Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers in St. Petersburg, Florida
Serving You and The State of Florida
Slip and fall incidents, or trip and fall, depending on the mechanism of injury, occur when someone falls to the ground as a result of someone else’s negligence. These types of accidents can happen at any time and in any place.
The injuries from a slip and fall can be minor, but they can also be serious events that cause permanent lasting damage. Knowing your rights under Florida law can significantly enhance your recovery and the potential compensation for the injuries you suffered. The St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyers at The Lopez Law Group know how to manage and potentially litigate your slip and fall claim. We are well versed in the law surrounding slip and fall accidents and can give you an honest assessment of the merits of your claim and the chances of a successful settlement or award to compensate you for your injuries.
How to make a claim for negligence after a slip and fall accident in St. Petersburg Florida
An experienced and skilled slip and fall attorney knows that the first step in evaluating a slip and fall claim is to examine the substance or set of circumstances that caused the fall. An attorney must be able to show that an establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard, had adequate time to clean up or make repairs, but failed to do so in a reasonable time.
- Actual notice—If someone alerts the establishment that there is a spill on the floor, that constitutes actual notice, and if they do not clean it up in a timely manner, they are at fault for any injuries that result from the substance.
- Constructive knowledge—if there is a broken floor tile that poses a tripping hazard, and it can be proven the owner of the establishment knew about the hazard, but failed to make repairs, that is constructive knowledge.
What evidence is essential in a slip and fall claim?
Many types of evidence are routinely used by our Florida slip and fall lawyers when proving injuries resulting from a slip and fall. If the slip and fall accident occurs in a store, there will usually be video footage available, which captured the moment of the fall. This evidence should be preserved by your attorney so that it is not destroyed. This is achieved through sending a spoliation letter to the establishment informing them that they will be liable if they destroy any evidence that could prove the fall happened. Such video evidence can significantly enhance the value of your claim.
The shoes that you are wearing at the time of the incident can also be used as evidence in a slip and fall case. The substance you slipped on, whether it was clean or dirty, can leave clues about the length of time the substance was on the floor.
No one plans to be involved in a slip and fall accident, but it is essential to know what to do if it happens to you or someone you know.
- Like many other accidents, adrenaline can mask injuries you may have sustained. If there is any evidence you might have sustained injuries in an establishment, ask them to call emergency services for you.
- Notify the establishment of your fall, but do not sign anything at the time.
- Document the day and time of the accident, and request a copy of any medical records related to the fall.
- If you are able, or someone else can do it for you, take pictures of what caused your fall.
- Take pictures of any contusions (bruises), or lacerations (cuts and scrapes), or swelling from injuries you sustained during the fall. Continue to take photos documenting the recovery process.
- If there are witnesses that stop to render aid, ask for their contact information.
- Video footage may be deleted, so contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that all evidence can be preserved.
- Store the shoes you were wearing, without cleaning them. Store them in a sealed plastic container or bag until your attorney tells you whether they will be needed or not.
Numerous pieces of evidence can be used to either help or hurt your case. Knowing what that evidence is and when and how to use it can be vital to your case. You need an attorney who knows how to collect that evidence and use it effectively. The Slip and Fall attorneys at Lopez Law Group know how to gather, protect, and use any evidence in your claim.
What happens if the evidence is destroyed?
As we have established, evidence is crucial in a slip and fall case. Whether it is photos of the scene or video surveillance that shows the incident, maintaining this evidence is critical to your lawsuit. Please consult with The Lopez Law Group as soon as possible after your accident. If you retain us, we can send a spoliation letter to the party at fault. A spoliation letter requests that the at-fault party does not destroy any of the evidence related to the incident.
Without a spoliation letter, a business will often destroy evidence quickly that relates to the incident. Destroying evidence is more likely if the evidence shows that the establishment is liable for the accident, and when it is destroyed, your chance for recovering damages declines exponentially. It is our firm policy to send out a spoliation letter as soon as we are retained for any personal injury case.
An attorney can then ask for copies of the evidence, but often the opposing party will not share that evidence until they are forced to do so by a lawsuit. Up until that point, you must rely on the evidence you gathered, such as photos taken with your phone.
Conditions that lead to slip and fall injuries
- Slippery or wet floors that are not marked as such
- Uneven, broke, or cracked surface
- Poor lighting
- Uneven or cracked sidewalks
- Store aisles that are blocked with products that have not been shelved
- Potholes or open grates on a sidewalk
- Steep, sloping driveways—especially in inclement weather
- Exposed tree roots
- Missing or broken handrails
- Torn carpeting and changes in flooring heights
- Uneven or narrow stairs or steps
- Supermarkets can have fruit, vegetables, and other produce or food dropped on the floor
- Cords or wires stretched across the floor
Common injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents
Injuries sustained from a slip and fall accident can range from minor sprains and strains to brain injuries or even death. The most common injuries seen in slip and fall accidents include:
- Back or neck injuries—it is not uncommon to fall flat on your back or to hit a shelf or other items on your way down that cause injury to your neck or back. These can range from strained muscles to shattered vertebra. Serious back injuries can result in a significant loss of function that might take extensive surgery and rehabilitation to recover. In the most severe cases, you might never regain full function.
- Twisted knees or ankles—strained or sprained joints are common in slip and fall accidents. A sprained ankle may not seem like a serious injury, but if you work on your feet or somewhere that walking is required, it can be six weeks or more before you can get back to work. These types of injuries can result in significant lost wages.
- Torn or injured muscles—a torn muscle, depending on its location and the severity, can be a painful nuisance, or something that keeps you bed-bound until it heals. Torn or injured muscles can often feel like normal soreness in the immediate aftermath of a fall. It might not be until you realize it is not abating that you realize something is wrong. Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you notice warmth, swelling, or an increase in pain after your accident.
- Shoulder injuries—it is a natural reaction to try to break your fall when you trip, and this reaction can often result in an injury to the shoulder.
- Head injuries—You may hit your head on the ground, or objects or furnishings in the store, as you fall. Falls like this can leave you with a concussion, or even a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can cause a loss of cognitive function, memory loss, trouble concentrating, or even changes in your personality.
- Broken bones—falls are notorious for resulting in broken bones. You might break an arm in trying to catch yourself or soften your fall or shatter a hip if the fall results in you falling on your buttocks or hip. Broken bones may heal with casting, require surgery, or in the case of a broken vertebra or a hip, require extensive rehabilitation to recover. A broken bone is also likely to result in significant time away from work, which can increase any potential award.
- Lacerations—there are any number of fall scenarios that can result in cuts to the skin. Some of these may be minor, but others can be quite severe. Lacerations pose a threat for infection, and can also leave you with permanent scarring or disfigurement.
When attempting to recover damages sustained in a fall, the mechanism of an injury must match the actual injuries you sustained. You cannot claim a shoulder injury if you fell and landed on your knee unless there is clear evidence that you also struck your shoulder on something. A defense attorney will pick apart injuries that do not seem to match the fall.
What are the damages in a slip and fall accident in St. Petersburg Florida?
The damages in a slip and fall accident are not limited to the physical injuries you suffered. You can also be compensated for economic damages that go beyond the cost of medical care. You may be entitled to damages from missed time at work, the loss of a job, or expenses related to paying someone to do tasks you could not perform yourself due to your injuries.
A trip and fall accident can happen unexpectedly and have a significant impact on your life. If the fall is caused by unsafe conditions that the defendant could have prevented, you are entitled to fair compensation. If you sustained a serious injury, it could be hard to think about anything beyond your recovery. However, we know you may need financial support until you reach your maximum medical improvement. Let us help you get the settlement or award you deserve for the injuries, medical costs, lost time for work, and pain and suffering you have experienced.
Pain and suffering from a fall are also factored into any potential award of damages. It can all add up to a substantial award, but liability is often disputed in these types of cases. Insurance companies for the defendant typically make low offers of settlement early on in the dispute. Without an attorney, many who sustain injuries take these lowball offers because they do not know what their claim is truly worth.
In summary, you can recoup damages for:
- Past and future physical pain and suffering
- Lasting physical impairment
- Past and future medical expenses, as well as incidental expenses associated with your medical care
- Past and future lost wages and any reduction in your earning capacity
Let Us Help!
At The Lopez Law Group, we know how to negotiate with insurance company adjusters. In Florida, there is a statute of limitations on how long you can seek to recover damages after a slip and fall. The statute of limitations can vary depending on whether you are bringing an action against a private entity, business, or government agency, or municipality. Act quickly after your accident to avoid risking the statute of limitations expiring, rendering you unable to bring a claim.
We stand ready and willing to discuss your slip and fall injury. We have the experience necessary to steer your case in the right direction, and we know which legal strategies work best for your unique situation. Give us a call today at (727) 933-0015. Our St Petersburg slip and fall attorneys are standing by and are ready to offer a free initial consultation to determine if we can help you.
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What Our Clients Say
Mr. Lopez was a Godsend and really helped me with my situation. Him and the entire firm were very diligent and helped speed the early stages of the process along due to a pressing situation. Throughout my experience working with the firm, they were always responsive and available any time I had a question or wanted to check on the state of affairs. Hopefully I won’t have to recommend Lopez Law Group to my friends or family, but if those unfortunate circumstances arise then there’s only one name I would trust. Thank you again for all your help!
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