Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

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An 83-year-old woman arrived at her local hospital in Rochester, NY to undergo a surgical cancer treatment. It was early in the morning, so it was dark and the overhead lighting in the parking garage was poor. She parked in the handicapped spot and then helped her daughter, seated in the backseat, into her wheelchair.parkinglots

As the Democrat & Chronicle reported, the hospital placed cement parking stops inside the pedestrian walkway that bordered those handicapped parking spaces. The stops were the same color as the concrete floor. As plaintiff rounded the corner of her car, she tripped and fell. She sustained a serious shoulder fracture.

When the hospital refused her offer a reasonable settlement for the 2013 injury, she filed a premises liability lawsuit. The case went to trial just recently, with jurors deciding the case in plaintiff’s favor after just 20 minutes of deliberation. The final award: $550,000. Continue reading →

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In most trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall lawsuits, injured persons hoping to prevail have to prove actual or constructive knowledge. That is, they have to show the property owner/ manager knew or should have known about the hazard, either because:

  • They created it;
  • They were informed of it;
  • It existed for such a length of time, it should have been discovered in the course of reasonable care. gravel1

It is the plaintiff who bears this burden of proof.  Continue reading →

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Government agencies owe a duty to ensure public walkways and thoroughfares are correctly designed and adequately maintained to minimize the risk of danger to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. When a dangerous condition results in an unreasonable risk of injury to members of the public, the agency may be liable to pay damages resulting from that injury.sidewalk1

An expose by the Sun Sentinel last year revealed Fort Lauderdale alone has 106 miles of bad sidewalk – enough to stretch from here all the way to Fort Pierce. On top of that, there are more than 850 miles of road throughout the city that really need sidewalks, but don’t have them. As the city strives to improve accessibility for all road users, this is a major challenge.

But even cities that are working toward improvements can’t escape liability if they are aware of a certain problem and fail to fix it or warn the public about it. Take for example the recent case of City of Beech Grove v. Beloat, a trip-and-fall injury lawsuit weighed by the Indiana Supreme Court. Continue reading →

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Proving liability in a Florida slip-and-fall case can sometimes be an uphill battle. That has largely to do with F.S. 768.0755, which requires plaintiffs who fell on transitory foreign substances to show defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of that the substance was there. tile

Absent a written memo or audio recording referencing that specific spill or video of a staffer walking by the spill, proving actual knowledge is very tough. The good news for plaintiffs is that constructive knowledge can be established by showing defendant should have known about the danger. This can be established by showing either that:

  • Condition existed for such a time that business establishment should have discovered it;
  • The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable (due to the business’s “Mode of Operation”).

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Fort Lauderdale’s city manager has proposed shelling out $2.1 million in risk insurance funds to cover the cost of sidewalk repairs, following a new report indicating more than 100 miles of it in the city are unsafe. sidewalkcrack

That will only begin to cover the costs of fixing the walkways, though. The consultant’s study that opined a quarter of the city’s 425 miles of sidewalks are badly damaged (cracked, uneven or pocked), and the cost to fully repair those areas is going to be $16 million. But even paying that much won’t give the city the safe walkability label for which it’s striving. Even if the city doubled the number of sidewalks that currently exist, that wouldn’t be enough to place sidewalks on all the roads in the city that lack them. By some estimates, that cost could swell to $100 million.

But it’s a major concern when you consider two things:

  • Florida has the highest rate of pedestrian accidents, fatalities and injuries in the nation.
  • The city has spent $1.3 million in five years to settle trip-and-fall claims related to sidewalk falls, but it’s only spent about $750,000 in repairs during that time – with about $94,000 of that reimbursed by homeowners who live adjacent to those sidewalks.

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In 2014, Florida broke the record for the most tourists ever – more than 97 million for the year.sidewalk1

Many hotels reported that for the first time in a long time (and for some, ever), occupancy rates exceeded 70 percent on a steady basis. Some 1.15 million Floridians are employed in the tourism industry, and many of those are in hospitality.

In addition to out-of-town guests, it’s estimated Floridians made a record 20.2 million trips inside state borders that same year. Gov. Rick Scott has vowed to continue marketing campaigns and other efforts to further build on these records and draw a record 100 million people to the state this year.

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When someone takes to the dance floor, they may want to “get down,” but they usually don’t actually mean “on the ground.”barsign

Unfortunately, when bars, nightclubs and other entertainment establishments allow drinks – alcoholic or otherwise – on the dance floor, patrons are at-risk for a slip-and-fall injury.

What started as a night of fun and revelry quickly becomes a trip to the emergency room, and in some cases, an extensive recovery with time off work or worse.

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In some personal injury actions, parties involved may come to find certain pieces of key evidence were destroyed, altered or simply lost. This is referred to as “spoliation of evidence,” and because it can have such a profound impact on one side’s ability to prove its case, courts tend to respond rather harshly – regardless of whether the action was intentional. surveillance

In Florida, courts have consistently held sanctions for spoliation are appropriate. Courts will weigh the importance of the evidence, the impact on the aggrieved party and the intention of the party responsible. Possible sanctions include:

  • Exclusion of expert testimony
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Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals is allowing a slip-and-fall lawsuit to move forward against a South Florida hospital, but it simultaneously undercut the ability for the plaintiff to make a strong argument for damages.
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West Palm Beach injury attorneys recognize that slip-and-fall lawsuits have become tougher to win in Florida just over the last few years, with the passage of legislation in 2010 that requires plaintiffs to show not just that some foreign substance caused the fall, but that the defendant knew or should have known about that substance and failed to mitigate it or warn others about it.

In Denniser v. Columbia Hospital Corp., this standard is going to be more difficult to reach because the court affirmed the plaintiff’s standing as a “trespasser” at the time of the incident, which significantly lowers the legal duty the defendant owed to protect her.
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Accidents can strike at any moment — event in your own home. To help to prevent some of the top causes of unintentional injury and fatality, officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) are pushing a new campaign — “Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls.” It’s all a part of National Safety Month.
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Our slip and fall accident attorneys understand that falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional injuries and fatalities in homes across the nation. It’s time we put an end to these incidents. And we’re here to help you to do so. This is especially important for our older residents.

Each and every year, one out of every three adults age 65 and older falls. These kinds of accidents can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as head injuries and hip fractures, and they can also increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.

How serious is the problem?

-Falls are common in older people and the risk of falling increases with increasing age.

-Among elderly residents, falls are the number one cause of injury death.

-Falls are the most common cause of serious injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

-In 2010, there were close to 2.5 million fall injuries (resulting in emergency room visits) among our elderly residents.

-There were close to 1 million elderly patients hospitalized after a fall injury.

-In 2010, the medical costs resulting from fall accidents were roughly $30 billion.

-More than 50 percent of the older adults who are discharged for fall-related hip fractures will experience another fall within six months.

-Falling is not only caused from physical things, but the psychological aspect can play a pretty big role as well.

-The most profound effect of falling is the loss of functioning associated with independent living.

How can you prevent fall accidents?

-Make sure you are exercising regularly. With this movement, you can help to strengthen your balance and your strength. Consider Yoga or Tai Chi.

-Talk to your doctor about the medicines you’re taking. You want to make sure that none of them have any side effects that could affect your balance or concentration — like dizziness of drowsiness.

-Get your eyes checked by your optometrist. You should do this at least once a year. You want your vision to be maximized to make sure you can locate trip and fall hazards — and avoid them.

-You can make your home work for you. By adding grab bars and railings, you can reduce your risks for a fall accident.

To reduce your risk of a hip fracture, should you experience a fall accident, make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin D. You should also avoid weight bearing exercised and make sure you’re getting screened regularly for osteoporosis.
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