Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of personal injury cases in St. Petersburg, Florida. Slip and falls happen everyday and slip and fall lawyers are called every day. They can happen at work, a shopping mall or even a city parking lot. Often times falls are caused by poorly maintained floors and premises. If this happens to you, there is a good chance you will need a personal injury attorney to help you with a claim against the property owner. An experienced St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer can help get you the compensation you deserve.
Remember, not all falls result in a lawsuit. You may be the only reason you feel. You could be wearing inappropriate footwear. Or, you may be drunk and walking erratically. You can’t blame these things on a property owner. Even if the floor or property was slippery or unsafe, you’ll be hard-pressed to convince an insurance company (or a jury) that your shoes had nothing to do with your falling.
However, if you fall and it’s totally somebody else’s fault, chances are you’ll have a serious claim for damages. If you’re not sure how strong your case is, you can always meet with a slip and fall attorney in St. Petersburg. They can go over your case and determine what it may be worth. They will also determine if you suffered injuries that warrant compensation.
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A Slip and Fall Lawyer Gets You the Compensation You Deserve
The first thing to do if you’re hurt in a slip and fall is to seek immediate medical attention. The second thing you need to do is contact a St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer. If you want to succeed in your claim against a property owner for a slip and fall, your slip and fall lawyer will have to prove that they were negligent.
If you expect to recover in your slip and fall claim, your slip and fall attorney in St. Petersburg has to prove the following:
- The property owner was required to maintain safe conditions
- He failed to do so
- You fell as a result
- Your fall caused injuries
If you don’t prove all four of these elements, chances are, you won’t succeed in your claim. Most slip and fall claims are handled by the defendant’s insurance company. Your St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer will have to negotiate with the insurance company. If your case is weak on any of these elements, the insurance company may still be willing to settle just to make the claim go away. It’s a lot easier to settle an insurance claim than it is to go to court.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of a slip and fall. One will be a clear case of negligence. The other one will involve something called comparative negligence. In Florida, comparative negligence means that your legal award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
You go into dry-cleaners to pick up your clothes. It is raining out, but you are wearing boots. When you go to the store, the cashier comments on how nasty the weather is that day. There are no wet floor signs out. The floor is very slippery and there is nothing to hang on to. As you approach the counter, you slip and fall. You end up breaking your ankle and smashing two of your front teeth.
In this case, you have a clear example of negligence. The cashier or store manager knew it was raining. They failed to put out wet floor or caution signs. They didn’t tell you to be careful. Also, they didn’t keep the floor dry and clean. As a result, you fell and got hurt. Your injuries were substantial and were directly caused by the wet floors in the dry cleaners.
You go out on St. Patty’s day for a pub crawl. After eleven hours of drinking shots and green beer, you decide to take the subway home. As you are walking down the steps to the train, you slip and fall and break your leg. Your friend caught the whole thing on video because the two of you were laughing about how drunk you were. She even exclaimed during the walk that she couldn’t believe you were still able to walk after thirteen shots.
In this example, your St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer will probably not be able to prove a case of negligence. You were clearly drunk. You and your friend were joking about this fact. Any insurance company or jury is going to attribute your fall to your intoxication rather than to any potential issues with the subway stairs. In fact, a St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer would probably turn down a case like this.
How a Slip and Fall Attorney in St. Petersburg Deals with Comparative Negligence
There are times when a slip and fall is partly your fault. Most states have laws that handle this type of situation. St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyers know the law in Florida when it comes to this issue. Florida follows the comparative negligence rule. You can still recover under a slip and fall claim as long as the defendant is more at fault than you. If you are less than 50% at fault, you may still have a claim for negligence. Even if your claim is still valid, you won’t recover the same amount as if you weren’t at fault. Under the comparative negligence standard, your settlement award or judgment would be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you would normally be awarded $100,000 but were found to be 30% at fault, your award will be reduced by $30,000.
An Experienced St. Petersburg Slip and Fall Lawyer Will Prove Your Damages
Just because you slip and fall, you have no case if you didn’t suffer any damages. A good St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer will be able to prove your damages. To do this, he will need to rely on your medical documentation. This is why it’s so important that you seek medical attention following a slip and fall. If you don’t get treatment, your slip and fall lawyer will have no way to prove you were hurt. Even if you wait a few days to go to the doctor, the defendant’s lawyer can argue that your injuries occurred at some point between the accident and your doctor’s visit.
The hospital staff will do the necessary tests to see if you’re injured. They will do x-rays, CT scans and MRIs to determine how severe your injuries are. St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyers rely on these tests to show the court how badly you were injured. Without this information, it’s your word against the defendants. No-slip and fall lawyer want to rely on just his client’s word to prove injuries. Your slip and fall attorney in St. Petersburg will demand the following damages:
Your St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyer is going to demand that you be compensated for all medical bills. This includes past, present and future medical bills. St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyers can rely on medical testimony to prove that you will incur future medical bills for your injuries.
Even if your injuries were minor, you probably still missed time from work. Your St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer will introduce your time cards and pay stubs to prove this. Even if your time was covered by vacation time or sick, time, you should be compensated. If it weren’t for the accident, you’d still have that time available.
If your fall is serious enough, you may not be able to work again. You may end up on short-term or permanent disability. Or, you may be able to work but not in the same job you had previously. If you are going to lose future earnings as a result of the fall, your St Petersburg slip and fall lawyer will demand compensation.
Pain and Suffering
Florida law does allow for pain and suffering. St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyer can demand that you be paid for your pain and suffering.
Make sure you stay in touch with your slip and fall attorney if you want to win your case. He is relying on you for a lot of this information. If you don’t return his phone calls or make your appointments, it will be hard for your slip and fall lawyer to get you’re a fair settlement.
Related: Personal Injury Myths
How Does Your Slip and Fall Attorney in St. Petersburg Prove Pain and Suffering?
Many slip and fall plaintiffs are entitled to pain and suffering. Your slip and fall attorney must demonstrate that you suffered these damages. Because pain and suffering are non-economic damages, they are hard to prove. It’s impossible to prove how much pain you are in. It is a very subjective issue. On the other hand, if a loved one had a slip and fall resulting in death, you may need a wrongful death attorney – A personal injury lawyer familiar with wrongful death accidents.
Your slip and fall lawyer will provide the insurance company and the court to prove your pain and suffering. The court will look at the following things when measuring pain and suffering:
- The severity of the initial injury
- Degree of pain common with your type of injuries
- Chances for long-term consequences
- What were your economic damages (bills, lost wages, etc.)
- What effect will your injuries have on your family?
It is your slip and fall attorney’s job to prove pain and suffering. He’ll possibly need your family and friends to testify to your pain. He may need to hire medical experts to testify about the long-term effects of your injuries. He may present evidence from your therapist that shows you are depressed since the accident. All of these things are considered when proving pain and suffering.
Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been hurt in a slip and fall, you need to call a slip and fall attorney in St. Petersburg today. You are going to have to file a claim against the defendant’s insurance company. In a perfect world, that claim would be paid right away. However, it rarely happens like this. You are going to run into problems with your claim. A slip and fall lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company for you.
When you first meet with your slip and fall attorney, you want to bring the following:
- Copy of accident or incident report
- Contact information for eyewitnesses
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Pictures of your injuries
- Medical records (if possible)
- Medical bills received
- Correspondence from the defendant, his attorney, and his insurance company
Slip and fall lawyers are going to rely on this information to properly evaluate your case. Once they understand your claim, they can give you an estimate of what your case may be worth. Remember it’s not your slip and fall lawyer’s job to make you rich. It is his job to make you whole. Regardless of what you may think, you are not going to make millions in your lawsuit. Your slip and fall lawyer will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. They negotiate with the insurance company to get you a fair settlement. If you’ve suffered a slip a fall accident, contact a St. Petersburg slip and fall lawyer today. The initial consultation is absolutely free. It gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have. It also gives your slip and fall attorney in St. Petersburg a chance to review your case. Remember, you pay nothing until you settle your case!