Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injury or even death. According to Florida Health, unintentional falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among the state’s residents ages 65 years and older. When a fall is due to the negligence of a property owner, the victim or their family may have the right to recover damages. Slip and fall claims in Florida must be filed within four years from the moment the fall and subsequent injury occurred according to Florida’s statute of limitations (Florida law 95.11(3)(6)).
What is premises liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that applies when the injury was caused by an unsafe condition on someone else’s property. To prove a property owner is liable for injuries sustained by another on their property, the injured party would have to prove negligence. It must be shown that the proprietor failed in their duty to reasonably care for the safety of their patrons and that their negligence resulted in damage to another.
Slip and fall statute of limitations in Florida
A statute of limitations is defined as a period of time for bringing certain kinds of legal action to the court. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a slip and fall case is four years. To reiterate, an individual has four years from the date of an accident to file a premises liability suit against a property owner.
Steps to take after a slip and fall accident
Although every slip and fall case is unique, there are steps each person should take to ensure their wellbeing, as well as to have a better outcome in their personal injury claim or court case. Following these suggestions could give an individual a better chance of receiving the compensation they deserve to afford proper medical attention, and take care of themselves and their families if it is required of them to be out of work.
Seek medical attention
Although some injuries are obvious, like a broken bone or bruised hip, some are not so apparent. Concussions and sprains are some of the unseen injuries that may not be immediately apparent, some taking days or weeks to be made known. This is why medical attention should be obtained immediately following a slip and fall accident.
From a legal standpoint, an individual should seek medical attention within 72 hours of a slip and fall accident. Injuries reported to medical professionals should be consistent with accident reports included in legal claims. For more information, read “Know What To Do After A Slip and Fall Accident.”
Report the accident
An individual should report the incident to the premises owner or person in charge of the location the moment it occurs. A report should include:
- Date, time, and location of the incident.
- The names of witnesses to the accident.
- A description of how the incident occurred.
- Environmental conditions that played a role in the accident.
- Any damaged equipment or property that caused or contributed to the incident.
- Specific injuries incurred by the injured party.
When an individual is injured on another’s property, it is important that they take pictures of the scene of the accident using their cell phone. To create a clear picture, the injured person should take photos from multiple angles to create a clear picture of the scene of the accident. If the injured person is unable to take photos because of their injuries, they may ask a friend or family member to handle the photographic documentation. A clear written description of what occurred leading up to the incident is also beneficial.
Limit your conversation with property managers or owners
Beyond reporting a slip and fall accident to property managers or owners, an injured individual should limit their contact and conversations with them. Anything said to a proprietor may be used against the injured party in a court of law. Further, there is no legal requirement for any individual to make a recorded statement. Information shared in a recording can be detrimental to an injured person’s case.
Call an experienced slip and fall attorney
An individual should contact an experienced slip and fall attorney at the earliest possible opportunity. Attorneys qualified in this nuanced form of law can help an individual file the necessary paperwork right from the start. Once a claim is filed on an individual’s behalf, the property owner or manager then has the opportunity to respond before any further court proceedings commence. During the interim, a slip and fall attorney can help an individual build evidence for their case, which can include depositions, interrogatories, or subpoenas. They will also expertly handle any legal filings and respond to any court motions. From the moment of the accident to either a settlement is agreed upon or a final judgment is issued, an experienced attorney will handle all legal communication on an individual’s behalf, ensuring that they receive the compensation they deserve.
How long can a slip and fall claim take to settle?
Each slip and fall case is different. Due to the numerous variety of different variables that can occur, it is often impossible to know how long a slip and fall claim can take to settle. Factors include the extent of injuries, the circumstances of the accident, insurance policies, as well as the attitude each party has toward reaching a settlement. If either party is determined not to settle, then both parties must prepare for a civil lawsuit. In the case of a lawsuit, the process can take much longer. However, most slip and fall cases do settle out of court. This is contributed to the fact that most property owners know that the law will generally hold them responsible for any injuries sustained on their property. Property owners are also aware that it is more expensive to go to court than to agree on a settlement.
Call an experienced slip and fall attorney
At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, our personal injury law firm is proud of the lawsuit verdicts and personal injury settlements achieved on behalf of our clients. If you or a loved one have slipped, tripped, fallen, and gotten injured as a result of another person’s carelessness, you may be eligible for compensation. Speak to an experienced slip and fall attorney today before the statute of limitations expires. For a free consultation, call (305) 662-6178 or visit panterlaw.com.