If you’ve ever slipped on liquid sitting on tile you may have experienced how damaging it can be for your legs to unexpectedly go out from under you and land on tile before you even know what happened. Or if you’ve fallen on stairs that you notice just don’t seem right after you fall, or tripped over a curb you could not see until after you’re on the ground and in pain you know those accidents can be dangerous. Often you just get up shaken and sore, but sometimes these seemingly minor falls result in broken hips, damaged vertebrae, or worse and are life changing. What can you do about it if you’re really injured?
Like any other accident, unless your injury prevents it, it’s important to gather whatever evidence you can immediately, especially pictures and witnesses. That’s hard to do when you’re injured because the injury is what occupies your mind at the time. But if you report it to management at the location, that’s exactly what they will do. Don’t give a statement without talking to a lawyer, don’t sign an incident report.
It’s a good idea to notify management by just reporting the accident and location. Let them get you medical attention if necessary, but be careful about giving them evidence to use against you. People have a tendency to gloss over what is written in an incident report, but it’s not likely written to favor you and the main (maybe only) purpose is for management to gather evidence.
Florida law protects businesses by requiring the injured person to prove the store had actually knew or should have known about the liquid on the floor, and that’s a tough, but not impossible hurdle and that’s why evidence like pictures or witnesses come in handy.
Many establishments have video that should have recorded the incident, but I have never had one actually produce a detrimental video. Instead the camera was not working or the film was overwritten, or not facing that location, so don’t rely on their video.
Some stairways are not up to standard building codes despite the fact that they have passed the permitting process. Even a slight variance in stairs is dangerous because your brain is trained to believe they are even, and you step accordingly. This is why only very minor variances in height are allowed by code. Likewise railings, lighting, markings and incline all come into play to determine whether stairs are safe.
If needed we hire experts to review the stairs to see if they likely caused or contributed to your fall. Gathering evidence is not as important as falling on a liquid because the stairs will be there for a while, but its still good to get witness names.
Another hazard comes in the form of single steps, curbs or drop-offs that are not marked. Many businesses have level floors with a sudden step or drop-off.
If they are all the same color, that step can be hard to see. Like stairs, we have access to expert witnesses who are familiar with whether it is safe.