Seminole Slip & Fall Attorney
These incidents are especially common, and especially severe, among older Americans. Frequently, these individuals have pre-existing conditions which increase the risk and/or severity of a fall. Most younger people are able to recover their balance if they stumble. But many older adults have gait disorders. So, when they stumble, they usually fall. Additionally, many older people have arthritis and other medical conditions that transform mild falls into serious injury falls.
Thanks to the eggshell skull rule, maximum compensation is usually available in these situations. Overall, some people should never be able to take advantage of other people because these individuals are physically weak. This overall principle applies in Florida civil courts. Insurance companies should never be able to take advantage of weak people, in or out of court.
Maximum compensation is available, but insurance companies don’t simply give it away. Instead, a tough Seminole slip & fall attorney from The Reep Law Firm must fight for it. The fight begins by thoroughly reviewing your case and identifying all your legal options. Then, our professional team obtains evidence that supports your claims and refutes insurance company defenses. Finally, once the case goes to court, we don’t settle for anything less than the best possible result under the circumstances.
Negligence Basics in Florida
A negligence claim usually begins with a duty of care. In Florida, the extent of this duty varies, usually depending on the relationship between injury victim and property owner:
- Invitee: Most injury victims are invitees in Florida. These individuals have permission to be on the property and their presence benefits the owner, either economically or noneconomically. Because of this benefit, property owners have a duty of care to make their buildings, parking lots, and other places reasonably safe.
- Licensee: Almost all commercial and social guests are invitees. A few people, like guests of apartment tenants, are licensees. These people have permission to be on the land, but they don’t benefit the owner. So, the owner has a lesser duty of care in these situations.
- Trespasser: A handful of premises liability victims are trespassers. These people have no permission to be on the property and they don’t benefit the owner. Therefore, the owner has no duty to look out for their safety. Stories of injured burglars who successfully sued homeowners are mostly urban myths.
Additionally, a Seminole slip & fall attorney must establish actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard.
Direct evidence of actual knowledge, such as restroom cleaning reports, usually come to light during discovery. So, by waiting until the lawsuit enters this phase, victims usually receive additional compensation.
Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known) usually involves the time-notice rule. The longer a fall or other safety hazard existed, the more likely it is that the owner should have known about it, and should have done something about it.
Your Claim for Damages
We mentioned the discovery process above. A few claims settle much sooner. In fact, some claims settle before an attorney files legal paperwork. If all issues in the case are crystal clear, the insurance company has a legal duty to resolve the claim within a few weeks.
However, there’s almost always some questions about damages or liability. Insurance adjusters usually only approve the cheapest treatment approach, as opposed to the best treatment approach. Common defenses in fall injury claims include comparative fault, which basically shifts blame for the fall onto the victim, and assumption of the risk, which usually hinges on a “Caution Wet Floor” or other warning sign.
If a case remains unresolved after the victim files legal paperwork and after discovery, the judge usually appoints a mediator to jumpstart settlement negotiations. Mediators know how to bring two sides together. So, mediation in Florida is about 90 percent successful.
Count on a Diligent Pinellas County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Seminole slip & fall attorney, contact Reep, Coleman & Stubbendorff. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.