Tampa Slip & Fall Attorney
A slip and fall in a public setting might be painful and embarrassing, but it can also cause severe injury. Slips and falls can result in fractures, traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, facial scarring, torn muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and even death. Older Americans are especially vulnerable to broken bones in a fall, and falls are a leading cause of death among the elderly. Even so, slip and fall injuries, as well as trip and fall and other premises liability injuries, affect thousands of people of all ages every year.
There are over three million older people treated for falls in emergency rooms every year. Many of these falls occur in a public place or on someone else’s private property. A slip and fall can happen for various reasons, but if your fall was due to someone else’s negligence, you might have a claim for damages. Injuries in a slip and fall are typically severe, especially as you get older. A fall can affect your spine, bones, and brain. If you or someone you love was injured in a slip and fall accident, let the Tampa slip & fall attorneys at Moore Law help.
Premises liability cases can be difficult to bring successfully. Store owners and insurance companies are often unsympathetic to patrons who slip and fall on their premises; they will deny responsibility for the accident or dispute the serious nature of the victims’ injuries. Moore Law is prepared to take on corporations and their insurance carriers and hold them accountable when it was their negligence that caused the accident to happen. If you’ve been hurt on another’s property in Florida, call a Tampa slip, trip & fall lawyer at Moore Law for a free case analysis to discuss your potential claims.
Premises Liability Law in Tampa
In Florida, property owners owe a duty to people they invite onto their property, such as customers or guests. A property owner’s duty to invitees includes making reasonable, periodic inspections of the premises and promptly repairing any observed dangers or putting up an adequate warning until the danger is resolved.
Property owners also have a duty to people who have a right or license to enter their property even if they weren’t invited. Licensees include people such as utility workers, delivery persons, or vendors or suppliers. A property owner should warn licensees about any known dangers that are not obvious and can be liable for failing to do so if injury results.
A third group of people are trespassers – people who have no lawful right to be on the property. Property owners don’t owe any duties to warn trespassers about dangers or repair hazards for their safety, but property owners can be liable for injuries if they deliberately set traps to injure trespassers.
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall or trip and fall injuries are the most common examples of premises liability injuries. A slip and fall can occur if a property owner allows a food or drink spill to linger on the floor, or doesn’t clean up rainwater or ocean water tracked into the store. Condensation and leaks from refrigerated units and air conditioners can also create slipping hazards. Conditions that can lead to a trip and fall include missing or broken handrails on stairways, unmarked steps or ramps, torn carpeting or floor mats, and items left on the floor. Property owners should routinely inspect their premises for these hazards and correct them promptly.
Property owners can be liable for injuries if they created the hazard and didn’t fix it promptly, or if they had actual or constructive knowledge of a danger but failed to act. “Constructive knowledge” means they should have known about the danger if they were being reasonable. If a liquid spill is allowed to sit on the floor for 45 minutes without getting cleaned up and somebody slips and falls, the owner can’t escape liability by saying they didn’t know about the spill; they should have known about it had they been routinely inspecting the premises.
Of course, proving how long a liquid was on the floor before a slip and fall accident can be tricky. Insurance companies and store owners know this and will claim the liquid was from a recent spill. At Moore Law, our team is skilled at uncovering and establishing the facts in situations like these by using methods such as questioning witnesses, requesting security camera footage, and employing accident reconstructionists and industry experts who can review company logs to see if the area was being routinely inspected or not.
Defendants might also claim the condition was obvious and say the injured victim was negligent by not watching where they were going. Defendants also often dispute the serious nature of the injury. These are other areas where a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable in proving the property owner’s liability and fighting back against attempts to avoid or lessen liability.
Common Causes of Slip and Falls
Numerous issues and events can lead to someone falling. Property owners have a legal duty to maintain their property and repair any hazards they knew of or should’ve reasonably known about. Some common reasons for slip and falls include:
- Wet or slippery floors, including standing water, can be very hazardous. The water can come from large open doors with a lot of foot traffic, leaky windows, floors not adequately cleaned, spills, and more.
- Uneven floors or carpets can also cause someone to fall. Earthquakes and foundational shifts can account for some uneven ground. Poorly installed floors, damage, or lifting carpet can be the source of uneven indoor floors.
- Cords and other items on the floor could cause someone to slip or trip and fall. You should not run cords across your room where people walk.
- Improper lighting, or a lack of lighting, can cause someone to slip and fall in dark places like a parking lot.
- Broken railings on stairs can cause someone to lose their balance and fall.
- Sidewalk damage can be treacherous for older people walking down the street. There is an expectation that sidewalks be in working order and free from any significant hazards, but time, weather, and even construction can leave a sidewalk in disrepair.
Common Injuries in a Slip and Fall
Injuries in a slip and fall can be severe and life-threatening in some cases. Do not assume that slip and fall accidents are always minor. Some of the more serious injuries we see in these cases include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Neck/back injuries
- Broken bones
- Torn muscles, ligaments, or tendons
Brain injuries are prevalent in slip and fall accidents. The Centers for Disease Control say that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries nationwide. Hip fractures are also common injuries in a slip and fall. Older people may require hip surgery afterward, leading to other complications, such as a stroke.
Negligent security refers to a property owner’s liability for assaults, theft, sexual assault or other crime that occurs on the premises because the owner did not provide adequate security. What constitutes “adequate security” varies from place to place but could include security cameras, adequate lighting, gated entries, security patrols, guards, keyed access, alarms, etc. Property owners in high-crime areas or where crimes have recently occurred may need to provide more security than property owners in other areas. If you have been the victim of an assault in an unlit stairwell, hallway, parking garage, or even in your own apartment, the property owner might be liable to you for the injuries you suffered. Call Moore Law in Tampa for a free consultation.
Other areas of premises liability can include:
- Swimming pools and attractive nuisances such as construction worksites at hotels. These areas must be reasonably secured or monitored to prevent drowning or other injuries. Our firm is experienced in dealing with issues unique to childhood injuries.
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Toxic exposure from mold, lead, chemicals or fumes
- Being hit by objects falling off shelves
Call Moore Law for Help With Tampa Premises Liability Claims
Pursuing a slip and fall claim in Florida is complicated. Property owners will vigorously defend against these cases as there are prior complaints about fraudulent claims. While there are some documented cases of people trying to collect compensation for falls they caused themselves, there is no arguing that these severe injuries are genuine. Responsible property owners need to pay for your damages when they are legally responsible for the accident.
To learn more about pursuing a personal injury claim for your damages, contact the Tampa slip and fall attorneys at Moore Law today.