The ABC's of slip and fall accidents in Florida

We all (or at least the non-millennials among us) remember the ads from the 80's and 90's of a lonely elderly woman who falls alone in her bathroom, reaches for her life support necklace, and cries, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

Fast forward to today, where we are not only advancing in age but our parents and our grandparents are as well, and suddenly that old commercial doesn't seem so funny, does it?

Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents are far too common and are no laughing matter. They can result in serious injury to both young and old. With that in mind, The Dempsey Law Firm, P.A. has taken the time to compile some important information about slip and fall accidents in Florida.

Slip and falls happen all the time in Florida. In many of the very same, ordinary places we all go everyday, there are hidden dangers which can cause serious bodily injury. Whether its the grocery store or the mall, the ball game or the ballet, accidents can happen on stairs, slippery floors and unseen objects. When you slip and fall in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you need to be able to prove your case to recover for your injuries

The first hurdle to overcome is whether the owner of the property could have prevented the accident. While we all have a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person, to be responsible and aware of our surroundings and take all proper precautions. Property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is safe from any reasonably foreseeable dangers, and to take any reasonable steps to make sure there are no dangerous conditions on the property. Florida judges are tasked with determining whether property owners act negligently with regard to keeping their property safe for the public.

There are a few requirements that must be met in order to recover for a slip and fall in Florida, including:

  • Whether the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition which caused the injury
  • Whether the property owner knew and failed to take any action to fix the dangerous problem, or whether the owner should have known but failed to take any preventative action.
  • Whether the property owner caused the dangerous condition
  • Was the property owner negligent in maintaining his property?

Not only do you have to show that the property owner is liable for your injuries, but you must prove that you the injured acted with reasonableness, and that it is not unreasonable to think the dangerous condition could have been fixed or prevented. Factors to consider include:

  • How long was the dangerous condition in place prior to your accident?
  • What kind of inspections, cleaning practices and other safeguards are in place at the property?
  • If it was an unseen object which caused the fall, was there a legitimate reason for the object to be where it was? And, is it reasonable to think that object could have caused your fall? I.e., you didn't trip over a bird feather, did you?

One more piece of important information to know is that you could be found not only partially at fault for your own injury, but you could be found completely at fault for your injury.  That would mean that you could fail to recover any compensation for your injuries and happens depending on what you were doing at the time of the accident. Why you were on the property? Were there any posted warnings? Were you participating in dangerous activities?.

The smart step to take is to contact an experienced, Pembroke Pines personal injury attorney who can advise you on your rights, and on how to get you on the road to recovery.


Automobile accident tips for Florida drivers

Living in South Florida can seem like a dream, until you get stuck in traffic on I-95, I-75 or the SR-826 Palmetto Expressway. Bumper to bumper traffic jams are all too common throughout the greater Miami area, and even commonly occur from Broward through Palm Beach County.

And the only thing worse than sitting in traffic is being the cause of traffic. 

If you or a friend or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident, there are several vital pieces of information to keep in mind and we've listed a few steps below to take to protect your right to recovery:

1. If you are anyone in your vehicle, or the other vehicle(s), was injured, call 911 right away and request medical assistance. 

2. Stay out of oncoming traffic and try to move yourself, and if possible without risk of further injury, the vehicles out of the travel lanes.  

3. Call the police to report the accident. The sooner you call, the sooner the police can arrive to write up,  the accident report, ensure the safety of the accident victimsand get you on your way.

4. Provide as much detailed information as possible to the reporting officer. Write down or record the officer's department, name, badge number and a copy of the police report.  

5. This is South Florida and we all know it gets hot and tempers can flare. That being said, if you can see the other driver or passengers getting angry or violent at the scene, stay in your vehicle and wait for the police. However, if you feel safe and can communicate civilly with the adverse parties, kindly ask for and record their names, addresses, telephone numbers, license plate numbers, automobile insurance company name and policy number, driver license numbers and the names and contact information of any potential witnesses.

6. In today's world many of us have the luxury of smartphones in our pockets. Take advantage of technology and take photos and even video of the scene, the vehicles, any visible damage, injuries and the road conditions.  

7. If you haven't already called an ambulance because you felt ok enough initially at the scene, be sure to monitor your body. Oftentimes in accidents our adrenaline gets pumping and our bodies can mask what could later develop into pain, soreness or worse. Be safe and smart, seek prompt medical attention as you may be injured and not even know it yet. The State of Florida requires that all drivers carry up to $10,000.00 in personal injury protection benefits, or PIP, as part of the No Fault laws in Florida. You're already paying for it so you may as well use it. Additionally, if you do not seek medical attention with fourteen (14) days after an accident, you can those benefits. If you do not have an emergency medical condition proscribed, you could be limited ton$2,500.00 in PIP benefits. Play it safe and get checked out asap.

8. It's wise to consult an experienced auto accident attorney before providing any statements to, or negotiating with, the insurance companies. Those companies are looking out for their and their insured's best financial interests. Who do you have on your side? By working with an attorney you can avoid signing away your right to possible monetary recovery for your injuries.  

9. If you do choose to speak to a lawyer, you and your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies so long as you have not signed or agreed to anything until it has been properly reviewed by an experienced attorney.  

10. Once you choose to seek the help of an attorney and you wish to seek medical treatment for your injuries, file your claim. Then, follow all instruction and direction from the qualified medical personnel treating you to ensure proper recovery from your injuries. Do not wait to exercise your rights, as too much time passing could lead to a passing of the statute of limitations and a lost opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact The Dempsey Law Firm, PA today to learn more.