Slip and Fall?

The store had a dangerous condition, do I have any rights when it causes my injury?

Under Florida law, a business has a duty to correct or warn of a dangerous condition that they knew or should have known about.  Obviously, you do not work at the business so you don’t know how long the problem existed and what they knew.  However, Florida law is very strict and requires you to prove what they knew or should have known.  So, when the business causes your fall and injury, you need to collect witnesses and videos to back up your truth of what happened.  If you cannot prove the company had a dangerous condition that they knew about or should have known about, then they will escape all responsibility for your medical bills, wage loss, pain, and suffering.


How do I prove what happened?

Employees often admit to you right after the fall that they did not clean the area or forgot to put out a warning sign.  Make sure you get their full name and title.  If you can, have them admit their fault while you record them with their permission on your cell phone.  Be careful, employees may be fired if they back you up on what happened, in our opinion, so you need to find proof beyond the worker who saw it.  The best proof is witnesses.  Collect names and phone numbers.  Finally, look around for video cameras in the store.  You will need to demand that they save the recording, because sometimes when it backs you up, in our opinion, companies seem to “lose them” or erase over them.  Your lawyer can send a letter, called a spoilation letter, that demands that they save the video recording.  If they “lose the recording,” then the Judge may find that they caused your fall since you asked them to save the recording, and they failed in that duty.  Hiring a lawyer quickly in a fall case is crucial.


Should I fill out an incident report?

The store may ask you to fill out an incident report to give your name, what happened, and then sign the bottom.  In our opinion, they are trying to lock you into a false statement.  They may suggest you to write that you don’t know what happened when you fell.  Remember, you must prove that the business knew or should have known that they have a dangerous condition.  So, if you fill out an incident report, be careful to give the full story.  You also need to list all your injuries from head to toe.  Given that you are in shock, and probably embarrassed about what they did to you, it is probably not the best idea to write a statement.  Offer to return to the store in a few days to write the incident report, after you have had time to settle down.  We suggest you talk to a lawyer before giving any statement, however.


Is it important that I go to the doctor right away?

Yes!  The company will claim that if you wait, that means you were not hurt.  This is not the way we raise our children.  We always preach give it time to see if you improve.  However, insurance companies use this common sense approach against injured people, in our opinion.  They suggest in a jury trial that the person surely was not hurt in the fall because they did not go to the emergency room the same day.  In addition, if you do not list all of your injuries, and it takes a month for the doctors to mention some of your injuries, the insurance  company is likely to claim that it is not from the fall, but instead from age, or birth, or some other event.  Prepare yourself to prove the truth.  See a medical provider if you are hurt and list all your problems from the fall.