crew did a poor job and left a puddle of water on the floor, then you definitely have an excellent case to make.

If you or a loved one has been injured at someone’s place of business here in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Law Office of Cohn and Smith P.A. has been handling slip and fall cases for more than 30 years. Our personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the legal system and fight the insurance companies so that you can get the compensation you deserve.

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