Find out if you have a solid Slip and Fall case and where to begin processing it
A bad slip and fall accident will not just ruin your day; it can wreck your life, stick you with crazy hospital bills, and have you losing your job and unable to find another in the foreseeable future.
A slip and fall claim can be filed against those who are responsible for ensuring that the spaces they run or control are safe for you to exist in. These include amusement parks, supermarkets, hotels, malls, and similar areas. If they fail to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe standard, you can sue them if you get injured for their negligence. This could include floor cables that can trip you up, liquids that have you slipping and falling, sharp objects on the floor, or anything else that’s not where it should be and could cause danger. We’ll take you through the process of filing a slip and fall claim, what can be compensated in a Slip and Fall accident and why you should call a lawyer who can fight for you.
How a Slip and Fall attorney will file your case in Tampa
A good attorney can help you navigate this process so you don’t end up losing a case based on a technicality or insufficient experience navigating such cases. Here’s an overview of what the process of filing a slip and fall claim in Tampa looks like:
- Investigation: This involves the process of finding out whether there is a case to be answered and how it should be filed. This process also determines whether only one person will be sued or different actors are to be held responsible. Most slip and fall cases are against establishments like parks, malls and grocery stores where both the tenant and landlord could be liable. Sometimes, the claimant (you) could bear partial responsibility for your injury; we’ll address that later in this article.
- Selection of Venue and Jurisdiction: The location of the slip and fall incident determines the county where you will file the case. The value of the anticipated payout is what determines the court that will hear it. In Tampa, suits under $30,000 are filed in the Hillsborough County Court and anything above $30,000 is handled by the 13th Circuit Court.
- Preparation of Summons, Complaint, and Civil Docket Sheet: A summon informs the defendant that you’re suing them and why. A complaint has more details and includes the court you are suing them at, the summary of the facts on how the accident occurred, the details of your injuries, the legal grounds on which you’re suing them, and how much you’re suing them for. You will also restate that you are claiming financial compensation and then, you will sign the document. The Docket Sheet will give the court the information they need to schedule in your case. It is created by the court and mentions how much you’re claiming, if there are similar cases filed in the same court and whether or not you want a jury.
- Paying Filing Fee: Hillsborough County Circuit Court charges $400 to file a new case while county court fees range from $55 to $400 depending on the amount you’re claiming in your suit.
- Submission of Documents: With your documents ready, you can file them in court, in person at the clerk’s office, or electronically at myflcourtaccess.com in exchange for a small convenience fee.
- Serving the Opposing Party: This is the final step. You must let the parties you are suing know that they are being sued. There are rules governing who and how the legal process must be served. The Sheriff can also serve on your behalf for a prescribed fee.
Once your documents are prepared, filed in court and served to the other party, you can officially say that your slip and fall case has been duly filed in Tampa.
How to build a solid suit after a Slip and Fall accident in Tampa
To maximize your chances of winning, following due process strengthens your case so that it’s not knocked out based on a technicality or weak evidence. Obviously, the first step is seeking medical attention depending on how severe your injuries are. This step also helps you document your injuries and the costs associated with medical care.
Here is what you (or someone acting for you) should do afterward:
- Report the incident to the owner or person controlling the property. Make sure to document this reporting in some way.
- Take pictures or videos of your injuries, the reason why you’re injured, and the area where the incident happened; being sure to showcase the lack of any warning signs. If there are any witnesses around, ask them for their contact information or copies of any images or videos they may have captured with their phones.
- Record your account of what happened on paper or video as soon as you can so that you do not forget any critical details.
- If relevant, put any physical evidence of what happened in a safe place in case it is required. This could include the clothes and shoes you were wearing when the fall happened, broken devices as a result of the fall, etc.
What a Slip and Fall compensation covers in Tampa:
Considering how mentally and emotionally draining lawsuits can be; you probably want to know whether all the ‘legal trouble’ will be worth it for you. Here are some examples of what you can be compensated for in Tampa Slip and Fall accidents:
- Medical bills that arise after the injury
- Future medical expenses associated with the injury (eg home care, doctors visits, etc)
- Current and future loss of wages due to extended hospital stays or associated injury
- Pain and suffering that comes from being injured and hospitalized
- Loss of future earnings in case you’re unable to work for a long time after the injury.
- What you will need to prove in a Slip and Fall case
To make your suit as compelling as possible, you will have to prove that someone was responsible for ensuring that the premises were maintained in a reasonably safe condition and that they failed to live up to that responsibility by not correcting a dangerous situation. You’ll then need to prove that this caused you to get injured and you suffered as a result of that injury.
What happens if you were partly at fault?
Let’s say that the janitor in a mall was cleaning and put up a ‘Wet Floor’ sign but you were busy texting and walking so fast that you missed the sign, causing you to slip and fall. This assumed shared responsibility could trigger the Comparative Fault Law.
Section 768.81, Florida Statutes states that the value of your compensation will be reduced according to the percentage of your assigned fault. So let’s say the mall owed you $10,000 in compensation for the slip and fall, but the jury decided you were 25% at fault for missing the ‘wet floor’ sign. That 25% will be knocked off of your compensation and will be paid out $7,500.
Getting the right lawyer on your side can argue your case and help reduce the amount of liability attributed to you.
The Transitory Foreign Substance Law
Let’s say you’re at a park and another random park visitor drops a banana peel on a walking trail and you slip and fall on it. Can you still sue the park administrators? Let’s see.
Section 768.0755, Florida Statutes sets out the law on Slip and Fall as a result of a transitory foreign substance; i.e an object or substance that’s not usually there in the ordinary course of business and presents a dangerous condition. This could be anything from broken glass to liquid spillage. Anyone claiming slip and fall injury must prove that the establishment knew or should have known about the dangerous condition (had constructive knowledge) and that they failed to address it in a timely manner or at all (negligence).
You can prove constructive knowledge by showing that:
- The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that the establishment should have known about it and rectified it if it was diligent in its duties.
- The dangerous condition presents itself so frequently that the establishment should be able to foresee it and take measures to address it in regularity.
Why you should contact a Slip and Fall lawyer after the incident:
A Slip and Fall attorney will know where to look and how to maximize the potential for maximum compensation. They will investigate the case on your behalf, file it under the necessary jurisdiction, prepare the paperwork for you and submit them in court, and serve the opposing party. While you focus on your recuperation; they ensure you get everything you’re owed.
At Coleman Law Group, you can expect to be met with compassion and understanding for all you’ve gone through, a spirited fight for your case, and absolute honesty regarding all your concerns. Call us today and let us get you what you rightfully deserve.