Common Slip and Fall Injuries in Florida31Oct
Common slip and fall injuries in Florida include soft tissue injuries, broken or fractured bones, wrist or ankle sprains, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). They stem from improper safety practices, unsafe ladders and stairs, environmental conditions, and wet or uneven surfaces.
Slip and fall injuries are part of premises liability claims. As such, if you sustain this kind of injury, you may seek compensation from the owner of the premises where the incident happened. In Florida, you have up to two years to bring a claim against the premises owner.
Statistics on Slip and Fall Injuries in Florida
As of 2021, trips, falls, and slips were Florida’s second-most frequent fatal work events. These accidents resulted in 69 fatalities. These numbers show that slip and fall accidents continue to pose a safety and health risk to Floridians using shared spaces.
Florida legislators are constantly amending premises liability laws, especially statutes that protect those hurt in slips and falls on public or private property. They do this to ensure that accident victims exercise their right to pursue compensation. The laws also pressure business establishments and property owners to be vigilant about slip and fall hazards on their properties.
Understanding Slip and Fall Accident Claims
A slip-and-fall accident claim is usually brought against a property owner, whose duty is to ensure that his or her establishment is free from hazards. A lawyer with a record of resolving cases like yours can help you determine how much your slip-and-fall claim is worth. The lawyer can also present strong and convincing evidence to prove that the property or business owner was aware of or should have known about the dangerous condition.
Premises Liability and Negligence Laws in Florida
Slip and fall accident claims fall under premises liability claims regulated by Florida law. So, you must understand what the state law requires before you pursue a premises liability claim or lawsuit. Your premises liability lawyer will help you explore your legal options and break down the important parts of Florida law that apply to your case.
Building a premises liability case requires you to prove that there was a hazardous condition in the establishment. You need to prove negligence on the side of the business establishment, property owner, or person in control of the property. The law also requires you to demonstrate that you were injured or suffered a loss because of someone else’s or an entity’s negligence.
When to Consider Contacting a Slip and Fall Attorney
While slip-and-fall claims often settle out of court, you still need a lawyer to represent your best interests throughout the settlement process. If a fair settlement isn’t reached, the lawyer can help you pursue a lawsuit and argue your case before a judge or jury. Here are the circumstances you should consider contacting a slip and fall attorney:
- You suffered serious injuries and cannot resume your pre-injury life
- You are unsure whether the property owner or business establishment was negligent
- The property owner is denying liability for the accident.
- You need help dealing with the insurance company
- You are facing financial hardship due to your injuries
- You need to understand your legal rights and how to proceed with your premises liability claim
Causes of Slip and Falls in Florida
Surface conditions, like loose floorboards, wet floors, and bulging or loose carpeting, are some of the top causes of slip-and-fall accidents in Florida. The accidents may also occur in buildings or establishments with poor lighting, inadequate signage, and maintenance and property negligence.
Wet and Slippery Surfaces
A wet and slippery surface may be covered in water, rain, or another liquid that can affect movement. The liquid acts as a lubricant, reducing the friction between the floor and your feet.
You may slip and fall when walking on a surface with less friction. The property owner has a legal duty to mitigate or eliminate this hazard, ensuring the visitors’ safety. If a property owner doesn’t warn people about wet and slippery surfaces on his or her premises, the owner may be liable for any injuries a visitor suffers.
Uneven or Damaged Surfaces
Any floor surface that slopes, buckles, bounces, or sags is described as uneven. The surface is often not smooth, straight, or flat, increasing the risk of slip-and-fall accidents for people using it. An even surface can be due to structure settling, ground shifting, foundation cracks, excess water, and worn-out materials. If you are injured after slipping and falling on an uneven surface, you may have grounds for a premises liability claim against the negligent property owner or business establishment.
Poor Lighting and Inadequate Signage
A poorly lit walkway or hallway may not be visible. There might be hazards, such as snags in the carpet or power cords, which increase the risk of slipping and falling. If a trip occurs, the accident can cause head or lower limb injuries.
Good lighting in a walkway or hallway can help you focus on your movement and avoid tripping hazards. The same applies to safety signage, which warn you of an upcoming hazard, reducing accidents, injuries, and even risk of death. These signs must be placed where everyone can easily see and read them.
Maintenance and Property Negligence
If a property owner doesn’t maintain a safe environment in his or her establishment, he or she is considered negligent. Property owners should proactively address safety hazards and conduct routine inspections and repairs. Doing this can prevent hazardous conditions, such as inadequate lighting, cracked walkways, and damaged flooring.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
A slip-and-fall accident may cause broken bones, fractures, tendon and ligament tears, nerve damage, and head injuries. You need a qualified doctor to diagnose and treat injuries to your bones, muscles, joints, nerves, tendons, and ligaments.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Traumas like slip and fall are leading causes of fractures and broken bones. If you break your bone in a slip-and-fall accident, you will need a surgeon to repair it. The difficulties you’ll experience after a fracture or a broken bone will vary with the nature and location of the injury.
Either way, the injured body part may have swelling, tenderness, or bruising. You may also experience pain when exerting pressure on the injury or moving, pressing, and touching the area. The broken bone or fracture may appear deformed and poke through the skin.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries vary in intensity. They range from ligament and tendon tears to minor sprains. They are also not easily visible, like abrasions or cuts, and may take a while to show up. However, these injuries are usually serious and can cause chronic pain if you fail to seek proper treatment.
Tendons, muscles, and ligaments are the most common soft tissues that can get injured from a slip-and-fall accident. Symptoms of soft tissue injuries include cramping, pain, inflammation, swelling, muscle weakness, and muscle spasms. While most of these slip-and-fall injury symptoms can settle without treatment, some require medical treatment and may result in chronic pain, discomfort, decreased strength, swelling, and stiffness.
Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
A head injury can affect the underlying blood vessels or tissues in the head, skull, brain, or scalp. It can be characterized as a fractured skull bone, open or deep cut wound, concussion, brain damage, or internal bleeding. This type of injury can progress into a serious form, known as a traumatic brain injury, if the trauma to the head is significant.
Traumatic brain injuries cause temporary or permanent problems with brain function. They can impact how you act, communicate, move, understand, and think. So, you should seek medical attention as soon as you experience any unusual behavioral, cognitive, or sensory changes in your body following a slip-and-fall accident.
A slip-and-fall accident can cause a head injury or TBI if the victim falls on his or her head or gets hit by an object on the head. Common symptoms of head injuries include issues with balance, dizziness or lightheadedness, confusion, and irritability. Victims may also experience sensitivity to light and noise and headaches.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury is any damage sustained to the spinal cord. It may result in social, mental, and emotional adverse effects. Common symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Exaggerated spasms or reflex activities
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of movements
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Back injuries from slips and falls aren’t always immediately apparent. However, if they occur and remain undetected, these injuries may result in a chronic condition. The victim may suffer paralysis or numbness gradually or quickly.
Your treating doctor may order imaging tests like X-ray, MRI, or CT scans to check for any abnormal changes in your spinal cord. These tests help determine the location of the injury. While most spinal cord injuries are irreversible, researchers are continually developing new medications to improve nerve function in the spinal cord.