Some may be shocked to learn that more people are injured every year from falling than they are injured from motor vehicle crashes. Falls at home and work are the second leading cause of preventable injury-related death and the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in the United States, according to the National Safety Council.
In 2019, 39,443 people died in falls at home and work across the U.S., according to the National Safety Council. In addition, falls are a leading reason for emergency room visits, accounting for 32% of all preventable non-fatal injuries.
Among Florida residents, unintentional falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among people who are 65 years and older and the fourth-leading cause of injury-related death overall, according to the Florida Department of Health. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury-related hospital admission in Florida, which is similar to the trend seen in national statistics.
In 2014, 2,764 Floridians died from an unintentional fall, along with 67,860 hospitalizations for fall-related injuries. Florida Department of Health data also shows that men are at an overall higher risk than women of fall-related deaths. Additionally, the risk of falling increases by age. Residents 85-years and older have the highest rates of death and hospitalizations due to falls.
People injured in a fall are also at risk of suffering a financial burden after visiting the hospital. The median admission charge for a hospital stay due to a non-fatal fall-related injury is $52,191 according to the Florida Department of Health. Fall-related hospitalizations last about four days, putting a strain on families if someone is out of work for that amount of time.
Florida Slip and Fall Statutes
The statute of limitations in Florida to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident is *two years. Under Florida law 95.11(3)(a), the victim of a slip and fall in Florida has two years from the date of the accident to file their claim. If one were to miss the two-year deadline, the case would be subject to dismissal leaving the victim with no chance of recovery.
Injured After a Slip and Fall: Next Steps
Knowing that falls are a serious and prevalent risk factor for injury or death, it is essential to understand what to do after a slip and fall accident. The steps you take immediately following an accident can have a significant impact on a victim’s health along with the outcome of a negligence claim.
- Make a report. Contact the premises owner or person in charge of the location and report the accident as soon as possible.
- Talk to witnesses. Gather contact information from anyone present at the time of the accident.
- Document evidence. Use your phone to take pictures of the scene of the accident and document injuries. Take multiple photos from different angles to help create a clear picture. A friend or family member may also handle this if the injured person is unable to do so.
- Seek medical care and report injuries accurately. Obtain medical attention for slip-and-fall injuries within 72 hours of the accident. Injuries reported to medical professionals should be consistent with accident reports included in legal claims.
- Attend follow-up medical care. It is necessary that anyone seeking a slip-and-fall claim follow medical recommendations and attend all follow-up appointments. Missing an appointment could signal to an insurance company or jury that an injury was not as severe as originally stated.
- Refuse recorded statements. There is no legal requirement for an individual to give a recorded statement to any representative of an insurance company. Information shared in a recording could be detrimental to a case later on.
When you or someone you love has suffered injuries after a slip-and-fall accident caused by the negligence of an organization or individual, it is crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The team at Panter, Panter & Sampedro has extensive experience across all areas of personal injury. We offer free consultations to help determine if your best option is moving forward with legal action for compensation. Please call our office at (305) 662-6178 to schedule a consultation today.
*On March 24, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 837 reducing Florida’s statute of limitations for general negligence cases from four years to two years. In other words, a lawsuit alleging negligence must now be filed within two years of the date of the alleged negligence or the claim will be forever barred.
Florida Department of Health. Falls in Florida – Surveillance Data: 2012. Retrieved from: http://ww11.doh.state.fl.us/comm/_partners/infographics_injury_prevention/office_printing/falls_in_florida_8.5×11.pdf
National Safety Council. Deaths by Demographics. Top 10 Preventable Injuries. Retrieved from: https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/all-injuries/deaths-by-demographics/top-10-preventable-injuries/
Goguen. Florida Slip and Fall Laws. Retrieved from: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-slip-and-fall-laws.html