Orlando Slip Fall Attorney
As an Orlando slip fall attorney, I get many calls from people who have fallen and injured themselves in all sorts of bad accidents. Problem is, Florida’s slip and fall statute requires that the victims prove some very nit-picky details about their fall, to recover one single penny. It’s not a fair law. But it is what we have. So I have to carefully question everyone about exactly what caused them to fall. I can only accept those cases where there is some proof that the business had notice of whatever caused the person to fall. An Orlando slip fall attorney cannot win cases unless that proof exists.
Good & Bad Examples Of Orlando Slip & Fall Cases
The good news is that I have studied the heck out of Florida’s slip and fall law. We can never be 100% sure what evidence a business might produce to prove that they did not have notice. But we can look carefully at certain factors — and make a pretty good prediction.
So let me give you some good and bad examples.
If you slipped on a wet floor, and have no idea where the liquid came from, then it can be very difficult to prove notice. We must reject many of those cases. The only way we would even consider that type of case is if the person had some reason to know that the liquid had been on the floor for an extended period of time. For example, they were standing in the same grocery store aisle for 20 minutes before they fell, for some reason did not see the liquid themselves, and did not hear anything fall and break. That suggests the liquid was on the floor for more than 20 minutes. But there are other complicated variables we would still need to explore in that type of case.
On the other hand, if a waitress was mopping, and there was no wet floor sign, then we know that the restaurant knew about the liquid because their employee put it there! Similarly, if it was raining, and there was a large puddle inside the door, the store might have known it was there. Again, there could be other facts suggesting they didn’t, like if it had just started raining. So these cases get complicated.
Another good case would be where the store or business installed whatever caused the fall, and there was something wrong with the installation. For example, I had a case where there was a large pipe sticking out from the ground about one foot high. The business owner has notice of something they installed (that’s not debatable). But, again, there must be something very wrong with the construction. Uneven floor levels, with nothing else, generally is not good enough. But there can be exceptions to uneven floor levels — if there is something very unusual about the construction.
Do Your Orlando Slip Fall Attorney Need Photos?
Photos are your friend. They are not always required. But sometimes we cannot consider a case without them. So, if possible, you would be wise to go take photographs of whatever caused you to fall. These should be close up, and wide angle views. Sometimes stores have videos. But we cannot get those videos without filing a lawsuit, which is expensive, and time-consuming. So we have to evaluate cases based on what the client tells us about what happened, and any photographs. Photos can help us clearly see whether the obstacle was unusual and dangerous, or not.
Does It Help If A Store Owner Or Employee Apologized?
It can be very helpful if a store owner or employee apologized after an Orlando slip & fall accident. This is especially true if they apologized in writing. But even verbal apologies can go a long way.
Does It Help If You Have Witnesses To Your Slip & Fall?
It can be very helpful if there were witnesses to the fall, as long as you have their name, and contact information, and they are willing to talk to us.
What Makes An Orlando Slip Fall Attorney Look More Closely At A Potential Case?
An Orlando slip fall attorney will look more closely at the facts of cases involving serious injuries, such as broken bones, herniated discs, brain injuries, or spinal cord injuries.
However, if the notice to the business of whatever caused the fall is clear, then we will often accept cases involving back and neck pain, especially if the person is experiencing numbness, tingling, or radiating pain, because we do not always know how those injuries will progress over time.
We generally do not accept slip and fall cases involving minor injuries. We have to spend way too much time proving cases to make that time worth the effort for minor injuries.
Florida’s Slip Fall Statute Changed For The Worse Back In 2010
If you slipped and fell on a “transitory” object, Florida’s law creates many challenges. Sometime those are easy to overcome. Sometimes they are not. Often injury victims do not collect evidence at the scene, or even know what caused them to fall. Florida’s law hurts many of those victims.
If you slipped on a fixed object, then Florida’s 2010 statute does not apply. But we still have to prove that the business was negligent. Just the fact that you fell, and were injured, is not enough, to prove a case (not by a long shot).
But, there are still many viable slip & fall cases. We just have to carefully evaluate each case.
Anyway, victims must prove the business knew, or should have known, about whatever caused them to fall. This might include something like food or liquid on the floor, or anything else, like a receipt or piece of paper. One good example of when I store might have notice would be water coming from a cooler. Or something frozen, which had melted. This might also include a broken part on the floor or wall (or something sticking out, which caused you to trip). Those types of things prove notice. But, again, these are very fact-intensive cases. So I have to speak with victims to really evaluate whether they might have a good case, or not. There are just too many factors to possibly explain them all here.
Because Florida slip and fall settlement values are all over the map, defense attorneys will not settle slip and fall cases unless there is good proof of notice. And juries often aren’t impressed, either. So you might waste a lot of time and emotional energy if you don’t consider these things from the beginning.
Did You Slip & Fall On Bad Construction?
If there was something unusual about the construction or property, then we look very carefully at the case. Some examples might be construction zones that aren’t well marked, broken objects sticking out from the ground or another spot, or very unusual floor construction.
What Types Of Businesses Get Sued For Orlando Slip & Falls?
All types of businesses are fair game for Orlando slip & fall lawsuits. These often include big stores like grocery stores (Publix, Target, Wal-Mart), pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS), convenience stores (7-11, WaWa), large box stores (Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, Sports Authority, Beall’s, Marshall’s, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and all other major stores). This also includes Orlando bars & restaurants, as well as office buildings or suites.
Can An Orlando Slip Fall Attorney Sue A Homeowner?
An Orlando slip fall attorney can sue homeowners for trip & fall accidents. However, we still must carefully consider the facts. There must be something the homeowner should have known, and done something to improve. For example, if the homeowner placed an obstacle near their front door, and didn’t have good lighting, and you were coming over as a house guest, then they did something wrong. On the other hand, if you just walked from one room to another, and fell because the floor changed levels, that isn’t considered enough to prove a Florida slip & fall case. There is case law saying that uneven floor level cases must be dismissed — unless there was something very unusual about the floors. The reason is that uneven floor levels are common, to be expected, and something we must look and be careful ourselves.
Should You Talk To The Store Risk Management Department?
Many stores have risk management departments. Their job is to pay you the least amount of money, or no money, for any slip & fall accident. They can also testify against you, if we had to file a lawsuit. So it is a very bad idea to speak with corporate risk management personnel before calling an Orlando trip & fall lawyer. Also, never, ever give a recorded statement without first talking to an Orlando slip fall attorney.
Should You Report The Slip & Fall Accident To The Store?
Hopefully you reported the accident as soon as it happened. Or have some other very clear proof that the accident happened at the store, business or home (like a witness). If you did not report the accident on the date that it occurred, then we may or may not be able to help you. Again, you will need some sort of clear proof that the accident happened the way you say it did.
Can Store Videos Help Prove Orlando Slip & Fall Cases?
Many large retail stores record customer movements on a constant basis, throughout the store. I just finished watching a two hour clip from a Wal-Mart store, for example. However, when Orlando slip & fall attorneys are evaluating cases, they often need potential client to have some other proof. The reason is that many times store videos are erased, or the video recorder wasn’t operational, or other problems with the videos. So we cannot take a case based on the hope that any videos will support the plaintiff’s side of the story. That’s why we need witnesses, photographs, or something else to prove what happened.
To be clear, you might technically have a good case without witnesses or photos. And a video might prove your case. But most Orlando slip & fall attorneys will not accept slip & fall cases without some other clear proof, besides possible videos. The reason is that videos may not exist, and stores are not required to save them, or give them to us without an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit. So we do not file lawsuits unless we know that we have solid proof without videos. Videos basically become the icing on the cake for us, if they exist. Videos can also prove that something did not happen the way someone remembered. So they can definitely cut both ways.
Other Facts That Might Help An Orlando Slip Fall Attorney
Some other helpful facts that could help prove an Orlando slip & fall case:
- employee apologies
- witnesses, especially independent witnesses (meaning those not related to you, and not your friend)
- tread marks, cart tracks, or dirt in the spill (especially if you have photographs)
- rust around the spill
- frozen items that have thawed and caused water to leak out
- bad construction, pot holes that weren’t visible in a regular walking path (like leaves covering a pot hole)
- store employees could see whatever caused the fall
- store employees caused whatever the obstacle was (e.g., mopping the floor without a wet floor sign, or spilling water, and not cleaning it up) — and you have proof that is true.
Should You Try To Handle Your Case Without An Orlando Slip Fall Attorney?
Trying to handle an Orlando slip & fall case without an attorney is not only foolish, but you will never (ever) get anywhere, except maybe to mess up your case so much that, when you finally decide you need an attorney, we can’t help you. In my experience, stores sometimes offer very minimal amounts after someone has fallen, such as $500, or to pay their ER bills. If your injuries are significant, and you have the evidence needed, you are entitled to much more. But they will never tell you.
Again, store employees and risk management departments do not want to pay you anything. So their goal once an accident happens is to minimize loss of their money. And they can testify against you. If you talk to them, you will very likely say things that hurt your case. This definitely includes talking about how you are feeling, what injuries you have, and how you are healing (or not). And it includes all of the details about how the accident happened, what caused your fall, etc. Don’t make the very big mistake of thinking a lawyer is not needed.
What Damages Can An Orlando Slip Fall Attorney Help You Recover?
Assuming you can prove that the store was 100% at fault, then you are entitled to recover:
- past medical bills, for treatment for injuries caused by the accident
- future medical bills, for treatment for injuries caused by the accident
- lost wages, caused by the accident
- pain and suffering, including future likely pain and suffering, caused by the accident.
Often times, in slip and fall cases, the plaintiff has some percentage of responsibility for the fall. For example, if they weren’t watching where they were going. That is a common defense argument, and it often applies (unless the obstacle was hidden). In those cases, the damages are reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
How Much Is Your Florida Slip & Fall Case Worth?
There are way too many factors to say what an Orlando slip fall case is worth before we review all evidence, and you receive extensive treatment for your injuries. In general, the first question is how serious your injuries were, and how much treatment you received, or will need in the future. Then we have to determine how strong of a case we have that the business did something wrong. We also have to consider whether you share any percentage of the blame. You can read this summary of many reported Florida slip & fall cases to learn how much case value varies, depending on the facts.
Do You Need Medical Treatment To Get Money An Orlando Slip & Fall Accident?
You definitely need prompt and extensive medical treatment to recover for any slip and fall accident. Further, you need to go to the doctor VERY quickly after any slip & fall accident. You also must stick with your treatment, not miss appointments, and do whatever the doctor recommends (unless you disagree, and then you need a second opinion).
When Should You Hire An Orlando Slip Fall Attorney?
You should hire an Orlando slip fall attorney as soon as possible after your accident. This is very urgent. The reason is that we need to start gathering evidence before it disappears.
What If Your Existing Orlando Slip Fall Attorney Isn’t Responding To Your Requests For Information?
We receive many calls from people who have already hired another Orlando trip & fall law firm, and are unhappy because the lawyer will not speak to them, and answer their questions. Unfortunately many Orlando personal injury law firms handle such a HUGE volume of cases that lawyers never talk to their clients. That is not good for case value. The good news is that you are entitled to fire your attorney in certain situations. However, sometimes firing your attorney is not a good idea. Usually if you already have a reasonable offer on the case, it is a bad idea. On the other hand, if your lawyer does not spend time on your case, then you will probably get less money (possibly a lot less money). This is because all lawyers need to spend the time to prove all of the things I just explained. So they need to talk to you, to help them gather that information. If you want further information about this possibility, please give me a call, and I would be glad to explain further. I am very straightforward about the pros and cons of firing your existing lawyer.
If you have been injured as a result of a slip & fall accident anywhere in Florida, then we may be able to help. Tina provides free telephone consultations, if she believes that she can accept the case after a few preliminary questions, and you want to hire an Orlando slip fall lawyer, or fire your existing one.
You can read more about Tina’s background & experience here. You can also read a bunch more about slip & fall law starting on this page.