Trip/Slip & Falls
Margate, Lauderhill, Plantation, Coral Springs and Pembroke Pines are just a small sampling of Broward County cities where we have handled slip and fall or trip and fall injury cases in South Florida. When people are at a restaurant for a nice evening dinner, or they are shopping at the supermarket, the last thing would think of is being seriously injured due to a slip and fall or trip and fall accident. However, slip and trip and fall accidents are not limited to those locations. These slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere from walking from the restroom in a restaurant to slipping on water in a Publix or Wal-mart. Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents can happen because a property owner has failed to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. These failures can lead to serious and permanent injuries including broken bones, joint injuries, neck and back injuries, and other injuries throughout the body.
The terms slip and fall and trip and fall are sometimes used to describe the same type of accident. A slip and fall is a totally different mechanism than a trip and fall. A slip and fall occurs when one’s foot (or feet) slips on a surface. A trip and fall usually occurs because there is something in the pathway that a person’s foot catches on. Of course, there are other types of falls, such as somebody stepping into a pothole or something open in the ground that should be closed. One of the cases we have handled is a perfect example of this second scenario, where a 50-year-old marine mechanic was seriously injured after falling through an open hatch on a boat he was working on. The hatch was only covered with a tarp, making the defendant boat owner negligent for not properly covering the hatch or warning about the danger. In that case, the defendant offered $90,000 before verdict, but the jury awarded a verdict of over $1.9 million.
Unfortunately, slip and fall and trip and fall accidents can result in death as well. In that situation, the case may be considered a wrongful death action. For most people, it may come as a surprise that slip/trip and fall accidents are only second to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death from accidents. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, slip/trip and fall accidents account for 15% of all accidental deaths.
OSHA states the causes of slip and fall accidents are mainly due to the following:
- Spills on walking surfaces such as water, oil, grease, blood, and food products
- Dry products such as dust, powder, plastic wrap, and wood
- Polished or waxed floors
- Loose floor boards, tiles, rugs, and mats
- Ramps without a slip resistant surface
- Inadequate foot wear
OSHA also discusses the common causes of trip and fall accidents. Some of the reasons indicated are the following:
- Uneven floors or walking surfaces
- Unexpected obstacles in hallways or walkways
- Cables, wires, or extension cords in walkways
- Abnormal or missing stair steps
Individuals should be cautious anywhere they go, as slip and fall accidents and trip and fall accidents can occur just about anywhere. The most common places are restaurants and retail establishments. A place that has a smooth flooring surface where items can be spilled or dropped is a place that is most susceptible to a slip and fall. We have handled these types of negligence cases against TGI Fridays (both the Coral Springs location, and the one in Plantation, Florida), Just For Feet, J.C. Penney, Winn-Dixie, Albertson’s, Publix, Dania Jai-lai, Roadhouse Grill, K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens, Eckerds, Wannado City, Burlington Coat Factory, Applebee’s, movie theaters, apartment buildings, gas station convenience stores, shopping centers and malls, and many more establishments. We have also sued condominiums, churches, and office buildings, on behalf of our clients, for the dangerous conditions present on their premises.
A few tips to keep in mind to avoid these types of accidents are to wear slip resistant shoes, avoid walking in dark or poorly lit areas, be aware of weather changes by making sure to not run or walk fast in the rain, and wear sunglasses on sunny days. The worst type of shoes that we see so many slip and falls happening with are ‘flip-flops’. Flip-flops should not be worn when it is raining or expected to rain. Of course, we have the tendency here in South Florida to wear flip-flops or sandals. If you choose to, try to make sure that the shoe bottoms have a ‘tread’ to them, and test them to see if they are somewhat slip-resistant Also, be aware of where you are walking. When walking in restaurants, be wary if those restaurants have tile-like or polyurethane wood floors. If walkways or aisles seem cluttered or there are obstacles in the way, take an alternate route.
It is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible after your slip and fall accident. Our firm will investigate the accident location, take photographs to preserve the scene, interview witnesses if necessary, test the materials used to construct the surface, and any other investigation required by your specific circumstances. Since slip and fall and trip and fall cases are time sensitive, it is imperative to find a qualifying attorney as quickly as possible to discuss your case.
Our firm has handled an extensive amount of slip and fall and trip and fall cases. Through these cases, we have made law in Florida in the areas of slip and fall and trip and fall, just as we have in many other areas of the law. We ensure that all of our clients receive the benefit of our experience and understanding of the law in the handling of their slip/trip and fall cases.
For example, our first appeal involving a slip and fall case that actually made it up to the Florida Supreme Court was the case of TGI Friday’s, Inc. v. Dvorak. Mr. Cytryn argued this case in the Florida Supreme Court in 1995, and this case has gone on to be the precedent setting case on when attorney’s fees are awarded to either side in a civil lawsuit following its enactment by the legislature in the Tort Reform Act of 1986.
Mr. Cytryn also made law in Hilliard v. Speedway Superamerica LLC where a customer exiting a gas station missed a step and fell because the step leading down from the sidewalk was not noticeable, since it blended into the driveway. In that case, the court found that a landowner can be negligent where changes in elevation (like a curb or step) are not clearly marked, such as with different color paint.
In Glanzberg v. Kauffman, where a woman fell leaving a home, the court agreed with Mr. Cytryn that evidence of similar incidents occurring after the fall where other people fell on the “optical illusion” type steps should be allowed to show that those steps were dangerous and reversed the trial court for not allowing in that evidence. In Ventimiglia v. TGI Fridays, Inc., yet another case involving a slip and fall at a chain restaurant, TGI Friday’s, Mr. Cytryn convinced the court that it was wrong to leave out testimony from current and former employees about the defendant’s “negligent mode of operation” (using hard floor surfaces like wood and tile where there were frequent spills and employees trekked grease onto the floor from the kitchen).
In addition, we have obtained several six-figure and even a million plus jury verdict in fall cases. For example, we obtained a million plus jury verdict in Miami-Dade County. The case involved a woman who was at a movie/television studio when she tripped and fell over a bump on a doorway. After a thorough investigation, the lead attorney of the firm, Dan Cytryn, hired an architect expert, who determined that the cause of the accident was due to a violation of building codes and other standards. As a result of her accident, the 74 year old victim sustained serious injuries. The jury awarded $1.9 million, and found the movie studio 84% responsible for the trip and fall.
If you or your loved one have been involved in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, call the Coral Springs slip and fall lawyers at 1-877-853-7466. All of our slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are handled on a contingency fee basis. In other words, our client does not pay fees or costs if our attorneys do not secure a recovery on his/her behalf.