Tampa Premises Liability Attorney
Property owners and tenants have a responsibility to protect visitors on their premises by maintaining safe conditions and eliminating foreseeable dangers. They must also provide adequate warning of any known dangerous conditions like a broken staircase or wet floor. If you were hurt because a property owner breached this duty of care, contact a Tampa premises liability attorney at Capaz Law Firm.
When they fail to do this and it causes a visitor to have an accident, they may be held liable for any resulting injuries and injury-related expenses. This is called premises liability but is more commonly referred to as “slip and fall.” If you have been injured on another’s property due to the property owner’s negligence, contact an experienced Tampa premises liability lawyer at Capaz Law Firm. We will thoroughly investigate your case, determine who’s responsible for your injury and fight aggressively for the compensation you need to recover.
A Premises Liability Attorney Can Help You Avoid Mistakes
Slick floors, dimly lit hallways, dangling cables, and abandoned equipment are among the most common causes of slip and falls in Florida. A negligent property owner’s or manager’s mistake can cause tremendous harm. However, your own errors could only compound your problems after a slip and fall. While it may be clear that the owner or tenant is liable for your injuries, you could also be held partially liable if it can be shown that you contributed to your damages in any way. This is where Tampa premises liability lawyer Dereck Capaz can help.
Let’s take a look at a few mistakes you should avoid in order to protect your claim:
- Failure to File within the Statute of Limitations: The moment you’re injured in Florida, the clock starts ticking. Plaintiffs wishing to take legal action against property owners or occupants, must do so within four years of the date of the accident. If you attempt to bring a suit after this deadline has expired, it’s likely the civil courts will refuse to hear the matter.
- Failure to Seek Prompt Medical Treatment: If you were able to walk away from the accident, you may not see any point in scheduling a doctor’s appointment. However, you may have suffered a serious injury that is yet to show symptoms or presents with relatively minor symptoms. Left untreated, your condition could deteriorate, leading to additional health complications and medical costs. In such situations, the opposing parties and their insurers may dispute liability, asserting that had you sought treatment in a timely manner you would’ve mitigated some of your damages. As such, you should always seek treatment after a slip and fall, regardless of how minor your injuries may seem.
- Failure to Preserve Evidence: A convincing personal injury claim is almost always built on a rock-solid foundation of strong evidence. Misplacing receipts, invoices, photos, or even the shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident could make it difficult for you to prove liability and damages.
- Failure to Report the Accident: Whether you were hurt at a restaurant, grocery store, or café, you should report the accident as soon as possible. Typically, the owner, manager, or another staff member will compile an incident report on the slip and fall. This report could play an important role in proving your case.
Common Factors in Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can happen in many places including private and public areas such as parking lots, sidewalks, elevators, stairwells, theme parks, grocery stores, malls, restaurants and private homes.
Common conditions that cause slip and fall accidents include:
- Sidewalks that are broken, cracked or crumbling
- Steps that are loose or broken
- Foreign objects that present a tripping hazard on walkways
- Carpeting that is ripped or raised
- Pavement, curbs, sidewalks or floors that are uneven
- Wet or slippery floors that are unmarked
- Surfaces that are wet, icy, snowy, or covered in algae
- Walkways and staircases with poor lighting
- Porches or stairs with broken handrails
- Balconies or terraces that are unsafe
- Falling objects
- Other dangerous conditions that are inadequately marked
Common slip and fall accident injuries include:
- Bruises, cuts and abrasions
- Broken or fractured bones
- Hand fractures and wrist sprains
- Neck sprains and whiplash
- Mid and low back sprains
- Soft tissue damage
- Injuries that require surgery
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you slip and fall in a public or private place, it is important to gather necessary evidence for your slip and fall case. Treat the accident similar to the way you would treat an auto accident: seek medical attention, take pictures of the scene (even if you only have your cell phone camera), obtain contact information from witnesses, ask a store manager to complete an incident report and give you a copy, and contact a lawyer.
Gathering evidence early can improve your chances for a successful claim as your lawyer will need evidence to prove that one of these three things occurred:
- The property owner or tenant created the unsafe condition that caused your accident
- The property owner or tenant knew about the unsafe condition and did not fix it
- The unsafe condition was not easily seen
To file your claim, your attorney will also need to determine who may be held responsible for the accident, what caused the accident, and why you were on the premises—whether you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Your reason for being on the property affects the property owner’s duty of care to you. Invitees, for example, are owed the highest level of care while trespassers are owed less.
If your lawyer determines that the property owner is responsible for your injuries, you have a right to hold them accountable. You can seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If your injury happens to cause a permanent disability, you may also be entitled to additional benefits. Discuss your specific case with your attorney to determine what you may be owed.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Slip and Fall Accident?
After suffering a serious injury in a fall, your financial security might be under threat. Understandably, you will want to know what your personal injury claim might be worth. After all, a substantial payout could help close the book on this challenging chapter of your life.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a specific outcome in your case. Legal proceedings are unpredictable by nature, and there are numerous factors that could affect the value of your claim. Let’s take a look at some of the damages that you might be able to recover:
- Healthcare Costs: Almost all medical expenses you accrue—or are reasonably likely to incur in the future—throughout your treatment may be recoverable as part of your claim. These costs can include hospital bills, ambulance fees, prescription medication, physical therapy, and other necessary medical interventions.
- Lost Wages: You may pursue compensation for all income lost while you were unable to work because of your injuries. If you suffered a permanent injury or disability that will affect your job performance or ability to work in the long run, you may also be able to seek damages for diminished earning capacity. Your attorney may need to consult with industry experts and economists to map out your expected career trajectory—had you not been injured—and the value of such damages.
- Non-Economic Damages: After an accident, the non-monetary losses you’ve suffered can be just as devastating as the direct costs you’ve incurred. As such, Florida allows injury victims to pursue and recover a wide range of intangible losses including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. If your injuries have affected your relationship—i.e., you are unable to provide the affection, companionship, or support that could prior to the slip and fall—your spouse or partner may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium.
- Objectively Verifiable Losses: Medical costs are an obvious consequence of a serious slip and fall, but there are many other expenses you might incur outside of your treatment plan. For instance, you may need to make modifications to your home to accommodate mobility issues stemming from a permanent disability. Alternatively, you might need to hire domestic help to step in and tackle household chores that you are no longer able to do on your own. These expenses may be recoverable, but you will have to provide verifiable proof of such damages. As such, you should make copies of any relevant receipts and file these away to share with your attorney during the initial consultation.
- Punitive Damages: This category of damages is rarely awarded in premises liability cases, but could be recoverable if it can be shown that the property owner’s or occupier’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. In the state, punitive damages are usually capped at $500,000 or three times the final tally of your compensatory damages, whichever number is greater. If the liable party intentionally harmed you, this amount is uncapped.
Contact a Tampa Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or someone you know was injured while on another’s property, and you believe the property owner was negligent in ensuring your safety, contact Capaz Law Firm. We are dedicated to helping slip and fall victims and will fight to get you the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. Call 813-440-2700 for your free consultation.
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Dereck Capaz is a proud member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States.Learn more
Dereck Capaz was selected for inclusion and named in the 2009 – 2015 editions of Florida Super Lawyers.Learn more