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Florida’s New Slip and Fall Law

slip and fall accident by senior citizen ladyFlorida’s slip and fall laws underwent modification in 2010 and are covered under Title XLV, Chapter 768, Negligence, Florida Statute 768.0755. The new statutes put a greater burden of proof on the injured party than existed prior to 2010. The key phrase in the 2010 statute is “the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”

In order for an injured party to prove “constructive knowledge” the law states that the injured party must show that the dangerous condition existed for a long enough time that the property owner had to have known about it, or it was a regular (thus foreseeable) condition. In other words “constructive knowledge” means the property owner should have known about the dangerous conditions and taken the proper steps to fix or prevent the dangerous condition.

Just proving “constructive knowledge” is not enough. Any slip and fall defense will bring into play what is called the “open and obvious doctrine.” This doctrine holds that an injured party should have taken steps to avoid an open and obviously dangerous situation. For example cola spilled on the floor at a supermarket is an open and obviously dangerous situation. Thus, a person stepping into the spill and subsequently falling, may have a difficult time countering the “open and obvious doctrine” brought up by the defense.

Slip and Fall Injuries

If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property and that accident lead to injuries you should seek medical attention immediately. The second thing you should do is to consider contacting a qualified slip and fall accident lawyer. While there are no hard and fast rules to decide who is at fault when a slip and fall accident results in an injury, a good slip and fall lawyer knows the state guidelines and can help you decide what the best course of action is for your particular circumstance. No matter what else you do, it is vitally important for you only to discuss your case with your doctor and your lawyer.

Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer

When choosing a lawyer to handle your slip and fall accident case it’s extremely important that you choose a lawyer who not only specializes in slip and fall cases, but also one that has a track record of success. The law office of Ross Abramowitz is one of the most respected slip and fall accident law offices  in the Fort Lauderdale area. They have successfully helped dozens of people just like you, through no fault of their own have suffered an injury from a slip and fall accident caused by negligence on the part of a property owner.

Over millions in settlements and verdicts

We have an impressive list of clients whom we have successfully negotiated settlements, or when negotiations fail, have gone to court and received favorable verdicts for our clients. With over millions in favorable settlements and verdicts for our clients, you can rest assured that you are receiving only the finest representation available in the Fort Lauderdale area.

How Does Slip and Fall Happen

Slip and fall accidents can happen in a myriad of different ways. Not only does this make it difficult for the average person to recognize all the potential hazards, it also makes it complicated to evaluate your chances of successfully collecting for the pain and suffering you experienced due to a slip or fall injury. Here’s a quick look at a few of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents to help you pre-assess the cause of your slip and fall injury.

Slippery or wet floors or parking lots

One of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are slippery or wet floors and parking lots. When liquids or other slippery items exist on floors, a floor is wet because it was recently mopped, or an unmaintained parking lot is wet they become hazardous and can easily lead to a slip or a fall. Often a sign warning of the danger is enough to prevent the accident.

Uneven tile or flooring surfaces

One of the most difficult to spot hazards are tile or other flooring surfaces that should be flat, but for whatever reason have become uneven. An uneven surface is difficult to walk on and very easy to slip and fall – especially for elderly or disabled persons.

Raised or cracked sidewalks

Going almost hand in hand with uneven flooring surfaces is the raised or cracked sidewalk. Sidewalks come under constant use and expose themselves to the elements on a constant basis. As such, they need regular maintenance to keep them from becoming raised or cracked, which can lead to slip and fall accidents.

A change in elevation such as a small step-down

Steps, as long as they are obvious and properly maintained, are seldom a hazard. The same cannot be true of small steps up or down on a surface that a reasonable person would assume was flat. Difficult to spot, sudden changes in elevation should be clearly marked to avoid slip and fall accidents.

Broken railings

Broken railings can be some of the most difficult dangers to spot. Attempting to secure oneself via a broken or damaged rail can quickly lead to a slip and fall accident as well as injury.

Uneven or too narrow stair treads

Stair treads that are too narrow don’t provide a secure enough footing and can result in a slip and fall accident. Likewise, uneven stair treads (or stairs that have improper spacing) can easily result in an injury due to a slip and fall accident.

Abrupt edges on sidewalks or driveways

Sudden drop-offs or other abrupt edges to sidewalks or driveways often go unseen and pose a real danger of slip and fall accidents.

Inadequate lighting

Businesses are expected to provide adequate lighting which, in turn, creates a safer environment – when you can see where you are going, you are less likely to slip and fall.

Unsecured rugs or carpets

Rugs and carpets add beauty and distinction to an area, but unsecured rugs or carpets pose a serious risk of slip and fall accidents.

Appliance or other cords stretched across a walking path

It is a simple reality of life that, sometimes, cords will need to be stretched across a walking path. Common sense tells anyone stretching cords across a walking path to secure those cords to prevent them from being tripped over.

A change in floor surface

Going from a high friction to a low friction flooring surface, or from a low friction to a high friction surface can pose a slip and fall risk. The sudden change in floor surface (and thus change in friction) may cause you to lose your footing and the fall result in a serious injury.

A step-down or change in elevation, especially one that is not properly marked

If the surface you are walking on suddenly changes elevation, has an unexpected step up, or step down it’s very easy to slip and fall – especially is such a sudden or unexpected change is not properly marked.

A poorly lit area

Businesses are expected to provide adequate lighting in all areas of their business. This creates a safe environment for both workers and customers. However, a poorly lit area may hide dangers that cause injury due to a slip and fall accident.

A floor that is slippery, especially when wet

One of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are slippery or wet floors. When liquids or other slippery items are spilled on floors, a floor is wet because it was recently mopped, or an unmaintained parking lot is wet they become hazardous and can easily lead to a slip or a fall. Often a sign warning of the danger is enough to prevent the accident.

Dangerous stairs with narrow treads, uneven treds or a broken railing

Stair treads that are too narrow don’t provide a secure enough footing and can result in a slip and fall accident. Likewise, uneven stair treads (or stairs that are improperly spaced) can easily result in an injury due to a slip and fall accident.

Broken railings can be some of the most difficult dangers to spot. Attempting to secure oneself via a broken or damaged rail can quickly lead to a slip and fall accident as well as injury.

A change in the flooring surface such as a shift from carpet to tile

Going from a high friction (carpet, for example) to a low friction flooring surface (tile for example), or from a low friction to a high friction surface can pose a slip and fall risk. The sudden change in floor surface (and thus change in friction) may cause you to lose your footing and the fall result in a serious injury.

A throw rug or other unsecured carpet

Throw rugs and carpets add beauty and distinction to an area, but unsecured rugs or carpets pose a serious risk of slip and fall accidents.

Cracked tile or cracks in the sidewalk

Cracked tiles or cracks in the sidewalk pose a significant risk of slip and fall accidents. Sidewalks and tile floors come under constant use and as such, they need regular maintenance to keep them from becoming raised or cracked, which can lead to slip and fall accidents.

Types of Slip and Fall Accident Injuries

Even when they seem trivial, a slip and fall accident can result in serious, and sometimes long term, injury. When you slip and fall, especially on a hard surface, you should always get yourself checked out by a doctor. Not all injuries are immediately apparent, and it is easy to have a more serious injury that you initially may think. The most common types of injuries from slip and fall accidents include traumatic brain injury, bone fractures, spinal injury, and even death.

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury is one of the most devastating injuries one can suffer. A traumatic brain injury damages brain cells. Sometimes this damage in temporary, but other times it can cause bleeding and even death.

Bone fractures

One of the most common injuries suffered from slip and fall accidents is the bone fracture. A natural reaction most of the time when one begins to slip and fall is to brace themselves with their hands. This action, while natural, can easily result in a fractured wrist and/or fingers. More serious fractures are also likely, especially when elderly persons slip and fall. Fractured arms, legs, and hips are all very common injuries, as are sprained and broken ankles or fractured skulls.

Spinal injury

A slip and fall accident can injure the spinal cord in many different ways including fractured or compressed disks, direct injury to the spinal cord, or even a form of whiplash. Spinal injuries are almost always very serious and must be taken as such. If you believe you have suffered any spinal injury, see a doctor immediately and let your doctor know.

Death

While rare, there are case of a slip and fall accident resulting in death. If a loved one has died due to a slip and fall accident we know that nothing can bring them back, but those responsible should be held accountable.

What is My Next Step – Getting Help From a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer

What you do and don’t do can have a very large impact on the outcome of any slip and fall lawsuit you choose to pursue. In some situations, your actions following a slip and fall accident may negate many of your legal options. There are three things you should never do in any slip and fall situation.

  • Never give any statement be it written, oral, or recorded to anyone without first consulting your attorney.
  • If you do not remember something, say you do not remember. Be careful that you never make any statement that is untrue to anyone, especially a doctor.
  • If you have to change your address or job, make sure you let your lawyer know immediately.

Taking Action with the Help of a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Attorney

It is always better to let a professional and qualified slip and fall attorney assist you in all your dealings with property owners and insurance companies. Your attorney can help you assess who is responsible for your slip and fall accident and the best way to move forward in getting you the financial relief you need.

trip and fall down on commercial propertyWho is responsible for a slip and fall?

Florida’s slip and fall laws were updated in 2010 and are covered under Title XLV, Chapter 768, Negligence, Florida Statute 768.0755. The new statutes put a greater burden of proof on the injured party than existed prior to 2010. The key phrase in the 2010 statute is “the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”

In order for an injured party to prove “constructive knowledge” the law states that the injured party must show that the dangerous condition existed for a long enough time that the property owner had to have known about it, or it was a regular (thus foreseeable) condition. In other words “constructive knowledge” means the property owner should have known about the dangerous conditions and taken the proper steps to fix or prevent the dangerous condition.

Just proving “constructive knowledge” is not enough. Any slip and fall defense will bring into play what is called the “open and obvious doctrine.” This doctrine holds that an injured party should have taken steps to avoid an open and obviously dangerous situation. For example cola spilled on the floor at a supermarket is an open and obviously dangerous situation. Thus, a person stepping into the spill and subsequently falling, may have a difficult time countering the “open and obvious doctrine” brought up by the defense.

Verdicts & Settlements

Sometimes the property owners or insurance companies will settle outside of court. In other cases, they do not. Whatever the eventual outcome, be it settlement or verdict, we will be with you every step of the way. So if you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident that resulted in an injury, call us today and get the peace of mind that comes with a qualified slip and fall attorney from the law office of Ross Abramowitz, 954-846-1899 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Disclaimer

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

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Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000

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