At some point in our lives, every one of us will end up on our rears. Maybe we tripped on our own stairs or were knocked down in a sporting event. What makes this situation even worse is when our fall isn’t our own fault.
Many individuals can immediately recover from the incident without further thought. Sometimes, however, slip and fall accidents may cause life-altering injuries, leaving victims struggling to return to normal. Victims who suffer serious injuries in a slip and fall accident may never return to work or participate in activities they enjoyed in their daily lives. More severe injuries may leave victims with permanent limitations that impact every aspect of their life.
When you walk into a restaurant, a store, or down the street, you expect to find safe conditions. You don’t expect to find slippery floors, water on the sidewalk, or spilled food. All of these scenarios create unsafe conditions that can lead to serious injury.
If you encounter these or similar situations, you need to know what to do next. The thing to remember is that you did not cause your injuries and that you should not have to pay for them.
For assistance making sure your bills are covered, you need an aggressive and compassionate slip and fall attorney in Fort Myers to take your case. Experienced Fort Myers slip and fall attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Viles & Beckman for a free consultation and case evaluation today.
Seeking Compensation for Your Injuries
Your injuries impact your ability to enjoy your life. Because you played no part in causing your slip and fall, you should bear no responsibility for the bills associated with your recovery.
After suffering injuries in a slip and fall, whether victims notice the injuries immediately after the accident or at a later time, injured victims deserve compensation for their injuries. The experienced Fort Myers slip and fall attorneys at Viles & Beckman regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. Contact us as soon after your accident as possible.
After a fall that results in injuries, victims deserve compensation for their injuries, but how much should they expect?
While no attorney can guarantee the results of any unique claim, most victims can include several common categories of damages when seeking compensation for their injuries, including:
- Medical costs. Even minor injuries can lead to high medical bills. Broken bones, for example, may require ambulance transport to the hospital, emergency room treatment, and even surgical procedures to set the bone properly. Injured victims may require extensive physical therapy to return to normal functionality. Victims are entitled to claim compensation to cover all their medical bills in their slip and fall claims.
- Lost income. Injuries may prevent individuals from returning to work, which will result in lost wages on top of medical bills and other expenses. An attorney can instruct clients about how to calculate the lost wages resulting from their accident. Lost wages may include wages lost immediately after the accident, as well as future lost wages that may be incurred after future medical procedures.
- Pain and suffering. An attorney can help injured victims calculate the costs associated with pain and suffering resulting from the accident’s impact on all areas of their life. Pain and suffering includes losses beyond the physical pain of the victim’s injuries. If victims can’t participate in activities they once enjoyed due to their severe injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.
- Loss of companionship
- Rehabilitation costs
- Emotional distress
Even the most minor injuries may come with major medical costs. What many clients don’t anticipate is future costs. You may have medical bills sitting on your kitchen table, but those aren’t the only bills you’ll need to pay. Our compassionate and aggressive personal injury team will help you recover damages to help you cover all of your medical costs.
We Know What Evidence to Look For
Immediately after your slip and fall, your biggest priority should be making sure that you get better. You’re not an expert in slip and fall cases, and you may not even know what to look for to support your claim.
But we do. Since 1995, we’ve been collecting evidence for victims of slip and fall accidents in Florida. We interview witnesses before they forget details about your accident. We make sure your injuries are documented. And we’ll get copies of any accident reports.
This isn’t all we do. We also make sure your case is provable:
- Was there a dangerous condition?
- Did the property owner fail to act reasonably?
- Did the property owner violate the law?
Answering yes to the above questions helps to build your case. Our job is to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve to get better. We focus on the legal work while you focus on your recovery.
Settlements Aren’t Always in Your Best Interest
The insurance company of the property owner will likely contact you with a settlement offer. Until you speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer who reviews the offer, don’t accept it.
Most likely, this is a low ball offer that won’t cover all of your medical costs. Besides that, you may have to waive your right to bring a future claim against the insurance company. This means you could find yourself in extreme financial hardship if you take the first low ball offer from the insurance company.
They know you have medical bills piling up, and they know you need fast cash. They want you to take the low ball offer. Insurance companies make money by not paying out claims. Don’t let this happen to you. Speak with us today to make sure that your rights are protected and that you get the compensation you deserve to get back on your feet.
How Much Is a Slip and Fall Case Worth?
It all depends on the circumstances of your accident. But rest assured, insurance companies won’t want to settle for the full value of your claim. They may get away with it too if you decide not to use an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of making money. If they pay out your claim, that hurts their bottom line. Their insurance adjusters are trained to pay out as little as possible for every claim that comes across their desk.
Having the right slip and fall lawyer on your side is one of the most important factors in making sure you get the full value of your claim. Insurance companies know that Viles & Beckman is aggressive and won’t settle unless it’s right for you. We can help you get the compensation you need to pay your bills and get back on your feet.
What We Do for You
At Viles & Beckman, it’s our job to reduce your stress and handle the legal work, so you can focus on your recovery. We do that by taking care of the paperwork. Personal injury claims are complex and there is a great deal of paperwork that you must file and review. We’ll handle this so that you don’t have to worry about it.
While it’s true that most cases settle out of court, we won’t settle your case unless it benefits you. Ultimately, we want you to get better, and that means you need a certain amount of money. We will aggressively fight with the insurance company to get you what you need.
If we can’t get there in a settlement, we are fully prepared to take your case all the way to trial, if necessary, to get you compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Without a trusted personal injury lawyer fighting for you, you risk getting nothing for your personal injury claim and having to pay your medical expenses out of pocket. Avoiding this scenario is one of the best ways for you to make sure your focus is on your recovery.
Slip and Fall Causes
According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, slip and fall accidents are common. Causes may include:
- Recently waxed floors
- Uneven surfaces
- Loose rugs
- Uneven stairs
- Spilled food or liquids
While everyone should look where they’re walking, certain dangers are hidden, so even if you are diligent, you may not see the issue ahead. Besides, it’s never your fault that you slipped on something that should have been cleaned up by the property owner.
Even if you weren’t paying attention to where you were walking, that doesn’t remove liability from the property owner. In Florida, property owners, whether the property is commercial or residential, owe you a duty of care to keep their property safe. If you’re injured on their property, they’ve probably failed in that duty and owe you compensation for your injuries.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slipping and falling may not seem like it could cause serious injury. Most often, the most injured part of your body is your ego. After a fall, you may feel embarrassed and just want out of the situation. But according to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and falls account for more than one million emergency room visits each year.
In reality, slipping and falling can cause life long negative consequences for your health. Even seemingly insignificant falls on relatively level ground can surprisingly result in serious injuries that cause lifelong impacts. Elderly individuals or those who have underlying health conditions may have a higher likelihood of suffering serious implications from a fall. However, healthy individuals can also suffer severe consequences after experiencing a fall, especially if they fall down stairs or off of a higher platform.
Common injuries include:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Frequently, victims endure some impact to their head during a slip and fall accidents. Victims who hit their heads, especially if they experience loss of consciousness, may suffer a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can have physical, mental, and emotional impacts on injured victims, preventing them from participating in daily activities—including returning to work.
Victims of traumatic brain injury may struggle with:
- Chronic ringing in the ears, tunnel vision, or blurred vision. Traumatic brain injuries can permanently alter a victim’s ability to process sensory input, making it difficult to process the world around them.
- Memory difficulties. After experiencing a traumatic brain injury, many people assume victims will have difficulty recalling and recreating gaps in their memory. Equally problematic, however, is the loss of short-term memory, which can make it difficult for victims to complete everyday tasks or participate in normal activities.
- Struggle with focus and concentration. Individuals with traumatic brain injury often struggle to maintain their focus and attention on the task at hand. Distractions may prevent victims from completing tasks efficiently or prioritizing their schedules. The inability to focus can make it extremely difficult to complete more complex work tasks. Many individuals with traumatic brain injuries may never return to work in the same capacity as before their accident for an extensive period of time. In cases involving severe traumatic brain injuries, victims may never return to work in the same capacity as before the injury.
- Sleep disturbances. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep can cause difficulties in normal functioning. Lack of sleep can also exacerbate other symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Many victims of traumatic brain injury may struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, while others may sleep too often as the brain tries to heal itself.
- Mood changes or mood swings. Some victims of traumatic brain injury struggle with regulating their emotions. Irregularity in emotional responses may cause victims to wildly swing between emotions from one moment and the next. In addition, victims may struggle to appropriately regulate their emotional responses to external stimuli.
- Personality changes. Some victims with traumatic brain injury suffer from extreme changes in their personalities. In some cases, friends and family members may no longer recognize individuals because their normal behaviors and characteristics have changed.
Many victims of traumatic brain injury struggle with symptoms related to their injury for the rest of their lives. Victims of even minor traumatic brain injury may report symptoms more than a year after the initial accident.
Many slip and fall accidents result in broken or fractured bones. Victims oftentimes attempt to break the impact of a fall and may experience broken fingers, hands, or arms. Elderly individuals often break hip bones in a slip and fall accident, which can result in a long and difficult recovery. In some cases, elderly individuals who experience a broken hip may suffer from permanent loss of mobility, and consequently, independence.
Broken bones can cause complications for fall victims, making it difficult to return to their everyday lives and activities.
- Loss of mobility. Victims who suffer bone breaks of their lower extremities may require medical equipment to enable and aid mobility while they recover. Depending on the age of the victim and the severity of the injury, crutches, a scooter, or even a wheelchair may be necessary. Even after a bone fracture heals, some victims may experience ongoing stiffness or overall loss of mobility as a result of their injuries.
- Ongoing pain. Some victims suffer pain in broken limbs even after the fracture heals. Others may notice that pain occasionally flares up after specific types of activities or changes in the weather.
- Inability to perform work tasks. Depending on the type of work tasks that an individual is required to complete, broken bones can significantly impact their ability to return to work. For example, broken bones in the hands may make it difficult to type or complete other tasks at a desk. On the other hand, broken bones in the leg may make it difficult for victims to complete manual labor tasks.
Some victims suffer secondary injuries in the event of a slip and fall accident. If the victim falls on a pointed object or connects with a sharp corner, they may experience severe lacerations. Lacerations often lead to significant immediate blood loss, especially in the case of deep or extensive cuts. Laceration wounds may also result in scarring that can permanently change an individual’s appearance. Some scars from lacerations may also limit mobility, particular scars located on or around an individual’s joints.
Chronic Back Pain
After a fall, many victims report back pain. For some victims, back pain can become chronic. Across the United States, as many as 8 percent of adults suffer from chronic back pain.
Ongoing back pain can:
- Limit activities. Many victims who suffer from chronic back pain report that they cannot enjoy many of their favorite leisure activities. Victims may deliberately avoid those activities to avoid further pain.
- Prevent the victim from working. Many people report difficulties in completing basic job duties while suffering from ongoing back pain. Simply sitting at a desk or in the driver’s seat of a vehicle for an extended period of time can increase back pain. In the United States, individuals experiencing chronic back pain lose as many as 83 million workdays per year.
Other injuries you might sustain from a Fort Myers slip and fall accident include:
- Swollen joints
- Spinal cord injuries
Slipping and falling is no joke. According to the National Safety Council, five percent of all people who slip and fall break a bone. Even if you don’t feel any pain right after your fall, that doesn’t mean you’re clear from any injuries. Seeking prompt medical attention is the only way to make sure that you are all right.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall
There are several steps you need to take immediately following a slip and fall. These steps are important to not only ensure your safety but also ensure that you are financially compensated.
- Seek medical attention right away. Even if you don’t feel pain, get a medical professional to evaluate you. In addition to getting medical attention, this will create documentation about your accident and the injuries that you suffered. This will come in handy for your claim.
- Get a police report. This may sound like an extreme step, but getting a police report will help document the accident scene and what happened. Besides that, the police will interview any witnesses to your slip and fall. While the police may not cite anyone at fault, this information will help your slip and fall lawyer fight to protect your rights.
- Take pictures of the area. If you’re able, take pictures of your injuries and the area where you fell. Pay close attention to any slippery, wet, or uneven areas, and get detailed pictures.
- Don’t speak to the insurance company. The insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. The insurance company will want to speak with you as soon as possible, take your recorded statement, and then use that statement to get you to settle for less than your claim is worth. Speaking with a skilled personal injury lawyer first can help you avoid costly mistakes when you do speak with the insurance company.
- Call Viles & Beckman. Since 1995, we have been helping Floridians just like you who have been injured in slip and fall accidents. Our job is to make your recovery as smooth as possible while ensuring that the negligent party pays your bills.
- Continue to document everything. Even after your accident, document everything. Keep your medical bills. Keep copies of your medical records. Keep a journal of your pain and discomfort. No bruise or pain is too small or insignificant to ignore. These documents can help your case.
You should also give notice to the property owner. You do not, however, need to provide them with a lengthy and detailed description or account of what happened. Under no circumstances should you mention the fall was in any way your fault. Fault is determined by an investigation by your lawyer and the insurance company. Saying the slip and fall was even partially your fault may seriously harm your ability to recover the compensation that you need to make a full and complete recovery.
Holding the Negligent Party Liable
Slip and fall cases may seem simple. In reality, they are complex personal injury cases that require the keen eye of an experienced and skilled personal injury lawyer. Under Florida law, property owners must keep their property reasonably safe for all who enter.
To hold property owners liable for your injuries, they must not have acted as a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would have acted. This is why you see wet floor signs as you enter a store or mall during the rainy season. The owner of the property must take steps to dry the floor as people enter and provide a warning that the floor is wet.
Other examples include:
- A restaurant employee failing to clean up a spilled drink in a reasonable amount of time
- A mall owner failing to repair parking lot potholes
- A city failing to repair uneven sidewalk pavement
Your claim will be against the property owner on whose property you were injured. Most likely, this will involve their insurance company. Have a trusted personal injury attorney by your side to help you navigate the complexities of your personal injury claim and to help deal with the insurance company.
Fort Myers Slip and Fall FAQ
If we were to ask you what the leading causes of ER visits in the United States is, what would you say? Chances are you’d come up with things like car accidents, heart attacks, or accidental poisonings. But what about falls? Approximately 8 million people visit the ER because of a fall every single year. Of these, a large percentage of the patients are elderly.
According to the CDC, one in four adults 65 and older will suffer a fall this year. Those who fall are at risk of fractures, brain injuries, and even death. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies have a harder time responding to injury. Consequently, older adults may never fully recover from a serious fall. While a large number of falls happen at home, far too many happen in public places, such as grocery stores, restaurants, or parking lots. If you or a loved one has suffered a fall due to someone’s negligence, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys for more information about your legal rights.