Slip and fall injuries can cause some of the most devastating and incapacitating injuries possible. However, slip and fall accidents can also be some of the most difficult cases to successfully present in the state of Florida. This is because the injured person must prove the owner or operator of the premises caused or contributed to the condition causing the slip and fall injuries. Many people are under the impression that the owner of premises is legally responsible for an injury on its premises no matter how the injury happened. Unfortunately, this is not true. In Florida, the owner or operator of a premises is only responsible for a guest’s injuries if there is negligence on the part of the premises owner or operator. What makes these cases difficult is that people who are injured in a slip and fall accident rarely document the cause of the fall with photographs and witness names and phone numbers.
When people fall in public places, usually their first feeling is that of embarrassment. People naturally feel embarrassed when fall in public. They are usually shaken-up, and if not incapacitated by the fall, will generally try to get up as soon as possible. If you have ever tripped over a curb in public, the first thing you do is look back at what caused you to stumble. The second thing you do is look around to see who saw you stumble. The owner/operator of the premises where you fell is counting on this exact reaction. They hope you spring to your feet, shake it off, say your okay and try to leave without determining what the dangerous condition was that caused you to fall.
Therefore, it is imperative, if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s business or premises you try to do the following:
- Try to take care of your injuries but also try to determine what caused you to fall in the first place;
- Document this by taking photographs, if possible; photographic evidence of the dangerous condition or foreign substance can be a tremendous benefit. Oftentimes, however, this is difficult to do as the store or premises owner manager will instruct the employees to immediately clean the foreign substance. However, use the camera in your phone or if you are with someone, have them grab a disposable camera in the store and take pictures. You can pay for the camera as you leave the store.
- Obtain the names, address and phone numbers of any persons who may have witnessed the fall and observed the foreign substance or dangerous condition. The best witnesses are people not related to the injured customer. It is also helpful to obtain the name, address and phone numbers of all employees who saw the slip and fall and /or who rendered assistance. Oftentimes, lower-level employees change jobs or locations and may be difficult to find after the fall occurs.
If you are injured in a slip and fall, seek medical care as soon as possible. Do not hesitate to have the store call an ambulance for you. The ambulance personnel will document your complaints and injuries just after the accident happened. Such documentation can be very important. Many people will say to store personnel, I’m Okay, when in actuality they are not. While no one should exaggerate or fake any injuries or pain, if you are in pain, tell someone and get it treated and documented by medical professional.
Finally, do not rely on the store or premises manager when he tells you that the store will cover and pay for any medical treatment you may require. Most managers do not have the authority to do this. It is the insurance company for the premises makes the decision on whether or not to cover your medical expenses. Not surprisingly, most insurance companies will deny that they are responsible for your fall and therefore, not responsible for your medical bills. No matter what happens, though, the insurance company will not pay for medical treatment as you receive it. If they pay any medical bills, it will be at the time the case settles and it will be included in the settlement amount. You should be prepared to use your health insurance, if you have it, to pay for your bills. Therefore if you seek medical attention, provide the physician or facility with your own personal health insurance information.
If you have been injured in a slip or trip and fall at a store, in a business or at someone’s home, call us today at (407) 423-1313 or contact us online now for a free consultation without any obligation. We have a lot of experience handling these types of cases and would be honored to help you with your case.
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