Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

DRG Law Firm - Slip and Fall Lawyer Miami Florida
Es bastante frecuente escuchar que un turista tuvo un accidente causado por resbalarse o caerse, en alguna tienda de departamentos, shoppings centers, estaciones de servicios, supermercados,  tal vez en el baño de un cine o teatro, o cualquier otro lugar típicamente transitado por el que viene a tomar contacto con la cultura de éste país.

También es habitual que ante un evento de ésta naturaleza donde la persona no conoce la ley, ni los usos y costumbres locales, se sienta desorientada y desprotegida. Cuando hablamos de desprotección nos referimos a que ése turista siquiera tiene Seguro médico alguno o en el hipotético caso de poseer alguna protección contratada desde su país el mismo es notoriamente insuficiente dado los altos costos de la medicina local.

Conforme la experiencia que tenemos como abogados especialistas en resbalones y caídas de Miami- Florida, muchos clientes turistas refieren haber llamado a las firmas de abogados más prestigiosas en el área , expuesto los hechos y  la respuesta fué repetitiva e idéntica en cada uno de los  llamados, …” usted tiene un caso”,  pero…” No Podemos ayudarlo”.

slip and fall personal injury in south florida and miamiSlip and Falls – Ways to not make a bad situation worse in the Miami Area and Florida!

You should read this blog because a slip and fall can happen to anyone, anyplace and at any time.   For example, a bathroom at a movie theater, a department store, a service station or almost anywhere the injured party has a right to be.  The accident can be caused by a foreign substance, defect or negligently maintained premises.  Although outside the scope of this blog there are “static” and “transitory” conditions that may give rise to liability on the part of the property owner or entity in control of the premises.

A static condition or defect can be defined as something which is not inherently dangerous in and of itself.  Static conditions or defects are typically found in places where such conditions or defects are expected. Examples are cracks in sidewalks, depressed areas in pavement, manholes, curbs, drainage culverts, etc.

Slip and fall, trip and fall cases are usually more difficult than automobile related personal injury claims.  Historically, and before the advent of surveillance technology, premises liability claims were often fertile areas of dispute.   Without video a defendant was often less likely to be found liable.

In slip and trip and fall claims there are two (2) main types, transitory foreign substances, (think banana peel) and static condition (think “worn” carpeting).  Florida has codified the elements necessary to establish a cause of action in foreign substance slip and falls by enacting §768.0755 Fla. Stat. (2010). The requirements are as follows.  In a slip and fall involving a transitory foreign substance the plaintiff must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.  Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that in the exercise of ordinary care the business establishment should have known of the condition or the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

Surveillance videos have gained popularity and many accident scenes are now routinely recorded.  It is important when involved in a slip or trip and fall that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.  It is critical to do this as soon as possible after the accident.  Most if not all experienced personal injury firms will immediately send a letter advising the defendant(s) to preserve any surveillance evidence and to avoid the destruction (spoliation) of any recordings, etc., it would have recorded contemporaneously at the time of the accident. Additionally, any experienced personal injury law firm will routinely send an investigator to gather evidence, photos, measurements, etc., to help bolster an injury claim.

Nosotros recibimos muchas consultas sobre accidentes en tropezones, resbalones y por caídas en el área de Miami. Siendo abogados de accidentes tropezones, resbalones, y caídas en Miami,  nos gustaría proveerles información acerca de los distintos tipos y las características de cada uno de ellos.

Primeramente tenemos que realizar una diferenciación entre ellos. El tropezón y caída : El tropezón y la caída ocurre cuando una persona tropieza con un objeto en un local y de tal evento resulta lesionada. A modo ejemplificativo: Tropezar en una alfombra desigual o cualquier otro tipo de superficie podria causar éste tipo de accidente. El tropezón también podría ocurrir como resultado de una iluminación insuficiente.

Como abogados especializados en accidentes hemos intervenido muchos casos de resbalones y caídas. Este tipo de casos ocurren cuando un individuo se desliza debido a una sustancia resbaladiza que se encuentra sobre el piso. La responsabilidad en los asuntos sobre resbalones y caídas usualmente dependden  en la substancia que ha causado el resbalón y el tiempo que esa sustancia haya estado en determinada superficie. Puede ser relevante si la superficie resbalosa se produce debido a un evento recurrente, por ejemplo, una canilla gotea o cualquier otra cañería que gotee (likee) y ésto puede dar como resultado un área resbaladiza.

We receive many inquiries about trip/slip and fall accidents in the Miami area. Being Miami slip and fall attorney we would like to provide information about these types of accidents. First, we would have to differentiate between these types of accident. A trip and fall occurs when a person trips over an object on a premises and injury results. For example, this could involve tripping on an uneven carpet or other type of surface. Tripping could also occur as a result of faulty illumination.

As Miami accident attorneys we have encountered many Slip and Fall cases. These case occurs when an individual slips due to a slippery substance on the floor. Liability on slip and fall matters usually depends on the substance that caused the fall and the amount of time that substance was on the surface. It may be relevant whether the slippery surface occurs due to a recurring event. For example, a leaky faucet or other plumbing issue may result in an area that this continually slippery.

It is important to record the incident when it occurs. This can be done by calling a manager and/or emergency services if needed. This helps document that the incident actually took place. If possible find it wise to look around to find the source of the trip/slip and fall. Take pictures of the area and the causing factor if possible

As a young child in 80’s I grew up with Nintendo, but it was much different than the experience of Pokemon today. In those days technology was static and usually required interaction with a monitor or TV. As a south Florida accident attorney the dangers of augmented reality are very apparent. Just this week a man crashed into a tree and young girl got run over by a car while trying to catch a Pokemon.

Augmented reality is when an electronic device superimposes images or data onto a real space. The irony is that in many circumstance, instead of “augmenting” our perception of the real space it causes distraction. Our senses are debilitated by the use of handheld devices when navigating real environments. The tendency toward distraction is worrisome taking into account emerging augmented reality technologies. These future technologies may become ever more engrossing and distracting.

An ever increasing threat on our connection to the subtleties of the universe around us. This threat goes beyond the driving of vehicles. It goes to very basic activities like walking or sitting down. There are other social and psychological dangers, but those are not the topic here. Here we address just the navigation of the world around us.

As Florida premise liability lawyers we understand the pain, inconvenience and expense that can come as a result of suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence. These types of claims can be complex and can be at times difficult to litigate as a result of the possibility that business and land owners may repair the defective condition or clean up the foreign substance that caused the fall, placing the blame on the victim. Slip and fall cases commonly involve complex liability issues including constructive notice and compliance with the local building codes as well as questions about insurance coverage. Many victims may feel overwhelmed with the process of filing a claim, more so if it happens on the premise of a large commercial property. It is for this reason that a victim should consult with a South Florida slip and fall attorney who can assess the claim from the beginning and can properly attain any and all evidence that can be used to prove negligence on behalf of the business and or property owner.

Business and property owners in Florida have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition for any and all guests who may frequent the property. This duty includes the responsibility to clean up spills, remove tripping hazards, inspect for dangerous conditions and warn of any danger that cannot be immediately eliminated. In order to claim liability for a premise slip and fall incident the victim must first prove that the dangerous condition was either created by the land or business owner or that they were aware of it before the fall occurred and negligently failed to make it safe and that the dangerous condition caused the fall and resulting injuries. Once liability has been established then at that point the registered agent of said business and or property would be notified of a claim regarding premise liability being brought against them. Should the premise owner have insurance coverage for liability, then the insurance provider would step in and proceed with the handling of the victims claim with the victim’s Florida Premise liability attorney.

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Accidents can occur anywhere. As south Florida trip and fall attorneys we are aware of these dangers. A trip and fall accident can occur when there is a change of a surface level in a certain location and there are no markings to denote it. If there is a change in level there should be reflective tape or another mechanism that will make it easy for the eye to detect. Failure to take preventive measure may amount to negligence or lack of care on the part of the premises owners.

Slip and falls usually occur on a slippery surface. The surface can be slippery due to a liquid on the floor or perhaps recent polishing. If an area is slippery it should be clearly marked so that patrons know to avoid the area. Failure to warn or to contain the area can be tantamount to negligence or lack of care. Certain steps should be taken after a trip/slip and fall:

1) It is important to stay in the area where the fall occurred and wait until trained medical professionals can attend to your injuries.
2) It is important to make a record of the trip or fall on the scene of the accident. This can be accomplished by having an employee of the premises make a report. If EMS comes out, then they will produce a report of the incident as well. Generally, it is not wise to leave the scene of an accident without production of a report by an employee of premises or EMS.
3) If possible, have someone a friend or relative take pictures of the scene. This may help document the circumstances of the fall.

These all may seem like common sense. However, in a state of emergency these things are often forgotten. As Miami-Dade slip and fall attorneys we are well aware of this. Taking measured steps in such situations is uncommon. Nonetheless, keep in mind that a nearby friend of relative can assist as well.
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Looking at the title of this blog it would seem that it is about car accidents. However, as accident attorneys in South Florida we understand that this also applies to other sorts of accidents like slip and falls. It is imperative to document the accident at the scene. This may be difficult because of the physical and emotional force of an impact. Nevertheless, it is imperative to remain at the scene and have the proper authorities document the accident. If it’s a car accident, then the proper authority is the police. If we are talking about a slip and fall, then ask for a manager or an employee to document the incident. If there is no one to document the incident and you are in need of assistance, the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) can document the location and the time of the incident. This will most likely not be as complete as a police report.

If for some reason you cannot reach the police or a manager at the scene of an accident, then it is important to try to take as many pictures as you can. If you cannot take pictures then ask a relative, friend, or a person in the vicinity to do so. Furthermore, take the names of any witnesses in the area that may help document the circumstances of the accident.

It is difficult for an attorney to show that something happened when there is no documentation or report detailing the accident. In some locations there may be video cameras that may record the incident. This is often the case in super markets and other commercial locations like restaurants and convenience stores. However, do not rely on this to establish or document that an accident took place. A camera may have an inadequate point or insufficient resolution. As slip and fall attorneys in Miami we have encountered these sort of problems with cameras. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that a tape of the incident will be accessible.

Another reason why one should stay at the scene of an accident is because it is a requirement under Florida law. Under Florida Statute 316.061 it is a misdemeanor to leave the scene of a car accident. Florida Statute 316.061 requires that;

1) you stop at the scene of the accident or as close to the scene of the accident as possible,
2) and do your best not to interrupt the flow of traffic.
If an accident involves injury or death then Florida Statute 316.062 also applies. Florida Statute 316.062 requires that;
1) Name, address, vehicle registration number, be provided to other party involved in accident and also any police officer at the scene. It also requires that you exhibit your driver license upon request and,
2) provide reasonable assistance to an injured party. This includes making arrangements to carry injured person to a hospital or physician if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if the injured party requests it.

It should be noted here that leaving the scene of an accident where a death or serious injury involves is a felony under Florida Statute 316.027.
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How much is my accident claim worth? Unfortunately, as a South Florida accident attorney I can say that this is a difficult question to answer. Whether you are involved in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, premise liability, or an aviation claim there are various factors to consider when determining the value of a claim.

It should be noted that it is not appropriate for a personal injury attorney to make any guarantees as to results or outcomes. That being said, the primary factors that an attorney looks at in evaluating the value a claim are the following;

1. The injuries sustained in the accident,
2. the cause and gravity of the accident,
3. and the ability of the individual or entity who caused the accident to compensate for damages.

For example, if you were involved in a car accident the attorney looks at the injuries resulting from the accident. Then the attorney would look at the cause of the accident and also the force and damage caused by the impact. Finally, the attorney looks at the type of insurance involved or the ability of the person or entity causing the accident to compensate for damages. Other factors used to evaluate the claim are thing like age and profession of the victim.

A good claim for a car accident is one where there is a visible and evident injury, the impact causing the accident does not just leave a small mark on vehicle, and the person or entity causing the accident can pay for damages. That does not mean that if there is a small impact there is no claim. Sometimes small impacts cause great physical damage. The opposite is also true and thus sometimes big impacts cause little physical damage.

The secondary factors in determining the value of an accident claim are the insurance company involved, the location of the accident, and sometimes the adjuster involved. Each insurance company has its own way of responding to a claim. Some insurance companies in South Florida treat every claim as if it was a nuisance and a fraud. Other insurance companies are forthright and for the most part settle the claim based on;

1. The gravity of the injuries,
2. the force of the impact,
3. age of the victim(s),
4. involvement in other accidents,
5. pain and suffering,
6. and medical expenses.

Another factor to take into account is the policy limit. Indeed, a victim can sustain $100,000 in injuries and policy limit can be limited to $25,000. If that is the case and the person causing the accident has no other sources to pay for the excess then the victim will have little recourse. In fact, very few people in Florida have coverage beyond $25,000 to respond to bodily injury caused to a third party. Thus, for this reason it is very important to have UM or underinsured motorist insurance.
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