Other Types of Slip and Falls
Slip and fall injuries can be caused by damaged or defective stairs that are slippery because of the materials used to construct the stairs or due to the types of materials used to cover the stairs. Some types of wooden stair steps here in Miami are more slippery than others because they have been over-polished, or because of the type of coating or sheen applied for aesthetic purposes, making it easier for someone to slip and fall. Other stairways have highly worn carpet that becomes slippery due to high volume of use and foot traffic. Individuals may easily slip and fall on slippery stairways due to thinning carpet and can easily become seriously injured as a result of the accident.Outdoor Stairs
Slip and fall injuries can also be caused by outdoor stairs which become wet or damp from the elements and humidity so common to Miami and South Florida. As rain or condensation collects on stairways, individuals are much more likely to slip and fall. If there is a considerable amount of wetness or dampness on a stair, the property owner may be held responsible for compensating Miami slip and fall victims for their injuries. If the stair was not built properly such that it fails to prevent the build-up of water, then there is also the potential that the property owner is liable for damages.Stairwells and Defective Guardrails
Stairs are a frequent cause of falls and can result in serious and debilitating injuries. Many staircase falls could be prevented by a properly installed handrail—as the Florida building code mandates.
Anyone can fall and be injured on a stairway, but these falls are especially dangerous to people with disabilities or older people who may be suffering from knee or hip arthritis, or balance problems and are more likely to suffer serious fractures, especially fractures of the hip, which are life-threatening, or even women who are pregnant.
Herniated discs, spinal fractures, spinal cord injuries, fractured or broken arms and legs, brain and skull injuries, and other devastating injuries can happen to anyone who falls down a flight of stairs lacking a secure rail. An adjacent handrail should be easy to grip, securely fastened to the wall, and at an appropriate height for maximum grip and leverage, as described in the Code. Specifications differ for residential and commercial buildings, and depend on whether the adjacent staircase is indoors or outdoors.
Other guardrails, such as the railings surrounding porches, decks, platforms, ramps, or elevated balconies can cause accidents as well, if they are defective, faulty or not up to code. The Florida Administrative Code for Public Lodging Establishments http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/hr/statutes/documents/61C_1348.pdf requires a Certificate of Balcony Inspection every three years in hotels and apartment buildings.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) also provides a set of specifications that must be complied with as pertaining to handrails and guardrails.Slip and Fall at Construction Site
A Miami construction sites can mean everything from a residential home site, new construction, commercial property, or a remodeling job. Injuries can occur to workers, occupants, or even a passerby.
The primary question to ask – was the Miami area property owner or contractor negligent? The answer to that question will determine the viability of your claim. Also important is why you were on the site? If you were a trespasser, you might not have a valid claim due to the trespass, but a worker on site for business purposes or an invited guest may be able to claim liability from the owner of the premises.
Due to the changeable nature of construction sites, they tend to present an array of hazards, some of which appear new on a daily basis and threaten the safety of workers on the site and the public at large.
A Miami slip and fall accident at a construction site may occur around broken pavement, loose gravel or open pits. Hazardous chemicals may have been left unsecured, or there is scaffolding that has not been secured. Maybe the sidewalk is broken and dismantled and in the process of being replaced and there are loose chunks of concrete near a doorway. An open pit may be dug so a new gas tank can be buried. All of the above listed scenarios have the potential to cause a slip and fall accident and the serious injuries that result are just as likely to occur to the occupants of an apartment building under renovation as the contractor’s employees performing the repairs or renovations.Bad Lighting Conditions
Slip and Falls are a significant cause of injury and death in the United States—approximately 8,000,000 injuries and an additional 24,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Typically, a fall may have a single cause or may result from a combination of several causes. Consider the effect poor of poor or inadequate lighting. In Miami, slip and falls that happen after nightfall are very commonly the result of poor lighting conditions.
Premises owners are required to keep their property safe from hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents. That includes keeping their property well-lit so people walking in the area can adequately see and avoid anything that might cause them to slip, fall and injure themselves.
Sometimes, the problem is simply lack of lighting alone, especially in areas with stairs, curbs or any variation in grade. Without proper lighting, a person might not be able to tell where to place the foot next and can lose their balance and subsequently fall and suffer injury. If stairways are not lit at all times, at a miniumum owners should install easy to find light switches at the top and bottom of every staircase. Obstacles, debris and conditions that normally pose a threat under normal conditions, become that much more hazardous when the lighting is poor, inadequate and insufficient, and as a result a person is much more likely to slip and fall and sustain serious injuries.
Now, there are different requirements for lighting of commercial, residential, and parking lot scenarios. The requirements are measured in “foot candles”. One example is with ATM machines. The face and nearby area has a significant requirement to protect visitors and users from various risks. The foot candle requirement for parking lots is a little bit less. However, very often because of maintenance issues, problems with leaking encasements, or other issues, lights are not functioning properly.
If an electrical failure causes an area of a store, apartment or office building, parking lot, or any other place open to the public to be without light, owners should have generators or battery powered lighting available as a backup to prevent accidents.
A person who has suffered injuries from a fall cause in whole or part by poor lighting conditions may have a claim against the property owner for causing or allowing an unsafe condition to exist. It must be shown that the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy it, that the claimant’s injuries were a result of the negligent condition, and that the claimant suffered actual losses.Slip and Fall on Water
Every day people in Miami are injured when they slip and fall on water on floors and in stairwells. It may be a wet floor at a supermarket or home improvement store; or one may slip and fall on a wet stairwell in a public parking garage. These types of accidents are frequent and the parties responsible who own and operate such public places have a duty to make the premises safe once they have notice and to prevent such accidents from occurring and safeguard their customers from injury once said notice has been established.
A wet floor or stairway may be caused by a variety of factors. Sometimes one slips and falls because there is a puddle or water has accumulated on floor, and sometimes it is the fact the floor is unreasonably slippery after it has been cleaned, or mopped. Another person may have spilled water or dropped a water bottle. Water may leak due to condensation or because of defective or malfunctioning freezer and refrigeration units. Water may have accumulated due to recent rain and gathered in puddles on the ground.
In the unfortunate event that a Plaintiff does slip and fall on a wet or slippery floor, our job is to gather the necessary evidence and work with experts to specifically determine the nature of the negligence leading up to the slip and fall to hold the necessary parties liable for your injuries and damages.
According to Florida liability law the most critical aspect of proving any slip and fall case is the issue of “notice.” By proving that that the owners or those in charge of operating any of the many public sites prone to accidents of this nature either “knew” or “should have known” about the wet/slippery hazard we can establish and prove the most important element necessary to secure a monetary recovery for your damages stemming from a slip and fall-the element of notice.
As your attorney, we are tasked with gathering the most influential and telling evidence on your behalf. This is done through a variety of methods, however the best forms of evidence is often that of eye-witness testimony by the Plaintiff, the employees on duty, or other witnesses who observed the accident first hand. Additionally, we enlist the services of the best experts in the field to specifically determine the nature of accident and to re-create the unique circumstances of each Plaintiff’s accident and subsequent injuries.Slip and Fall on Soap
Imagine that late one evening you are pushing your cart around the end of a Miami supermarket aisle and into the aisle where the dishwashing soap is shelved. A moment later, you slip in a puddle of liquid soap and you’re injured. Is the puddle of soap on a supermarket floor dangerous? Of course. And serious injuries can result from this.
But how can you prove that the store “knew” or “should have known” that the soap was there? It’s unlikely that a store employee will confess to carelessly handling the bottle and causing the spill. In fact, a shopper ahead of you may have dropped and broken the bottle just a minute before you arrived.
To hold the store liable, you need some evidence that the soap was on the floor for a while — long enough so that store employees, who are supposed to circulate and look for dangerous conditions, should have seen the spill and taken action either to clean it up or warn shoppers like you to go around it.
To prove that the employees of the store “knew” or “should have known” it is our job to gather certain facts and evidence. Typically the injured client has critical first hand visual testimony as to what occurred immediately prior to the slip and fall and immediately thereafter. For instance, noticing tracks from the wet wheels of previous shoppers carts that had already been pushed through the puddle of spilled soap and down the aisle. These observations coupled with other testimony about the amount of shoppers in the store at the time the accident occurred, and that the puddle had been on the shopping floor for quite some time, help paint a vivid picture of both notice and make it difficult for the store to escape liability.Slip and Fall on Ice
A great deal of slip and fall cases involves ice. Ice can reach the floor and cause a slip and fall in a variety of ways. An employee or customer at a restaurant my drop ice on the floor from a drink or while serving. Ice may fall out of bags as customers or employees pick up and remove ice bags from the grab and go freezers routinely located at gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores. Ice may fall on the floor as employees of the meat and fish departments bring out fresh product throughout the day; or when employees in the produce department bring out fresh greens to replenish the wet produce rack. Not only does the loose ice create a hazard for slipping and falling on its own, the ice inevitably melts to create an even more slippery and dangerous condition for customers who frequent the above mentioned public businesses.
As with any slip and fall case everything rides on the evidence. First we will send out our skilled and relentless investigators to gather all the first hand eyewitness testimony available from those who witnessed the accident and the conditions leading up to and directly after the slip and fall. This includes interviewing fellow shoppers or customers who may have witnessed what occurred, as well as the employees and managers on duty at the time of the accident.
In conjunction with the eyewitness evidence we gather, we will enlist the top experts in the field to assist in recreating the conditions of the accident, both before the slip and fall and directly after.
Ultimately as your attorney, it is up to us to stockpile and manipulate all the evidence we can gather from eyewitnesses and from our experts to prove the element of notice. Florida law is clear that in order to prove liability in cases such as these we must prove that the store or restaurant “knew” or “should have known” of the ice on the floor and failed to remedy the condition and thus failed in their task and duty to provide a safe shopping or dining experience for their patrons.Slip and Fall on Fruits and Vegetables
Grocery shopping in Miami at a supermarket on a busy Friday night is no easy task. There are people everywhere, maneuvering their carts in and out of the aisles and around the displays. Shoppers are checking their cell phones, managing their shopping lists, organizing their coupons and restraining their young children. The last thing a shopper is doing is staring at the floor, looking for loose grapes to dodge with their cart. It is for this reason that so many slip and falls occur in the produce section of a grocery store.
Berries spill, grapes fall, lettuce and other wet produce litter the floor throughout the day and pose a constant threat to each shopper that travels in and out of the section. However, just like with any other part of a grocery store, the employees have a duty to be cognizant of what is happening on the produce floor at all times and to efficiently sweep, mop and clean up any fallen items and keep a corresponding record and log of their such cleaning activity.
In the event that a Plaintiff does slip and fall on a piece of fruit in the produce section of a Miami grocery store (take for example a banana peel), it is our task as your attorney to prove that the banana peel was on the floor long enough for an employee do have seen it during their required safety walks and sweeps and thus failed to remove it in proper manner and time frame. In Florida, this is known as notice.
Through testimony of the injured Plaintiff, the employees on duty at the time and any other eye witnesses we can determine the condition of the banana peel, how long it was on the floor, and whether or not the employees on duty could have or should have seen and removed it. We will obtain the sweep and cleaning logs to see if there are any gaps in the cleaning and maintenance protocols of that particular grocery store and produce department. We will enlist the aid of expert witnesses, specialized in recreating accidents of this sort for a judge and jury. We will seek out and obtain whatever beneficial and incriminating evidence in your favor with vigor and zeal as a means to secure the most beneficial monetary reward for your injuries and pain and suffering.Slip and Fall on Soda
Another common scenario involving slip and fall liability is when a Plaintiff slips and falls on spilled soda.
These types of slip and fall cases typically involve a familiar set of facts. A Plaintiff is walking down a shopping aisle or pushing a cart and slips and falls on soda that has been dropped by another customer and not cleaned up, or dropped by an employee who has failed to clean up the mess. Sometimes, a soda can or bottle will begin to leak on the shelf, perhaps from mishandling or some defect in the packaging and the soda will leak onto the floor and cause a customer to slip on it prior to an employee cleaning it up.
As with all slip and fall cases, proving the issue of notice is crucial to proving ones case in Court and ultimately winning and securing a monetary recovery. With these types of slip and fall cases, it is our job as your attorney to gather the facts and evidence to prove that the owners, their employees, or individuals in charge of managing and/or operating the store “knew” or “should have known” that there was spilled soda on the floor and failed to clean it up, provide warnings that the floor was slippery, or both. In cases such as these, first hand eyewitness testimony is the most effective and influential form of evidence. However, we also enlist the services of expert witnesses who specialize in slip and fall cases to better paint a picture for the court as to the events immediately leading up to the slip and fall and those events that took place immediately after the accident.
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