Delray Beach Slip and Fall Lawyer
Have you experienced a slip and fall and are finding it surprisingly difficult to get someone to take your injuries seriously? You are not alone. Slip and fall injuries are one of the most frequent type of personal injuries, but, rather than being taken seriously, they are often treated like the punchline of a joke. In fact, there is a whole line of jokes built on the premise of slipping on a banana peel. While actual banana peel injuries are not very common, it is common for someone to slip, fall, and injure themselves due to unsafe conditions that a property owner could have avoided.
What You Should Know
While we refer to falling injuries as “slip and fall” there are actually three types of falling injuries. The first is the trip and fall, which happens when a foreign object obstructs the path, causing your fall. The second is the step and fall, which happens when a fault in the walkway, such as an unexpected hole or uneven sidewalks, causes the fall. The third is the slip and fall, where a wet or slippery walkway causes you to slip and fall. The type of injury is important, because the conditions that led to the fall will help determine if the property owner is legally responsible for your injuries.
While almost all of us have fallen and walked away with only scrapes or bruises, slip and fall injuries can be surprisingly harmful. They can result in sprains, strains, torn ligaments, torn tendons, broken bones, neck injuries, back injuries, and head injuries. These injuries might require surgical repair, and may even be lifelong injuries from which you will never fully recover.
In most circumstances, legal responsibility for a slip and fall accident rests on the shoulders of the property owner. However, the injured party is still responsible for proving that the property owner was negligent, because, unless you can establish fault, you will not be able to recover for your injuries. In addition, depending on where the injury occurred and whether the property was publicly or privately owned, you may be dealing with shortened statutes of limitations that could time-bar even a valid personal injury claim. That is why we strongly urge you to contact us today if you have been injured on public or private property in Delray Beach or Broward, Palm Beach or Miami-Dade counties.
What can our Delray Beach Slip and Fall Lawyers do for you if you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident? The primary role of an attorney is to act as an advocate for the client. This advocacy role means different things in different contexts, but we believe we have some very specific obligations to our clients seeking help after a slip and fall.
First, we want to make sure our clients are doing what they need to do to protect their health AND protect any claims they may have against the property owner. This means seeking medical treatment, taking photos, reporting the incident, collecting information from potential witnesses, and keeping records of anything related to the accident.
Collect information as soon as possible after the incident. While your immediate focus will probably be on tending to your injuries, get contact information for any witnesses who were there when the accident occurred, if at all possible. It can be very difficult to track witnesses down after the fact, especially if the accident occurs in a public space and the witnesses were strangers to you at the time of the slip and fall. Therefore, if you are able to do so, collect witness information at the time of the injury.
While it may seem like seeking medical treatment is a given, in these days of high-deductibles, many people are reluctant to seek treatment for minor injuries. However, what appears to be a minor injury could actually be disguising a more serious injury. Only by seeking medical treatment to have your injuries assessed and evaluated can you insure that you get the proper treatment to avoid exacerbating those injuries. In addition, seeking medical treatment provides documentation of the injury.
Taking photos is extremely important. You want to take photos of any injuries you have received. If you are photographing bruises, you may want to take photos on multiple days, because bruises can take time to develop, and a same-day picture of even a significant injury may not show the true extent of your injuries. In addition, you want to take photos of the hazardous conditions that existed that contributed to your slip and fall. Sometimes you cannot do this until you have reported the incident, but if it is possible for you to get photos of the conditions as they existed at the time of your accident, that is the best-case scenario.
Report the incident to the property owner. Reporting the incident is critical because you have to show that the property owner knows about the accident in order to expect them to compensate you for it. In addition, depending on where the accident occurred, there may be time deadlines associated with reporting the incident. Therefore, you want to report it as soon as possible. Furthermore, if the property owner files any type of incident report, ask for a copy of that report.
Finally, keep records of any injury-related occurrence. Most people will keep medical records, but you also want to keep records of anything else related to the injury. Missed work, a pain and suffering journal, or receipts showing that you hired a housekeeper or yard crew because you could not perform routine daily activities can all be critical in bolstering your claim for damages.
Second, we want to make sure that our clients understand the lifelong consequences of any injuries that you may have suffered. Injuries from a slip and fall can be simple, requiring immediate medical attention, and very little else. However, injuries from a slip and fall can also be complex. One slip and fall victim that comes to mind fell and shattered her arm in several places. A new mother who makes her living as a massage therapist, she was not only unable to care for her infant without assistance, but also unable to work for a very long period of time after the injury. Even after multiple surgeries to correct the break, her arm will never be the same, and while she has been cleared to return to work, she is restricted in the types of massages she can give. In other words, a seemingly straightforward injury led to a number of consequences, many of them directly financially tangible, such as the cost of hiring someone to help her with the infant while she could not use her arm, and others more difficult to compute, such as a lifelong loss of earnings due to the lifelong injury.
This example is one of the reasons that we want to make sure all of our clients understand two things: 1) the lifelong physical consequences of any injuries they suffered, and 2) how those lifelong physical consequences will impact their employment opportunities and their ability to function normally in everyday life. Only once we really understand those two factors can we begin to assess what adequate compensation for your injury may be. For some victims of a slip and fall, hundreds of dollars could literally be enough to put them in the same place they would have been if the injury had not occurred. For other victims, putting them in the place they would have been without the slip and fall injury might require hundreds of thousands of dollars. As your advocates, we want to make sure you understand the extent of your individual injuries to determine what type of compensation to seek.
Contact Our Delray Beach Slip and Fall Lawyers
To find out more about how we can help you recover compensation for your slip and fall injury, contact our Delray Beach Slip and Fall Lawyers today!