You slipped on a wet floor at Walmart and broke your hip Who will pay for your medical bills and care?
You tripped on loose carpeting while walking in a hotel lobby and herniated a disc in your back. Now you can’t work. Who will pay for your lost income?
You slipped on an icy parking lot while trying to buy groceries and suffered a head injury. Who will pay for your long-term care?
These may seem like extreme cases, but they are unfortunately common. Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely want to cooperate with accident survivors. They may even try to pin some of the blame back on you. They may claim you were wearing inappropriate footwear or even distracted and using your cellphone. When this happens, you may find yourself facing a long, uphill battle trying to collect the money you need - and deserve.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our Port Richey slip and fall attorneys have helped accident survivors in Port Richey and the surrounding area. Our law firm offers free initial consultations because you deserve to review all your legal options before choosing a law firm. We will meet with you and help you decide the best course of legal action. Our lawyers want you to feel safe and protected every step of the way.
Slip and fall accidents differ from other types of injury accidents. The area of premises liability law is complex and intricate. It involves a special knowledge of Florida law and comparative negligence. When analyzing slip and fall cases, insurance companies will want to reduce your claim in whatever way they can. They will use comparative negligence laws to show that you should have avoided the hazard and your negligence contributed to the incident. That is why experience matters.
A Florida slip and fall injury lawyer must be aware of how insurers may use comparative negligence to reduce the claim. They must then use this knowledge to fight back and apply Florida’s negligence laws correctly to the case to obtain favorable results and higher compensation.
Why Call Us?
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our Port Richey injury attorneys have very extensive knowledge of Florida’s premises liability laws. We also have considerable experience representing injured accident survivors. From the start, we put our experience and resources to work for you. This is why so many injured slip and fall accident survivors choose us to represent them.
We know that companies, rental properties, and property management firms have large legal teams and insurance companies on their side. We also know that their main goal is to avoid paying for slip and fall accidents. That is why we fight aggressively from the start. Our law firm is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with these corporations. We know how to build a case to help our clients collect the money they need to rebuild their lives again after a devastating injury accident.
Over one million people visit emergency rooms every year after suffering an injury in a slip and fall accident.
Yet, determining liability in a slip and fall accident is never easy. Injured accident survivors need money now to help them pay for medical expenses and lost wages. They may even need compensation throughout their lives after suffering a serious fall.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Port Richey
Whether you’re shopping at Walmart, dining out at Outback Steakhouse, or running into a T-mobile store, slip and fall accidents can occur at any time and to anyone. In Port Richey and throughout Pasco County, slip and fall accidents result in hundreds of trips to the emergency room. In Florida, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury hospital admissions.
Where do slip and fall accidents most commonly occur?
- Big box stores
- Department stores
- Drug stores
- Grocery stores
- Hotels and motels
- Apartment complexes
- Movie theaters
- Shopping malls and outlet stores
When a slip and fall accident occurs in a store or business, victims may not realize the full extent of their injuries. At first, they may feel silly or embarrassed. This feeling may mask the real severity of their injuries.
Some of the most common injuries suffered in slip and fall accidents include:
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back and soft tissue injuries
Elderly customers and guests are at a higher risk of suffering a serious injury in a slip and fall accident. Hip fractures are the most serious and can lead to life-threatening complications and death. Nearly half of all elderly adults hospitalized for hip fractures are unable to return to independent living.
Types of Slip and Fall Accidents
Property owners in Port Richey and throughout Pasco County have a responsibility to their customers and guests to keep their properties safe and free from hazards. This includes taking precautions to prevent serious accidents from occurring. When they fail to do this, they can face liability for the accident and the injuries suffered.
How do slip and fall accidents occur?
- Cracks or defects in parking lots
- Unexpected potholes in parking lots or sidewalks
- Leaks not repaired
- Spills not cleaned up
- Cables or cords in the walking area
- Improperly fastened carpet
- Inadequate lighting in stairwells and parking garages
- Broken or uneven stairs
- Broken handrails
- Recently waxed or mopped floors
- Lack of “wet floor” signs
- Loose rugs or mats
- Ice in parking lots not properly salted
These are just a few of the ways a slip and fall accident can occur in a store, apartment complex, or public space.
Understanding Liability After a Slip and Fall Accident
When you suffer an injury on another person’s property, you can hold them liable for the injuries and damages you suffered. Florida’s premises liability law is specific when it comes to premises liability and holding property owners accountable. The law determines liability based on what type of visitors enter the property.
Invitees. By law, property owners who invite guests onto their property owe the highest level of care to those guests. This means that they can bear liability for injuries that resulted because of dangers they should have known about, as well as known hazards. Properties with invitees include businesses whose patrons enter their property to buy goods or services. Examples include grocery stores, department stores, big-box stores, drug stores, and hotels. In Florida, this also includes public land.
Licensees. When a guest stays on a person’s property with their permission and consent, the law considers them a licensee. These are typically social guests, family members, friends, and neighbors. Property owners owe licensees a high level of care. They must keep their properties reasonably safe and fix all known hazards. They must also warn guests of potential dangers. Property owners do not owe as high a level of care to licensees as they do to invitees.
Trespassers. If someone enters a property without that owner’s consent, the law considers them a trespasser. Property owners owe the least amount of care to trespassers. However, they must still exercise reasonable care when they realize the trespasser is on their property. They also have a responsibility to prevent reckless or intentional injury.
When courts determine whether an injured person is a licensee or an invitee, they use “reasonableness.” In other words, how would the average person handle a situation?
They also examine:
- How was the visitor using the property?
- Was the accident foreseeable?
- Was the property owner aware of the hazard?
- Did the property owner make a reasonable effort to warn the visitor of the danger?
For example: During a thunderstorm, Port Richey businesses must anticipate wet floors. To reduce hazards, reasonable property owners place weather mats at the entrances and exits to their stores. They may also place wet floor signs at the entrance to remind guests to use extra caution. If they failed to do this, they can bear liability for the accident.
Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit After a Slip and Fall Accident
When filing a premises liability lawsuit, it is important to know that this area of law is tricky. Slip and fall accident cases take a tremendous amount of investigation to prove liability. Your attorney must clearly establish that the property owner knew of the hazard or should have known of the hazard and failed to take necessary precautions.
In Florida, you only have four years to file a slip and fall accident lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you cannot file a future lawsuit to collect the compensation you need. For this reason alone, it is important to call our law firm as quickly as possible. We can ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines for filing your claim.
From the start, the Port Richey slip and fall accident lawyers at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers will investigate your accident closely. We know that the “devil is in the details.” That means that we examine every aspect of your case to find the details necessary to prove liability. This may involve examining past complaints, interviewing eyewitnesses, speaking with employees, and even past guests.
Unfortunately, property owners may lose or destroy valuable evidence that can help your case after slip and fall accidents. Managers may delete emails, lose incident reports, or misplace complaints. Employees and eyewitnesses may not remember important details about the incident as time passes. As such, call our law firm immediately after you suffer an injury in a slip and fall accident.
We support our injured clients every step of the way, so you know what is going on and how your case is progressing. You can rest assured knowing that we are negotiating the best settlement for you, one that addresses all of your injuries and damages. If the insurance companies refuse to offer a fair settlement, we are not afraid to go to trial. Our lawyers are experienced litigators who understand the intricacies of Florida premises liability law.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Laws and Slip and Fall Cases
If your case goes to trial, Florida’s comparative negligence laws will determine your share of the blame for the accident. This means that if the insurance company pins some of the blame for the slip and fall accident on you, you receive less compensation. They will try anything to reduce their liabilities, and they know that your percentage of fault reduces the amount of damages awarded.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our experienced premises liability lawyers do not let that happen. We work diligently to build a strong case against the property owner and defend against any shared liability. Even during settlemen negotiations, our attorneys work to reduce any blame the insurance company tries to pin on you, so you can collect maximum compensation.
Port Richey Slip and Fall FAQ
If a slip and fall accident caused you injuries in Port Richey, you may not know what to do. You are likely in pain and stressed. The last thing you need to deal with is an insurance company employing every trick they can to pay as little as possible on your claim. The experienced Port Richey accident attorneys at the Nicoletti Law Firm know how to handle slip and fall cases. We can handle your claim and protect your legal rights so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries as soon as possible.
It can be difficult to know what to do and who to call after an accident occurs. Insurance companies know this, which is why they contact you quickly and often pressure you to make a quick settlement. Our injury lawyers have prepared this guide of frequently asked questions about slip and fall accidents to help prepare you for what to expect. The better informed you are about your legal rights, the better protected they will be.
What should I do after a Port Richey slip and fall accident?
The top priority after an accident is always the health and safety of everyone on the scene. If you need an ambulance, call 911 right away. If you feel you can leave the scene on your own, it is still important to see a doctor as soon as possible. You might have injuries that do not appear right away, but a healthcare professional can identify them early on.
Concussions and bleeding in the brain might take hours to show symptoms. Internal bleeding also might not be detectable until a doctor monitors your blood pressure. You might not become aware that internal organs have sustained damage until hours later when their functions have been interrupted. The only way to know how extensive your injuries are and what treatment you might need is to see a healthcare professional with access to diagnostic equipment.
The other reason to see a doctor right away is to protect your legal right to compensation. If your injuries worsen because you chose to wait before seeking treatment, the insurance company can argue that your injuries are partly your own fault, potentially reducing the amount of compensation they must pay for your pain and suffering.
You need to hold a negligent defendant accountable for all the damage they have caused. To properly do so, you must see a doctor to determine the nature of any damage and its extent. If you do not leave the scene in an ambulance, you should still go to an emergency department or urgent care facility as soon as possible. Do not wait to get an appointment with your personal physician. Even if your doctor can see you that same day, they might not have the necessary equipment to properly diagnose your injuries (such as an X-ray machine or CT scanner).
Who is responsible for a Port Richey slip and fall accident?
Many individuals and companies can cause a slip and fall accident. Landowners have a legal obligation to keep their property safe from dangerous conditions. This obligation means that they must address hazards or warn you about them.
Retail store owners are held to an even higher standard of care because they invite the public onto their property for their own financial benefit. These property owners must actively inspect the premises and make it safe for customers. Failure to do so is negligence and can result in the store owner having to compensate the victim for all injuries and losses, something known as premises liability.
In some rare cases, a slip and fall accident is due to some other type of liability. Imagine that an elderly hip replacement patient must now use a walker for balance. A defect in the walker can cause the walker to collapse and cause the patient to slip and fall. The manufacturer might then be responsible for causing the accident through its defective product, known as product liability. The defendant who is responsible for your accident will depend on the specific facts of your unique circumstances, so it is important to consult with an injury lawyer about your particular case.
What if a slip and fall accident injures an elderly loved one at a Port Richey nursing home?
Many people come here to Florida to enjoy a sunny retirement, so it is only natural that our state has numerous nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It is important to ensure that our friends, neighbors, relatives, and loved ones are safe in these facilities. Nursing homes and the like are accountable when a vulnerable patient is injured while under their care.
So what should you do after a loved one suffers an injury at a nursing home? First, be sure to get an independent assessment of their injuries. The facility might say that they “seem fine,” but it is not possible to know this without getting X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic imaging. It is also helpful to get a second opinion from a doctor not affiliated with the facility. Doing so will ensure that any suspicious injuries or treatment are identified by a doctor who is not concerned with protecting the facility.
Once healthcare professionals have tended to immediate medical needs and your loved one is safe, it is important to consult with an injury lawyer about your legal rights. Nursing homes have a heightened duty of care to the residents under their care, meaning that they are held accountable for any condition that makes it likely their residents will sustain an injury in a slip and fall accident.
If you suspect something more serious is going on, like abuse or neglect, it is even more important to consult with a lawyer. They will help you determine what evidence to collect, how to collect that evidence, and to which authorities you should report the incident.
Where else do slip and fall accidents occur in Port Richey?
Slip and fall accidents are likely to occur in areas with low lighting (such as a parking garage or enclosed stairwell). They are also likely to occur in slippery conditions. Be careful when getting on or off a boat or enjoying our other water sports here in Port Richey. The Boat Ramp in Nick’s Park, the Port Richey Waterfront Park, Oelsner Park, and Brasher Park can all have slippery conditions. Use caution in these areas and when hiking around the Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park.
Slip and fall accidents are also especially common at grocery stores. Produce can fall to the floor and get squished. Freezers can leak and leave puddles of water that are hard to see. Liquid products like detergent can spill and leave more puddles. All these hazards contribute to a high rate of slip and fall accidents at grocery stores. Use caution when grocery shopping at Port Richey grocery stores such as La Primera, Publix, the Walmart Supercenters, and other local supermarkets.
Watch yourself in general shopping and entertainment venues, too, like the Gulf View Square Mall and the nightclubs and restaurants in the Waterfront Bayou Business District.
What types of injuries can occur in a Port Richey slip and fall accident?
Many different types of injuries can occur in a slip and fall accident. The injuries you suffer will determine the total cost of your medical bills and how much pain and suffering you will ultimately endure.
These factors drastically affect the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries, making it crucial to work with a lawyer who understands your particular injuries and what it will take to compensate you for them fairly. While there are many different types of injuries you might suffer, below are some of the most common injuries that our Port Richey injury lawyers see in slip and fall cases.
Traumatic brain injuries. When you slip and fall, the most dangerous area you can hurt is your head since the brain is both a vital and delicate organ. The skull and spinal fluid protect it, but it is still susceptible to injury, especially if you hit it on a hard surface, such as cement. These are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Some TBIs are concussions, which might resolve on their own after a few weeks of discomfort, but even concussions can have complex and lasting effects.
TBIs can also result in life-threatening conditions. You could break a blood vessel and have bleeding in your brain, a condition that may not show symptoms for hours. In many cases, the bleeding is too severe, and the condition becomes fatal. It is of the utmost importance to see a doctor right away after any slip and fall accident, even if you do not feel hurt right away. In many cases, symptoms may not arise until it is too late to treat them.
Broken bones. Another common injury in slip and fall accidents is broken bones. Sometimes it is a simple matter of setting the bone and letting it heal under a cast on its own for a few weeks. In these cases, the insurance company will try to downplay the injury, claiming that you didn’t really suffer that much by simply wearing a cast. But the fact is that even a “simple” break can be painful.
You might have to go through physical therapy to strengthen your weak muscles after the doctor removes your cast. The doctor might even have to rebreak the bone to set it properly under the cast, an incredibly painful experience that can cause both physical and emotional trauma.
Of course, not all broken bones are simple cases. Some breaks are complicated by damage to blood vessels, nerves, or other internal tissue near the injury. Broken shards of bone can do damage inside the body before healthcare professionals set them.
Some victims have underlying medical conditions (for example, osteoporosis) that make it far more difficult to regrow bone tissue. In these cases, it will take more money to fairly compensate these victims for a broken bone because they have added pain and suffering. You need a lawyer who can prove the value of your specific losses.
Soft tissue injuries. One of the most common injuries in a slip and fall accident is damage to soft tissues. These are the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other non-bony body parts. Because they are soft and do not have much structure, it is easy to injure them in an accident. Sometimes this is as simple as a sprain or strain that resolves after a few days of rest.
But soft tissue injuries can be far more complicated. They can also last a long time. A car accident victim who suffers from whiplash might experience muscle pain for the rest of her life. It could be mild, but it is still persistent. It takes a significant amount of money to compensate for a lifetime of suffering (even mild suffering). Unfortunately, the defendant’s insurance company does not see it this way.
Healthcare professionals will use a patient’s subjective pain and discomfort to measure the extent of soft tissue injuries. While x-rays can verify that broken bones are present, measuring the location and nature of a patient’s discomfort is really the only way to diagnose a sprain or strain, making it difficult to prove the value of a soft tissue injury.
Insurance companies know this. They try to convince injury victims that their claims aren’t worth very much if they don’t have a dramatic injury (like a broken skull) or treatment (such as emergency surgery). Remember, the insurance company is not on your side. You should not take legal advice about the value of your claim from someone who is actively working for the other guy.
Only your own Port Richey slip and fall lawyer can tell you what your claim is fairly worth. You have the right to receive compensation for all your injuries and losses. Your own lawyer will tell you what fair compensation is by referencing comparable cases. Your lawyer can also give you an idea of what a jury would likely award you if you took your case to trial.
Contact Our Port Richey Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers
If you suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident in Port Richey, Pasco County, or anywhere in Florida, we want to be the first call you make. We know that slip and fall accidents are no laughing matter. Survivors suffer real and debilitating injuries that can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering.
That is why we fight aggressively for our injured clients from the start. We know that with a lawyer on your side, insurance companies take you and your injuries more seriously.
Call the injury attorneys at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers at (727) 845-5972 or fill out our confidential contact form. We offer free consultations to help you explore all your legal options. We also work on a contingency basis so you do not owe us anything unless we can collect compensation for you. It is that simple. Contact us today!