forenha

A Slip and Fall Accident Can Cause Traumatic Brain Injuries

 

 

If everything goes Sharon Sumner’s way, she will receive millions of dollars from her slip and fall case – but if all things were created equal, she’d prefer to have her life back.

 

Ms. Sumner, 61, is a former realtor who worked in West Palm Beach until she slipped and fell on a ramp outside of her office. After the fall, Sumner allegedly went to the doctor and learned that she had herniated discs in her neck and lumbar spine, and that the spinal damage also affected her brain.

 

Sumner’s lawyer has told jurors that the plaintiff racked up $670,000 in medical expenses alone after Sumner’s five surgeries following the incident. In addition to medical expenses, Sumner alleges that her traumatic brain injury has left her without the ability to work as she did before.

 

Because of these issues, she is asking for millions in compensation to cover her many damages.

 

Who exactly is she suing? The defendant in this case is Lantana Palm Beach Retail LLC, the owner of the property and the ramp where Sumner fell.

 

While the ramp had been previously safe to use, the plaintiff alleges that a paint job done by WGM Quality Painting, Inc. made the ramp slippery and unsafe to use. While Sumner could not tell the jurors in the first week of the trial why she fell, she said that the slipperiness of the ramp “definitely” contributed to her fall.

 

As the trial continues, Sumner will have to provide the evidence of her medical expenses and go more in-depth in explaining her injuries, and the defense will need to provide evidence about claims they have made regarding Sumner’s health, including her history with depression and a fall-related injury 20 years ago that caused her to leave her primary care physician.

 

There are a lot of factors in Sumner v. Lantana Palm Beach Retail, and the trial has just started. It will likely be a long time before we know what the final ruling and damages will look like.

 

Let’s go back to the reason Sumner is in court in the first place, though: she claims that a slip and fall caused a traumatic brain injury.

 

Is that even possible? In short, yes.

 

Slip and Falls and Traumatic Brain Injury – The Facts

 

Boca Raton Slip and Fall Lawyer

Not only is it possible to suffer a TBI while falling down, falls are actually the leading cause for TBI – especially in young children and seniors. They cause 55% of TBIs in children age 0-14, and 81% of TBIs in adults ages 65 and up. Other causes for TBI include blunt trauma, assaults, and motor vehicle accidents.

 

What exactly does “falling” mean? The term is a fairly broad umbrella that includes both things such as falling off of a high ledge as well as falls due to slipping on oil, grease, or other slippery substances that are left on the floor.

 

TBIs affect millions of people every year. In 2010 alone, 2.5 million people went to the ER or hospital, or died from injuries related to TBI, and traumatic brain injuries killed 50,000 people that year.

 

Interestingly enough, most TBIs are mild. If you’ve ever suffered a concussion, then you have suffered a mild form of a traumatic brain injury. Even when TBIs are mild, though, they are very serious because they deal with such an important (and fragile) part of the body. If a TBI is severe, the patient may lose certain motor skills, or suffer from an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss.

 

Traumatic Brain INjury Attorneys

Basically, TBIs are nothing to mess around with, and it is vital that you know the signs, symptoms, and what to do in the event of a TBI.

 

Have You or a Loved One Suffered a TBI Due to a Fall?

 

No one should have to suffer through a traumatic brain injury. If the TBI was the result of unattended foreign substances on the ground, an abnormally slippery ramp, or other factors, the victim has the right to hold property managers and staff accountable for injuries that could have been prevented.

 

If any of the following occurred, you may have a slip and fall lawsuit on your hands:

 

  • The defendant was aware of the dangerous condition that led to the plaintiff’s slip and fall.
  • The defendant was aware of the dangerous condition and did nothing to resolve or remove it.
  • The defendant would have know about the dangerous condition if they had exercised reasonable diligence.

 

If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury and are ready to take legal action, get in contact with a Florida personal injury lawyer.

 

About the Author:

 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Why Slip and Fall Cases are So Serious

Why Slip and Fall Cases are So Serious

Why Slip and Fall Cases are So Serious

To some people, the idea of filing a lawsuit because you slipped and fell on someone’s property may seem ridiculous. Everybody slips and falls from time to time, right? You just pick yourself back up, bandage your wounded pride, and move on.

 

Why would you ever need to sue over a slip and fall? Because sometimes just picking yourself back up isn’t an option.

 

While minor falls do occur, many slip and falls cause serious – even life-threatening – injuries. Worse, many cases that we take on could have been avoided: negligent employees or unsafe conditions are often the root causes of dangerous slips and falls.

 

By proving that these injuries could have been avoided, we are able to get our clients the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and financial losses, which can often balloon into tens of thousands of dollars – or more.

 

So, why exactly are slip and fall injuries so serious? Let’s look at a recent example that sounds silly – but could have turned deadly.

 

Dopey Takes a Spill

 

Walt Disney World is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth, but bad things can happen anywhere. This one really shows us how dangerous a slip and fall can be under certain circumstances. During the finale of Hollywood Studios’ big show Fantasmic!, many Disney characters stand along the railing of a double decker boat and wave to the crowd. Well, the actor playing Dopey took quite a tumble earlier this month, falling over the first railing and onto the bottom ledge.

 

Luckily, Goofy was there to break Dopey’s fall, but the video footage shows that both characters risked serious injuries. A few inches here or there and Dopey or Goofy might have found themselves suffering from:

 

  • Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Fractures
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Neck and back injuries

 

We already have enough pressure and tension in our backs. In fact, around 14 million Americans deal with chronic or extreme forms of back pain. Falling on your back or spine can turn up the dial on your pain within seconds. Falling on your head or neck may be even more serious, depending on the height and circumstances around your fall.

 

These injuries have long term effects, including chronic pain and the potential for numerous sessions of physical therapy. All of the treatments and appointments from this one injury costs money, meaning one slip and fall can cost you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

 

The Basics of a Slip and Fall Case

 

South Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer

Most slip and fall cases are a type of premise liability lawsuit, meaning you would sue the owner or employees of the property in which you slipped and fell, citing them for the cause of your accident.

 

Why? Because they have a duty to make sure that their property is safe for visitors. And if something specific may be dangerous, they are required to warn you about it.

 

So to win a slip and fall case, you will have to prove the following:

 

  • The owner of the property where you slipped and fell was negligent in creating a safe property free of hazards.
  • Your slip and fall was caused by the unsafe conditions of the property.

 

Proving these two claims will help you to prove that your injuries (and therefore, the resulting medical damages/financial losses), were caused by the negligence or actions of the property owner.

 

Don’t simply sit and suffer due to the actions of another. If you think you have a slip and fall lawsuit on your hands, contact a knowledgeable Florida personal injury lawyer today.

 

What Happens If My Child Is Injured at Summer Camp

What Happens If My Child Is Injured at Summer Camp?

 

School is out, but that doesn’t mean your child has to be stuck at home for the summer with no structure and nothing to do. Summer camps are a great way to keep your child active, supervised, and having fun – while also allowing them to branch out. However, summer camps come with a lot of risks you won’t find in a classroom.

 

Activities like swimming, climbing, building campfires, and so on may just be part of summer, but they also present lots of potential dangers. On top of this, there may be a lot of children – so many that counselors can’t watch your child’s every move. Sometimes, injuries happen. And if they do, you and your child may undergo serious emotional trauma and find hospital bills stacking up quickly.

 

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you speak with an experienced Florida injury attorney. Why? Because while some summer camp injuries may truly be freak accidents or even the fault of your child, others could – and should – have been prevented by the staff or owners of the camp. And if their negligence resulted in your child getting hurt, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistake.

 

It’s called premises liability, and it’s the same law that applies if someone falls down hotel stairs because the lightbulbs were out or a rotten balcony bannister causes someone to plummet.

 

What Exactly Is Premises Liability?

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”Premises liability is the idea that the owner of the premises in which u get injured may be at fault for your injury” quote=”Premises liability is the idea that the owner of the premises in which you get injured may be found at fault for your injury.”]

 

This principle is commonly discussed in slip and fall and personal injury lawsuits.

 

Camps have a responsibility of providing a safe, clean space for their attendees to play, sleep, and eat. If, for example, your child suffers an injury from a spill on the kitchen floor, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. The staff is responsible for removing, cleaning, or warning attendees about the spill. So if they did not do this, the camp can be held liable for your child’s injury.

 

The Responsibility of Camp Staff

 

Boca Raton Summer Camp Accident Injury Lawyer

Summer camp injuries are most likely to happen during supervised activities. The staff of a summer camp carries a lot of responsibilities, especially at overnight camps or athletic training camps.

 

If your child suffers an injury due to the direct actions of a member of the camp’s staff (abuse, negligence, and so on), the camp may be liable for the staff member’s actions. Many camps perform background checks when hiring staff, because the staff comes in close contact with children. Hiring a staff member without doing a background check is a big mistake, and could cost them big time if the staff member causes a lawsuit.

 

Pay Attention to Liability Waivers

 

Summer camps are no strangers to lawsuits, regarding injuries or not. In 2013, a summer camp was sued for over $600,000… over two campers kissing. No, this is not a joke.

 

Injury lawsuits are just as tiresome for summer camps as they are for you, so they’ve taken their own precautions to prevent them from happening. That’s where liability waivers come in – all the paperwork you signed when you enrolled your child in that camp.

 

Each camp comes with its own risk, but some are riskier than other. For example, you would expect more injuries to happen at football camp than at music camp. Camps with pools or lakes run the risk of children drowning. Outdoor camps run the risk of children getting bitten by ticks or other dangerous creatures. To take proper precautions, camps often have parents sign a liability waiver.

 

The waiver states that based on the camp’s itinerary or space, there is an assumed risk of injury. By signing the waiver, you acknowledge this risk, and that the camp is not responsible for injuries from these risky behaviors. Liability waivers often have clauses that do not allow you to file a lawsuit against the camp in case of injury or illness.

 

These waivers, however, are not ironclad. They don’t protect the camp or staff members if someone under their employ acted in a negligent or reckless manner. “Assumed risk” is one thing – unsafe behavior is another.

 

How You Can Prepare Your Child

Boca Raton Child Accident Attorney

Remember, not every precaution is the responsibility of the camp. If you intend to file a lawsuit for injuries, the defendant will likely try to show that you or your child were guilty of negligence as well. Remember the following tips when you are getting your child ready for summer camp:

 

  • Pack a safety kit for your child. Include appropriate footwear and clothing, a reusable water bottle, a first aid kit, sunscreen, and any allergy medication your child needs.
  • Teach your child how to swim and ride a bike. These are common activities at a summer camp, and if your child comes unprepared, he or she will be at a higher risk for injury.
  • Introduce yourself to camp staff before you drop your child off for their first day. If your child requires medication, go over any special instructions or warnings with camp staff. If your child has allergies or has any disabilities, let staff know.

 

You Can Still File a Lawsuit

 

Remember, an experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to find holes or exceptions in the contract you signed that will let you file a lawsuit or ask for damages. If you believe you deserve compensation for your child’s injuries, you should explore all of your options. Reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.

 

About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

4 Things to Know About Florida Slip and Fall Cases

4 Things to Know About Florida Slip and Fall Cases

4 Things to Know About Florida Slip and Fall Cases

 

People slip and fall all the time. Sometimes the accident is minor and we simply get back up and go about our business. Other times, a slip and fall could cause serious, long-lasting injuries.

 

But just because you are injured in a slip and fall accident, that doesn’t automatically mean you have a personal injury case on your hands. There are a number of factors to consider about your slip and fall accident if you want to be able to sue for damages.

 

1. If your slip and fall was due to someone else’s negligence, then you might be able to sue.

 

If you slip and fall due to your own clumsiness, you probably won’t be able to sue anyone for damages. But don’t just assume that a fall is your fault and you should have been more careful. A property owner is responsible for keeping their business or property in a “reasonably safe condition” for customers and visitors. So if there’s a safety hazard or concern, the property owner is required by law to quickly fix it or notify people about it. Otherwise, they run the risk of a lawsuit if someone is injured.

 

2. The property owner or manager must have actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition.

 

If a property owner or manager knows that there is a hazardous condition, that’s considered actual knowledge. When someone is aware of a safety issue, they have to remedy the situation in order to keep the premises safe. Constructive knowledge, on the other hand, means that the owner or manage should have known about the hazard.

 

Constructive knowledge can be shown by circumstantial evidence in one of two ways according to Florida law:

 

  • 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.

 

So a property owner needs to anticipate foreseeable hazards and make sure they are taken care of to avoid potential lawsuits.

 

Boca Raton Slip and Fall Lawyer

 

3. There is a statute of limitations for when you can file a slip and fall lawsuit.

 

When filing a lawsuit, Florida law has a statute of limitations that sets a deadline on how long you have to sue someone for your injuries. For slip and fall accidents, you have four years from the date you were injured to file a lawsuit. Florida recognizes that sometimes injuries may take time to present themselves. Four years is actually a decent amount of time considering most states only allow for two or three years, with three states – Maine, Minnesota, and North Dakota – allowing for six years.

 

4. Your slip and fall case might bring up comparative negligence.

 

While a property owner should have been aware of a potential safety hazard, you – as the victim – should also be aware of your surroundings. The courts may weigh your own negligence against the negligence of the property owner and determine who was the most at fault. For example, if you could have taken strides to avoid a slip and fall but didn’t, you might be seen as comparatively negligent, which could result in less damages or possibly even no damages.

 

Every slip and fall case is different. That’s why, if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an experienced Florida slip and fall attorney who will be able to determine if you actually have a personal injury lawsuit and can hold someone liable for your injuries.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

 

How Comparative Negligence Can Affect Your Slip and Fall Case

How Comparative Negligence Can Affect Your Slip and Fall Case

How Comparative Negligence Can Affect Your Slip and Fall Case

 

If you were recently injured in a slip and fall incident, you may be wondering if you have a case. A slip and fall claim—also known as premise liability—asserts that the owner of a property failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure the area was safe for people passing through.

 

In a slip and fall case, this means that there was a hazard on the owner’s premises, like a slick floor, and the owner did not take the expected amount of care to fix or warn others about that

hazard. As a result, you or someone you care about fell and was injured.

 

This failure to take the proper amount of care you would normally expect from a business or other property is called negligence. If you are planning on pursuing a case, there is a chance the property owner will claim that you were also to blame for the incident. When the victim of negligence is found to share some of the blame for their accident, this is called comparative negligence.

 

Comparative negligence is a defense that must be established by the defendant. This means that the burden of proof is on the owner of the property—you do not need to prove that you were not negligent.  Rather, the property owner must prove that you did not show reasonable care, or that you were behaving in a wrong or dangerous way, and that your behavior was the part of the reason you were injured.

 

What does this mean for your case?  If comparative negligence is established, the settlement or court award you receive will be significantly lower than it would be if the owner was found completely responsible.

 

What Arguments Might the Defendants Use?

 

Boca Raton Slip and Fall Lawyer

 

The property owner will attempt to establish that you were in some way behaving irresponsibly or doing something you should not have, which makes you partially or wholly to blame for the accident.

 

They might use one of the following arguments to establish comparative negligence:

 

  • You were on some part of the property where you were not allowed to be, or where customers or visitors don’t normally go
  • You were not paying sufficient attention at the time of the accident—for example, you were looking and talking with the person next to you, or you were texting and walking at the same time, etc.
  • It was your footwear that was responsible for your accident
  • Reasonable steps were taken to warn people of the hazard—for example, signs and cones were surrounding a spill
  • The dangerous condition that led to the injury should have been obvious to you

 

Pure Comparative Negligence

 

If your case goes to trial, it may be subject to Florida’s “pure comparative negligence rule.” Essentially, this rule is used by the courts to establish the level of blame of the plaintiff and the defendant. The amount of compensation you can still receive from the defendant will be adjusted according to this ruling.

 

The jury will decide, based on both testimonies, if you were in some way to blame. If they do decide you share part of responsibility, they must determine what percentage you are to blame for the slip and fall incident in question. This percentage is subtracted from the award you would have received if the property owner was found to be wholly responsible for your accident.

 

For example, if the jury decided you were 40% to blame for the accident in question, they would subtract that percentage from the total damages. If the total amount of damages from claims like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering added up to $10,000 dollars, the property owner would owe you $6,000 in damages, and your responsibility in the case would total $4,000.

 

Comparative Negligence in Settlement Negotiations

 

Boca Raton Accident Attorney

 

Even if your case never makes it to trial, or even if you never file a lawsuit at all, Florida’s comparative negligence laws will still factor into to your settlement negotiations.

 

During settlement negotiations, the property owner’s insurance provider (and/or their attorney, if they have one) will operate as if the case were going to trial. Throughout the process of the negotiations, the award that you would get if you brought the case to trial is used as the basis of the settlement award.

 

Any settlement that you receive will reflect the property owner’s view of your role in the accident, and the final amount of money you receive will be affected according Florida’s comparative negligence laws.

 

Avoiding accusations of comparative negligence in a slip and fall case requires a strong defense. This is why it’s so important to know the steps you should take after an incident – including finding a knowledgeable Florida injury attorney. If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, we would like to hear from you.

 

4 Essential Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Injury

4 Essential Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Injury


4 Essential Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Injury

Slippery floors. Cracked sidewalks. Faulty staircases.

 

These are just a handful of the many common causes of slip and fall accidents in Florida. Oftentimes, these injuries arise due to the negligence of the owners and landlords of stores, businesses, apartment complexes, and other public properties. Property owners have a responsibility to maintain safe buildings, parking lots, and walkways, and attend to hazards in a timely manner. If a property owner fails to eliminate a dangerous condition on their property, they should be held accountable for any accidents that occur because of their negligence.

 

When dangerous conditions on another’s individual or organization’s property cause you to slip, fall, and injure yourself, it’s critical to act quickly if you want to protect your rights and well-being. By acting promptly and prudently, you may be able to hold a negligent property owner responsible for the accident and secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to recovery.

 

Below, we’ve listed four essential steps to take after a slip and fall injury in Florida.

 

Step One: Seek Medical Attention

 

Fort Lauderdale Slip and Fall Lawyer

After being injured in a slip and fall accident, seeking medical attention should be your first priority. Your doctor will be able to assess the extent of the harm you have suffered and prescribe proper treatment and care to help with your recovery. Seeking medical attention also ensures your injuries are documented so you will have evidence when you are seeking compensation for medical expenses.

 

When you are meeting with your doctor, be as honest as possible about your injury and symptoms so you can obtain an accurate diagnosis. Obtain copies of any receipts and documentation for treatment, prescriptions, and equipment such as crutches or wheel chairs.

 

Step Two: Gather evidence.

 

If you are able to, take photographs of the location where you fell and the conditions that contributed to the incident before you leave the scene using your phone. Gather names and contact information of people that witnessed the incident. Take note of the following details:

 

  • What were the circumstances that caused you to slip and fall?
  • What defects or objects contributed to your slip and fall?
  • What hazardous conditions contributed to your slip and fall?
  • Were there any warning signs posted alerting visitors to the hazard?

 

If you are physically unable to document evidence after your injury, have a friend or family member take pictures and gather information for you—ideally before anyone changes or fixes the hazardous area.

 

Step Three: Report the Incident.

 

As soon as possible, you should report the incident to the owner, landlord, or manager of the commercial property in which it occurred. If you are injured on public property, report it to the city or town. Request the incident report.

 

Step Four: Contact a Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer. Contact a lawyer immediately after a slip and fall accident, regardless of the severity of your injuries. You only have a brief window of time to file a slip and fall claim, so it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to pursue a settlement.

 

Your slip and fall attorney will be able to help you take action immediately by reviewing your case, listening to your side of the story, explaining your options, and helping you to investigate your case. With an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, you will be in the best position possible to obtain fair and just compensation for to cover the cost of recovery, as well as hold the responsible party accountable and force them to change their ways.

 

Slip And Fall Lawyer

Should There Be a Cap on Slip and Fall Awards?

Slip And Fall Lawyer

Each year, thousands of people are injured in slip and fall accidents. Sometimes, injuries sustained from these accidents can be severe, particularly in instances where an individual has preexisting medical problems, say in his or her hip. In certain slip and fall cases, the damages sustained can be staggering.

 

Because slip and fall cases can result in such serious injuries, lawsuit payouts following these cases can rack up some high sums. It’s not uncommon to see slip and fallawardsreach six figures, or even rise to the millions.

 

In one case, Marriott International was ordered to award $1.2 million for injuries sustained by one of its hotel guests. In this case, the court had to consider not only the case of the guest’s shattered ankle and the two surgeries that followed the fall, but also the arthritis that had developed in the ankle, the fact that the woman now walks with a limp, and countless other problems that tie in with emotional and physical suffering. Marriott International plans to appeal the $1.2 million verdict.

 

When payout amounts get so high, it’s common for major companies to argue and try to appeal these verdicts. During those appeal cases, the question inevitably arises: Should there be a cap on slip and fall awards?

 

What Would a Slip and Fall Cap Mean?

 

To individuals who sustain injuries following a fall, high slip and fall payouts seem fair. For defendants, though, high payouts are rarely as appealing, especially when the award numbers climb into the multiple thousands or millions.

 

When award prices get this high, one of the first arguments that people jump to is that there should be a cap on these types of awards. In injury cases, this debate has been going on for years. Usually the cap people advocate for relates to the amount that can be paid towards “non-economic” damages (that is, damages that are difficult to put a price tag on, such as emotional trauma). In almost all cases, a cap would not apply to “economic damages” (namely, those that include set amounts, such as hospital bills).

 

In many states, non-economic caps are already in place. Usually, the cap is set somewhere around $250,000 to $500,000. This means that, regardless of the details of your claim and your level of suffering, you will never be awarded more than the set amount.

 

The Business Perspective

 

Injury Attorney

Aside from the obvious benefits that award caps would have for defendants in slip and fall cases, it has also been argued that limiting damage payouts can reduce liability insurance losses in the long term. Some say that capping non-economic damages means that insurance companies will not have to fork over large sums, which means they won’t be trying to recuperate the losses from citizens by increasing premiums.

 

It has also been argued that capping damage payouts would lessen medical expenses across the board. Advocates claim that damage caps would allow doctors to be less fearful of being sued, meaning that they would no longer need to practice so much “defensive” medicine. (“Defensive” medicine refers to the practices of ordering an excessive number of tests and procedures to effectively cover all possibilities and lessen the likelihood of a lawsuit.) If defensive medical practices decrease, the cost of health care would go down,as well.

 

Damage Caps: Who Do They Benefit?

 

Contrary to the findings noted above, information from a 2006 report from the Confessional Budget Office showed that,“Lower premiums alone would not cut overall health care costs.” According to this report, malpractice costsare, in fact,marginal when considered in light of the wider realm of health care spending, which means that lowering them would have very little impact on overall health care costs.

 

In the above article, Chris Mather, the Communications Director for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, states, “There’s nothing to back up the correlation between the high cost of premiums the doctors pay for medical malpractice insurance and lawsuits. This is about the insurance company wanting to pay the least amount possible for injury. … The civil justice system, the courtroom, is [the victims’] last resort. It’s the last place they can go to get what they need.”

 

Since damage caps likely will have no significant effect on health care costs, it is very unlikely that you or anyone who files a slip and fall claim would see any benefit from these caps.On the contrary, damage caps would only work against you.

 

The Victims’ Perspective

 

Accident Attorney

First, caps could discourage slip and fall victims from filing lawsuits. Lawsuits can be exhausting and expensive, so if the possible award amount is not substantial enough, individuals with legitimate cases may choose not to go all the way.This is unfair, as all injury victims should be entitled to plead their case.

 

Furthermore, if an injured individual decides not to file a suit, the responsible parties will be let off the hook.Not be held accountable for their actions means they may continue to endanger others’ lives through their recklessness or negligence.

 

Lastly and most importantly, if you’re the party injured in a slip and fall accident, you might not get what is due to you.Every slip and fall case is different, and the legitimacy of your claim should not depend on a cap that was set in place by people who have no knowledge of you or your claim. Caps like these would essentially concede that your injuries and your accompanying emotional and physical suffering are worth no more than whatever pre-determined amount has been settled on as a cap.

 

You deserve more.

 

Victims of slip and fall cases are entitled to financial reparations for their pain and suffering . Calls for caps are essentially calls to sweep these claims under the rug, claiming that victims’ injuries are invalid or not worth adequate compensation. But you deserve to be treated with fairness and respect. If your injuries exceed the cap’s value, you should receive the total payment that you are justly entitled to.

 

 

Slip and Fall Attorney

“Help! I’ve Fallen and It’s All Your Fault!”

Slip and Fall Attorney

We’ve all heard a story like this one before: a man walks into a department store with a banana peel, surreptitiously tosses it on the floor, then gets down on the ground and pretends to have seriously injured himself by slipping on it.

 

Of course, slipping on banana peels is mostly just a myth, but that’s beside the point. When most people think of injury lawsuits where someone hurts themselves at a business and tries to sue them for it, a version of this is what they imagine – scam artists out to earn a big payday by faking a problem and blaming someone else.

Why is this the image that we picture? Two reasons:

 

1)      Because the media loves stories that catch people in the act of doing something wrong. It’s a lot more entertaining watching a security video of someone pretending to slip and fall than it is learning that the teenager cleaning up at the local Walmart forgot to put up a wet floor sign.

2)      Because faking falls in order to get money from a lawsuit is a real problem that costs our country a lot of money.

 

How Big of a Problem Is Insurance Fraud for Falls?

 

By some estimates, fraudulent slip and fall claims cost around $2 billion each year in our country when litigation costs are factored in. But that’s just the beginning. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, slip and fall claims that they deemed “questionable” increased by 12% from 2010 to 2011. This news report from KXJB in North Dakota makes the problem sound even worse, saying that “suspicious” claims have gone up an astounding 57% since 2008!

 

The worst part, though, might be the belief that many faked incidents never even turn into claims since the scam artist in question goes directly to the business owner and cuts a deal for cash. Why would businesses agree to such an arrangement? Because they are afraid of the costs and bad publicity involved if the situation ends up going to court. And even if it is simply handled through their insurance, they believe it may end up costing them more by raising their premiums.

 

Personal Injury Attorney

The Case of Florida and Slip and Fall Reform

 

About a decade ago, the Florida Supreme Court presented a ruling on a personal injury liability case that essentially said businesses were responsible for hazards on their property even if they weren’t aware that those hazards existed. This led to a sharp increase in claims, as well as giving the state a reputation as an easy place to win money for slip and falls.

 

Naturally, businesses weren’t happy because this put the entire burden on them, and in 2010, the legislature created a new law. It required claimants to show that businesses either knew about the specific problem that caused their accident or that it was a hazard that occurred frequently enough that the company should have known and done something about it.

 

This was deemed a good compromise because it lessened the chance that a scammer could just come into a business and create the circumstances of their own accident, but it also left protections in for those who truly had suffered an injury that could have been prevented by the property owner. All they needed to do was provide evidence that the hazard that caused their injury was something that should have been dealt with.

 

Did it work? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Again looking at numbers from the NICB, Florida was second only to California from 2010 to 2011 in what they determined were “questionable” claims, beating out more populous states like Texas and New York. Even after reform, a lot of people were apparently still trying to scam their way to a big payout – at least according to statistics from the NICB. But statistics are a funny thing, and often there are two ways to look at them.

 

Are Slip and Fall Fakers Really That Big of a Problem?

 

The answer is an unfortunately complicated yes and no.

 

Yes, because it’s impossible to deny that something costing $2 billion each year is minor. Moreover, the bad publicity generated from these kinds of cases makes it that much tougher for people who legitimately suffer falls and deserve to be compensated for their pain and suffering.

 

Case-in-point: recently, a woman was awarded $10,000 after her apartment failed to clean away ice and snow, and she fell and seriously injured herself. Now that kind of money is nothing to sneeze at, but there’s a problem: the judge assessed the case before the trial and estimated that she should receive $65,000 to cover the cost of medical bills, litigation, and so on. The $10,000 she won doesn’t even cover the cost of going to trial!

 

But fakers are also, arguably, not that big of a problem when you look at the big picture from another angle. How so? According to the National Floor Safety Institute, only 3% of slip and fall claims are fraudulent. Some basic math tells us that means 97% of claims are real and valid and deserve compensation.

 

You’d never imagine that from all of the negative publicity, though. And you would also probably think that $2 billion dollars represents a huge portion of overall insurance fraud, when in fact it’s only about 5% of the $40 billion lost each year. The problem seems bigger than it is because we’re constantly being bombarded with stories about it.

 

What Needs to Be Done for Future Fall Cases

 

The trick in engaging in this type of reform is that you need to be careful to strike a balance. The Florida legislature was on the right track, but more probably need to be done. Businesses can’t be afraid that they’re going to be sued from the second they open their doors, but people who suffer from real injuries also can’t be so afraid to seek compensation that they simply back down. Depending on the severity of a fall, you can sustain damage that can haunt you for your entire life.

 

Personal Injury LawyerFor those who are truly suffering, filing an injury lawsuit isn’t about getting some kind of windfall or even punishing the person or company that caused them harm. All they want is to get the money they need to help themselves to heal and make sure this kind of incident doesn’t happen to someone else.

 

If we really want to limit fraud, perhaps more of the burden should be placed on lawyers to thoroughly examine the stories of their potential clients and look hard at the evidence before taking on these kinds of cases. Most well-respected litigators already do this, because they don’t want to gain a bad reputation. However, more can be done to standardize the process and hold people accountable. This will cut down on lost revenue for businesses, increase the likelihood that personal injury lawyers will win the cases they take, and free up valuable time in our court system.

 

Slip and fall Lawyer

Could a Slipperiness Index Help Reduce Slip and Falls?

Slip and fall Lawyer

We all know that there are all kinds of different reasons that a person might fall down and injure themselves. Uneven walkways can cause people to trip. Spills that haven’t been properly cleaned or marked in stores and other areas are known to put people on their backs. And, of course, the weather can cause a significant uptick in the number of falls that occur.

 

Unlike other areas, of the country, Floridians don’t really have to worry about snow and ice causing more falls. But that doesn’t mean we’re exempt from weather related problems. Instead of the cold, we have to fear the wet from hurricanes, thunderstorms, and the like.

 

Now, plenty of information is out there telling you what to do after a fall. But while it’s incredibly useful to know what you should do if you suffer a fall yourself, there’s something else that’s even more helpful – learning how to avoid a fall altogether. Naturally, there are plenty of things that you can do to take better care when you’re out and about, buta new University of Michigan study has come up with a way to tell you when you shouldn’t go outside at all – a Slipperiness Index.

 

What Exactly Does the Slipperiness Index Tell You?

 

Injury Lawyer

The idea behind the Slipperiness Index is to let people know when the weather outside mathematically increases their chances of not just suffering from a slip and fall, but actually suffering a fracture. The Michigan study was able to create a scale from 0 to 7 and determine how much more likely people are to get hurt at different points along the scale.

 

For example, if you knew that your risk of falling and breaking a hip was going to go up 21 percent because the Index read 4 for that day, you might decide to stay home and go out the next day. In this way, it is similar to how the Air Quality Index uses numbers from 0 to 500 to tell you how polluted the air in your area is (anything over 300 is generally considered bad), or the smog alerts used by environmental agencies in many cities.

 

Fewer Falls Favors the Aging

 

If this kind of thing catches on and cities all over start using it, there’s a chance that it could significantly lower the number of falls that plague our country – almost 9 million as of 2011. Fewer falls will mean fewer injuries and less time spent in the emergency room repairing broken bones.

 

This is especially important to Florida’s burgeoning elderly population, because older people are far more likely to experience a significant injury if they fall. By creating a sort of “early warning system” like the Slipperiness Index, more senior citizens will be able to avoid the most dangerous days and stay safer.

 

No Index to Warn You About Others’ Negligence

 

Unfortunately, while many slip and fall accidents are caused by inclement weather, a lot of them are due to the negligence of people and organizations in your area. So far, no one has ever heard of any researchers coming up with an index to warn you about times when negligence is going to be worse than others, which means you just have to be wary. And if you do fall because someone else created an unsafe environment, make sure that you contact us  as soon as possible so that we can work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve.

 

Slip And Fall Attorney

Slip and Fall Accidents Often More Serious for the Elderly

Slip And Fall Attorney

Nobody ever enjoys falling—it can take you by surprise, cause both immediate and long-lasting pain, and bruise both your body and your ego. However, if you’re young and spry, you can heal relatively quickly from a lot of slip and fall injuries. Elderly people, on the other hand, are more likely to encounter complications and require medical treatment after this kind of accident.

 

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1 in 3 adults 65 and over fall each year, and between 20% and 30% of those people suffer hip fractures, head lacerations, and head trauma. Those injuries can result in costly medical treatment and, if the elderly adult has been living on their own, sometimes makes it difficult for them to continue doing so.

 

Why Fall Risk Increases as We Age

 

One of the most obvious reasons that fall injuries become increasingly likely as we age is because we become more susceptible to breaking bones and don’t heal as quickly as younger people. As you get older, your bone density decreases, making your bones more prone to fracturing on impact.

 

Of course, that’s not the only reason the elderly are more at risk for slip and fall injuries. There are a wide range of risk factors, including:

 

  • Difficulty balancing. There are a number of different balance disorders, such as vertigo and labyrinthitis, which become more common as you age. Dizziness or difficulty maintaining a center of balance can lead elderly people to fall more easily.
  • Limited physical activity. Although some elderly people do make a conscious effort to exercise on a regular basis, others become more sedentary as they age. A lack of regular physical activity leads to muscle atrophy, decreased strength, and loss of flexibility—all of which puts people at greater risk for falls.
  • Vision problems.If an elderly person has difficulty seeing due to cataracts, glaucoma, or other vision problems, they may have trouble seeing potential tripping or slipping hazards around them.
  • Environmental hazards. Sometimes falls are caused by something as seemingly minor as a folded over corner on a rug, an electrical cord on the floor, or an uneven step. If an elderly person falls due to an environmental hazard, the person or organization responsible for keeping that area safe may be liable.

 

How to Reduce the Risk of Falls for the Elderly

 

Personal Injury Attorney

There are steps that both elderly people and their loved ones can take to reduce the odds of experiencing a serious fall. Elderly people can:

 

  • Practice balance exercises for seniors on a regular basis
  • Maintain physical activity by walking, taking a water aerobics class, or playing a sport like tennis
  • Talk to a doctor if they begin experiencing dizziness, vision problems, or other health issues
  • Understand that they may have limits when it comes to certain activities, such as riding an escalator or climbing a ladder, and seek assistance when necessary

 

Family, friends, and caretakers of seniors can also help by:

 

  • Maintaining homes that are free of tripping hazards: remove clutter from walkways, store electrical cords, and make sure rugs are flush with the floor
  • Carefully supervise seniors with dementia when walking in areas with snow or ice, as they may not know to be careful around potential slipping hazards
  • Make sure all staircases have sturdy handrails
  • Install grab bars on the sides of toilets and bath tubs used by seniors
  • Contact a slip and fall lawyer if an elderly loved one falls due to the recklessness or negligence of another person; while a lawyer can’t heal the injury, they can help you recover the compensation you need to cover medical and care expenses

 

The effort it requires to take a few simple precautions is well worth it in order to protect the people you love from the potentially serious injuries of a slip and fall accident.