Fort Lauderdale Slip & Fall Attorney
It is not uncommon for a person to fall and brush it off as a minor event, but a serious trip or slip and fall accident can result in broken bones, brain trauma, soft tissue damage, and even death. If you were hurt or lost someone close to you on another person’s property, turn to the Fort Lauderdale slip & fall attorneys at Halpern Santos & Pinkert for legal guidance.
You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other damages, but if you put off your legal consultation, valuable evidence may be altered or become unavailable. This is especially true in slip and fall cases because business establishments often fix the hazards that cause injuries before they can be properly documented.
The personal injury lawyers at HSP will get to work immediately to compile essential evidence. Our attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience in legal practice, and they have recovered more than $200 million for clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call 305-445-1111 to set up a free case assessment.
Important Elements to Prove in a Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Claim
Slip and fall cases share certain elements with other types of personal injury claims, but there are also some key differences. Like other personal injury cases, claimants must be able to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care, which is a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care given the circumstances. You must also show that the breach of duty caused your injury or your loved one’s death. You must then prove the value of the resultant damages.
Property owners and business establishments have a duty to ensure their premises are safe. They breach this duty when they leave a dangerous condition on their property for a significant amount of time or fail to warn people about a dangerous condition. Common examples of a breach of duty in trip or slip and fall cases include:
- Leaving objects in the aisles of grocery stores;
- Not cleaning up a spilled drink;
- Failing to ensure there is sufficient lighting in stairwells;
- Not adhering to building codes;
- Failing to notify customers about a wet floor after mopping;
- Failing to fix a concealed hole; and
- Failing to ensure handrails are properly secured.
To prove a breach of duty, your Fort Lauderdale trip and fall attorney might use surveillance footage, witness testimonies, the incident report you filed with the business establishment, the police report (if applicable), building codes, and photos of your injuries and the hazard that caused them.
Proving Damages After a Slip and Fall in Fort Lauderdale
After establishing that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty of care, your injury lawyer will have to demonstrate the value of your compensatory damages. These include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life, as well as economic damages such as healthcare expenditures, lost income, and loss of earning capacity.
There are many types of evidence your attorney might use to prove your damages, such as:
- Hospital bills;
- Diagnostic imaging and other medical documents;
- Receipts for accident-related expenses such as homecare and alternative transportation;
- Tax returns and other proof of lost income;
- Testimony from medical, vocational, and financial experts; and
- Your journal about your injuries.
The strength of the available evidence will ultimately determine the outcome of your case. With strong evidence to prove liability and damages, there’s a good chance that you will recover a fair settlement without having to go to trial. This is why it’s so important to find a slip and fall lawyer who will thoroughly investigate your case and vigorously prepare for settlement negotiations.
At Halpern Santos & Pinkert, we understand the critical importance of taking swift action in premises liability cases. Our attorneys will review every element of your claim and will make sure your case is as strong as possible before we enter settlement negotiations.
Legal Classifications in Slip and Fall Cases: Trespassers, Licensees, and Invitees
In Florida slip and fall lawsuits, the legal classification of the plaintiff at the time of the accident can affect whether the plaintiff can recover compensation and the amount of compensation that can be recovered. Plaintiffs can be classified as trespassers, licensees, or invitees.
- Trespassers: These are individuals who are not permitted to be on a property. They intrude on a property without invitation, license, or other right. Trespassers have less civil liability protection than people who fall into the other legal classifications.
- Licensees: These are people who were not invited by the property owner to be on the premises or who do not have business with the property owner. A “licensee by invitation” is owed the same duty of care as an invitee. If you bring a friend with you to a family member’s party, your friend would be considered a licensee by invitation. An “uninvited licensee” is not owed the same duty of care as an invitee; rather, the property owner only has a duty not to injure an uninvited licensee wantonly or willfully.
- Invitees: People who fall into this classification have the highest civil liability protection. These are people who were invited to be on the property by the owner or the business establishment.
Most slip and fall victims are classified as invitees. If you were an invitee, the property owner would have had a legal duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for you. If the property owner breached this duty of care, you can bring a claim for any injuries that you suffered as a result.
If you were a licensee, you can bring a claim if the property owner willfully or wantonly injured you. If you were a trespasser, it may be difficult to file a successful injury claim depending on the circumstances of your accident; however, you may have grounds for a claim if you were injured by a trap that the property owner intentionally set. Pursuant to the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, you may also have grounds for a claim if your minor child was injured while trespassing on a property because there was something on the premises that was enticing or attractive to his or her curiosity.
Discuss Your Case with a Slip & Fall Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
If you or someone in your family was injured in a trip or slip and fall accident, contact Halpern Santos & Pinkert today to speak with a Fort Lauderdale slip and fall lawyer. Call 305-445-1111 or contact us online to set up a free case review.