Miami Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys
Harmful slip and falls happen more often than most people realize. Hundreds of Miami, Florida premises have been the settings for slip and fall accidents that caused broken bones, concussions, and even wrongful death to the victim. Grocery stores, public parks, private properties – all can contain hazardous conditions that result in slips, trips, and falls. When serious injuries or death occur on someone else’s property, a lawsuit may ensue. The more you know about these types of personal injury lawsuits in Miami, the better you can protect your rights or those of a deceased loved one.
Slip and Fall Statistics
The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) tracks and records fall statistics year by year around the country. The numbers for these accidents and resultant injuries are shocking. Recent data shows that more than eight million emergency room visits result from falls every year. Falls are the number one cause of ER visits, accounting for 21.3% overall in the course of one year “Slip and falls” specifically generate over one million visits, or 12% of the total. Most of these incidents can be prevented.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the number one cause of injury-related deaths among senior citizens. Those 65 and older suffered 29 million falls in 2014 alone, costing around $31 billion in Medicare costs. On average, one older adult in the U.S. falls every second of every day. The elderly population is at an increased risk of serious and fatal injuries in falls, including broken bones and head injuries. Hip fractures are the most serious type of fall injury. They lead to the greatest number of health issues and deaths in the elderly.
Slip and falls are the number one precursor to workers’ compensation claims. Falls accounted for 11% of male job-related fatalities in one year and 5% of female job-related fatalities. Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) name falls as the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Ladders, scaffolds, and slippery floors pose the greatest fall hazards to workers. In other industries, loose carpeting, uneven curbs, rickety staircases, and inadequate lighting can all contribute to slip, trip, and fall incidents.
Death Rate From Falls in Miami County
Slip and Fall Deaths by Gender in Miami County
While still room for improvement, Miami-Dade County is fairing better than most of the state and the country. Florida has yet to achieve The Healthy People 2020 goal, averaging 9.5 slip and fall deaths per 100,00 people. To further decrease the risk of slip and fall accidents in the home or workplace, property and business owner’s should follow suggested safe environment strategies including installing handrails, improving lighting and visibility and encouraging balancing exercises.
If you lost a loved one from a fall- either at work or on public/private property- contact a Miami wrongful death lawyer.
Proving Fault in a Miami Slip and Fall Claim
Recovering damages through the civil court system after a slip and fall in Miami comes down to proving the defendant’s fault for the incident. It is possible to recover for a workplace slip and fall without having to prove fault, through the Florida Workers’ Compensation Program. The plaintiff avoids the burden of proof in exchange for agreeing not to sue the employer. A workers’ comp claim will often result in lesser compensation than a premises liability claim – at least when someone else’s negligence contributed. Before you file for workers’ comp in Miami, consider if you have the elements to prove a civil claim based on premises liability laws:
- The defendant owned, leased, or occupied the property at the time of the incident. In a simple premises liability claim, it will be easy to prove the defendant was legally responsible for the property and must therefore maintain its safety. In general, the defendant will be the occupier of the property, regardless of the actual owner. If the property did not have an occupier, the owner will be liable.
- The defendant was negligent in keeping up the property. The defendant must have used the property negligently, or in a way that posed a disregard for the safety of others. Based on the particular situation, the defendant will have owed different standards of care to the plaintiff. Any action that fell below these standards may constitute negligence.
- The plaintiff suffered an injury. To have grounds for a premises liability claim in Miami, the plaintiff must have obtained an injury in the slip and fall accident. Medical records, expert testimony, and statements from doctors who treated the patient can help prove the existence and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff will also need proof of any ongoing medical care or long-term effects of the injury.
- The defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Finally, the plaintiff must show a substantial connection between the defendant’s negligence and the injuries. The defendant’s actions or inactions must have caused a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to others. The defendant’s negligence doesn’t necessarily have to be the only thing that caused the harm, but it must have contributed.
In premises liability claims, determination of the defendant’s negligence depends on the legal status of the property visitor at the time of the slip and fall. A visitor may be an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Owners owe the highest standards of care to invitees, slightly lower standards to licensees, and almost no duties of care to trespassers. A discussion with an attorney can help you determine your classification and the property owner’s duties to you at the time of your accident.
The Most Common Injuries in Slip and Fall Accidents
Slippery floors are the most common contributors to slip and fall accidents. Wet, waxed, icy, oily, or greasy floors present major fall hazards and require proper signage to warn unsuspecting visitors. Common causes of slip and falls are spilled liquids, tracked-in rain or snow, icy parking lots or sidewalks, cluttered aisles, damaged floors, poorly maintained elevators/escalators, slippery floor materials, landscape hazards, ditches, and potholes. In any type of slip, trip, or fall, a number of injuries may occur. Emergency rooms see certain types of injuries more often than others in these accidents, including:
- Broken bones and soft tissue injuries. Fractures can occur when the individual lands on a certain body part – most often the wrist – in an attempt to break the fall. Hip fractures are also common. Soft tissue injuries can include ankle and wrist sprains and tears in the tendons and ligaments.
- Cuts and abrasions. Falls cause a spectrum of injuries, from minor scrapes to serious gashes that require stitches depending on the circumstances. Falling on top of or against a sharp object can result in that can lead to heavy bleeding and potential scarring. Cuts and abrasions pose a threat of infection and require immediate medical attention.
- Head and brain injuries. If the victim strikes his or her head on an object or the ground in the fall, it can lead to concussion and other head and brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can result in long-term symptoms, impairing the ability think or function. Even minor concussions can lead to medical bills and missed time at work.
- Spinal cord injuries. The most serious slip and falls, like those from heights or down flights of stairs, can result in spinal cord injuries. Damage to the spinal cord can be life threatening and result in permanent paralysis below the point of injury. People living with spine injuries typically need lifelong medical care.
- Wrongful death. Some people never recover from their slip and fall injuries. This is more likely in the elderly population and in traumatic slip and falls like those into heavy machinery in the construction industry. Surviving family members may be able to recover damages after the death of a loved one on someone else’s property.
Slip and fall injuries can lead to time in the hospital, scans and x-rays, surgeries, treatments, medications, and sometimes long-lasting care. Some slip and fall victims may need therapy and rehabilitation long after the incident occurred. A slip and fall can lead to missed days at work or even the inability to return to a previous career.
Pursuing compensation through a Miami premises liability claim can be the best way to recover for all economic and non-economic damages after a harmful slip and fall. Count on Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A., for high-quality legal representation in these cases. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (305) 670-6144 or fill out our online contact form and we will contact you promptly.