Slip and Fall

Slip and Falls in a Condominium

Category: premises liability |

Falls are the second leading cause of accidental death or unintentional injury worldwide. Falls can happen anywhere, even where you live. If you live in a condominium, chances are there is an association that is responsible for keeping the common areas of the complex safe and free from hazards. Condominium boards or associations have a duty to repair any dangerous conditions or to at least warn residents and visitors of such conditions. Hazards and dangerous conditions are an unfortunate consequence of someone failing to do their job, and they can be present in any area of a condominium complex. Dangerous Conditions in Condominiums Some common areas in condominium complexes where hazards can cause slip and fall accidents include: Lobbies—uneven flooring, torn floor mats, slippery floors, and debris on the floor can all cause falls Elevators—uneven flooring, improperly maintained, or uninspected elevators can cause serious injury Tennis or Basketball Courts—cracks in the pavement or holes on the courts can lead to injury Pools—damaged tiles, broken steps and ladders, inadequate signage, and the lack of anti-slip mats can lead to falls and other accidents Grassy Areas—holes that are not visible can easily lead to falls Breezeways, Walkways, and Hallways—debris on the ground, broken staircases, missing handrails, loose pavers, and clogged drains can all be dangerous conditions. Gyms—loose electrical cords, broken equipment, and slippery surfaces can cause injuries. Parking Lots and Garages—holes or cracks in the floor, out of place and broken wheel stops, uneven flooring, and oil spills can all be hazardous. Sidewalks—cracked and uneven pavement can lead to serious falls. What if You’ve Been Injured? If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important that you report the dangerous condition to the condominium board. Make sure to take pictures of the hazard that caused your fall and get the contact information of any witnesses to the incident. It is also crucial that you receive medical treatment, even if you’re unsure whether you’ve been injured. Once you make a report to the condominium association, they will get their insurance company involved. The insurance company is in the business of not paying out claims so you may want to have an experienced personal injury law firm on your side. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping the victims of slip and fall accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Swimming Pool Accidents

Category: premises liability |

Swimming pools are the sites of fun and relaxation. However, the presence of water and concrete can be a dangerous combination. Drowning is a leading cause of death among children ages 1-4. Those who own and operate swimming pools are responsible for ensuring that the pool is a safe place. They should keep the area around the pool clear and warn swimmers of potential dangers.  Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents Swimming pool drownings and accidents can result from things such as swimmer inexperience and a disregard of warning signs. Swimming pool accidents can also result from negligence on the part of the swimming pool owner or operator. Some common causes of swimming pool accidents include: Lack of Proper Barriers—people, especially children, need to be protected from the dangers a pool can present. A proper barrier around a pool can prevent drownings. Barriers should be at least 4 feet in height and should not have any openings big enough for a child to slip through. Pool barriers should also have locks. Lack of Proper Supervision—if there is no lifeguard on duty, then a pool owner or operator must post a sign warning people. If lifeguards are on duty, then they are responsible for keeping swimmers safe. Lifeguards who are distracted or not doing their jobs can lead to tragic consequences. Lack of Anti-entrapment Devices—all swimming pools should have devices installed that protect swimmers from swimming pool drains. If proper devices are not installed, then a swimmer’s hair, clothing, or limbs can be caught in the drainage system. This could lead to serious injury or death. Uneven or Excessively Slippery Surfaces—the areas around a swimming pool can also be dangerous. While wet surfaces around a swimming pool are to be expected, some surfaces such as tile can become excessively slippery and lead to slip and fall accidents. Uneven or cracked pavement and surfaces in and around the pool can also lead to dangerous falls. The proper precautions should be taken to minimize slip and fall accidents around the pool.   Contact an Experienced Florida Injury Attorney If you or someone you love has been injured in or near a swimming pool, you may want to have an experienced injury attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping the injured, and they are here to help you. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Restaurant Slip and Fall Accidents

Category: Slip and Fall |

Slip and fall accidents can happen virtually anywhere. Just like any business, a restaurant has a responsibility to keep their property safe for its customers. If you are injured in a slip and fall at a restaurant, the property owner or the owner of the business may be held liable for your injuries. Common Causes of Restaurant Slip and Fall Accidents Restaurant slip and fall accidents can be the result of a number of potentially dangerous conditions, including: Spills on the floor Food on the floor Water leaks Debris such as napkins and menus on the floor Exposed electrical cords Torn carpet Uneven flooring Broken furniture In order for the property owner or business to be held liable for a slip and fall in a restaurant, they must be aware that the hazardous condition existed and failed to take steps to fix the condition. What to do After a Slip and Fall in a Restaurant There are important steps you should take after a slip and fall accident in a restaurant: Get medical treatment. Your health and safety should always be your number one priority. It’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you’re not sure whether you’ve been injured you should still seek medical treatment as the symptoms of any injuries may not present themselves right away. Notify the business.It’s important to notify the business of your slip and fall accident as soon as it happens. Get the name of any employee who responds to your complaint and make a note of any statements they make. Be sure to request a copy of any incident reports prepared by the business.  Document the scene.If you can, take pictures of the area the dangerous condition that caused your slip and fall accident. Also, take pictures of the surrounding area.  Gather information.Get the names and contact information of anybody that may have witnessed your accident. Place the shoes and clothing you were wearing at the time in a safe place as they may be used as evidence later. Decline to give statements.Keep your communications with restaurant staff limited. Do not give a statement to an insurance company. Contact an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney If you’ve been injured in a restaurant slip and fall accident, you may want an experienced slip and fall attorney on your side. The lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to help. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 today to set up your free consultation. 

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Slip and Falls in Apartment Buildings

Category: Slip and Fall |

Most slip and fall accidents in apartment buildings and apartment complexes occur as the result of a landlord’s negligence. Under Florida law, a landlord has a duty to maintain the premises and comply with applicable housing codes. A landlord or property management company who fails to maintain their property and address dangerous conditions that they knew or should have known about may be held liable for any injuries that result.  Common Causes of Apartment Building Slip and Falls Slip and fall accidents can occur inside an apartment, but they are most likely to occur in the common areas of an apartment complex. Common causes of apartment building slip and falls include: Cracked pavement on sidewalks and parking lots. Cracked pavement or potholes in any area of an apartment complex can be hazardous. Broken staircases and steps. When handrails and banisters become loose or broken, tenants going upstairs can lose their grip and fall. Steps that are worn, cracked, or loose can also pose a danger. Torn carpet and flooring. Replacing worn carpeting and flooring can be expensive so often landlords fail to do so. Worn or torn carpeting and flooring can become tripping hazards for tenants and their guests. Inadequate lighting. Insufficient lighting of stairways, parking lots, and hallways can lead to slip and falls if a tenant is unable to see a hazard and therefore cannot avoid it. Wet floors. When proper mats are not used and wet surfaces are not kept dry, they can become dangerous conditions. In addition, if a landlord is made aware of a leaky roof or plumbing issues inside apartments and fails to fix them, they can be liable for slip and falls. Pools. Broken pool decks or steps, slippery surfaces, and other dangerous conditions at the pool can cause serious injury. Proving Liability in an Apartment Building Slip and Fall In order to prove that a landlord was responsible for an apartment building slip and fall, it must be established that: There was a dangerous condition The landlord created the dangerous condition, was aware of the dangerous condition, or should have been aware of the condition through the exercise of reasonable diligence The landlord could have repaired the dangerous condition or warned others of the existence of the dangerous condition There was a likelihood that the dangerous condition could cause an injury if left unattended The dangerous condition caused an injury Contact an Experienced Florida Attorney If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident in an apartment building or complex, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced and trusted personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping injured Floridians. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-800-538-4878 today to schedule your free consultation.

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When is a Business Responsible for a Slip and Fall?

Category: premises liability |

Slip and falls can happen anywhere, but oftentimes they occur on somebody’s business premises. Dangerous situations such as torn carpeting, spilled substances, and broken fixtures can all lead a slip and fall victim to suffer severe injuries. If someone has been injured at a business, when can the business be held responsible? When the Business Owns the Property If the business is the owner of the property where the slip and fall injury occurred,then it would make sense that the business may be held responsible for the injury. The essence of a premises liability claim is that a property owner has a duty to keep their property reasonably safe from dangerous conditions so that people who enter the property aren’t injured.  When the Business Leases the Property Sometimes smaller businesses lease the property where their business is located from a landlord who owns the property. However, the business can be liable for unsafe conditions that cause injury to someone even if they don’t own the property. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to hold the landlord responsible for any damages, despite the business’s control of the property. When the Business has acted Negligently If the injured party was lawfully on the property, especially as a customer, that party is owed the highest duty of care. If the business owner acted negligently in either failing to repair a dangerous condition or failing to warn others about the condition, they are subject to premises liability. In order to establish liability, it must be shown that the business owner knew about, or should have known about, the dangerous condition. For example, if a customer spills something on the floor and another customer immediately slips on the substance, there may not have been sufficient time for the business owner to have been aware of the dangerous condition and taken steps to remedy it. In addition, the injured party will also have to show that the business’s negligence was the cause of the injury in question.  Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall at a business, you may need a trusted personal injury attorney on your side. The experienced attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk will evaluate your case for free. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your consultation.

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Slip and Fall in Nursing Homes

Category: Nursing Home Abuse |

The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is a tough one. When your loved one is injured in a slip and fall at a nursing home, there can be serious injuries such as fractured hips, fractured arms, and even traumatic brain injury. A fall in a nursing home is one of the most common causes of injuries. Nursing Home Liability Just like any other property or business owner, a nursing home is liable for slip and falls on their property if they have failed to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. Therefore, a nursing home can be liable for falls caused by conditions such as: Torn carpeting  Slippery floors Poorly lit staircases Uneven surfaces Loose floorboards Debris on the floor However, a nursing home is also a skilled medical facility and can be held responsible for failing to adequately guard and protect residents who are especially prone to falling due to a medical condition. Many residents are admitted to nursing homes for health conditions that can make them prone to falling such as hip injuries, vertigo, fatigue, cognitive difficulties, and other medical issues. When a resident falls in a nursing home, there are a number of different factors that must be taken into consideration.   Nursing homes are required to maintain certain standards in regard to patient safety and care. The reality is that these standards are not always followed and falls can result from nursing home neglect. Some negligent acts by nursing homes that can lead to a fall include: Lack of supervision Overmedication Undermedication Lack of handrails Inappropriate activities Unsecured facilities When an elderly person falls in a nursing home, the resulting complications can be more serious than if a younger person fell. Fractured bones are common in nursing home falls. Therefore, if a resident falls, it is also important that the nursing home facility gets them evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney The issues involved in a nursing home fall can be complex, so it is important if your loved one has been injured to contact a trusted personal injury attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience representing the injured. Consultations are free so contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule an appointment.

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Injuries in Gyms and Health Clubs

Category: premises liability |

By now our New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. For many people, these resolutions involve membership in a gym or health club to stay fit and healthy. We go to a gym to get healthy, but unfortunately, we can also get seriously injured. Unmaintained gyms can be dangerous, and people can sustain injuries that range from bumps and bruises to bone fractures and head injuries. Injuries at a gym or health club can occur in a number of different contexts from unsafe premises to negligent staff. Dangerous Gym Conditions  If you are injured while getting in shape at the gym, it may not always mean that the gym is liable. However, gyms and health clubs have a legal duty to keep their premises safe and reasonably free from dangerous conditions. Some common situations where a gym or health club may be held responsible for an injury include: Broken, defective, or improperly maintained gym equipment such as weight machines, treadmills, and elliptical machines Wet or uneven floors Torn carpeting Shoddy electrical work Debris and exercise equipment left in high traffic areas Improper spacing between exercise machines Using unqualified personal trainers or fitness instructors Incorrect setup of equipment Negligent hiring and failing to properly train staff  Failure to warn of the potential risks involved in the use of exercise equipment Even if gym or health club owners were not immediately aware of an unsafe condition, they can be held liable for an injury if proper observation or inspection would have uncovered the dangerous condition.  What if I Signed a Waiver? Some gyms may require members to sign a waiver releasing the gym or health club of liability for any injuries sustained on their premises. These waivers, however, are not blank checks that allow a gym to injure its members or users. Depending on the language of the waiver, you may still be able to bring a claim. If you’ve been injured at the gym and you signed a waiver, you should consult with an attorney to determine your rights.   Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured at the gym or at a health club, it’s important to contact and experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation and we’ll evaluate your case.

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Escalator Accidents

Category: premises liability |

Escalators are a convenient way to move between floors without waiting for an elevator or climbing up the stairs. But escalators can be a more frequent cause of injury than people think. It is estimated that 10,000 escalator accidents per year in the United States result in visits to the emergency room. Escalator accidents can result in significant injury and trauma and are frequently the result of someone’s negligence. Types of Escalator Accidents Escalator accidents that can cause serious injury can happen in a number of different ways including: Debris on the escalator Loose steps Broken railings Entrance or exit plates on the escalator that are not close enough to the steps Escalator stopping and starting suddenly which can lead riders to lose their balance and fall Defective design that makes it easy to get trapped when two steps fold together Any of these conditions can lead to severe injuries including entrapment injuries, fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and serious lacerations. Product Liability Sometimes the escalator is defectively manufactured or defectively designed. In these cases, the manufacturer of the escalator may be held liable for any injuries in a product liability claim. This is frequently the case with the escalator stairs are too close together, or there is too wide of a gap between the end of the escalator and the ground. Premises Liability Property owners and businesses have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, and this includes a duty to ensure that escalators on their property are in safe, working condition. The safe operation of an escalator depends on regular and proper maintenance. When a property owner cuts costs on the upkeep of the escalator, there can be serious consequences. An improperly maintained escalator can make it more likely that accidents will occur. If an escalator maintenance company failed to properly maintain the escalator or make appropriate repairs, it might also be held liable if an injury is caused by a broken elevator. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been injured in an escalator accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer near you. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Defenses in a Premises Liability Case

Category: premises liability |

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may think that a business or property owner’s responsibility to pay for your injuries is automatic. This not the case. There are elements to your claim that must be proven, and you should also anticipate that the property owner will raise some defenses in response to your claim. Proving a Premises Liability Case In order to prove liability in a premises liability (or slip and fall) case, you must establish that: You were allowed to be on the property The business or property owner owed you a duty of care to inspect the property and keep it in a reasonably safe condition The property owner breached this duty of care because the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the property Your injuries were the direct result of the owner’s breach of the duty of care Common Defenses The defenses that may be raised in a premises liability case will depend entirely on the specific facts of a case. However, there are some defenses that are commonly raised, including: Assumption of the Risk—this is a very common defense. In order to prove this defense, the property owner must show that you knew about the danger, understood the risks of the danger, and voluntarily exposed yourself to these risks. No Knowledge of the Dangerous Condition—to prove a premises liability case, a plaintiff must show that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. A property owner can argue that they were not aware of the dangerous condition however evidence that they could have discovered the hazard by exercising reasonable care in inspecting the premises or that they had constructive notice of the danger could overcome this defense. Comparative Negligence—a property owner may argue that you are partially to blame for your own injuries. For example, an owner may argue that you were not paying attention when you were walking, that you were on an area of the property where you weren’t supposed to be, the dangerous condition should have been obvious, or you were wearing the wrong footwear. Even if these things are true, Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that even if you are partially at fault for your injury, the owner may be still be held liable for at least a portion of your damages. Trespassing—if someone has no legal right to be on the property than the owner essentially owes no duty of care to that person except under very narrow circumstances Contact a Trusted Attorney Premises liability cases can be complex, so if you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Hotel Accidents

Category: premises liability |

Florida is a popular destination for vacations and business trips. In 2017, Tampa Bay totaled $670 million in hotel revenue. We expect that the hundreds of hotels in the area are a safe environment to spend a night or a convenient place to hold a conference, a meeting, or a special event. However, just like on any other type of property, accidents do happen, and the consequences can be serious. Common Types of Hotel Accidents Hotels often have a large staff of employees, and it is essential that all staff are appropriately trained to be vigilant at all times. Accidents in hotels can happen in a variety of ways. Hotels should be concerned about: Slip and falls in the common areas of the hotel or in a hotel room Inadequate lighting Defective appliances Hot tub or swimming pool accidents including possible drowning Hotel fires Hotel shuttle bus accidents Defective, broken, and unsafe gym equipment Broken locks on hotels doors leading to assaults and robberies Accidents on hotel staircases Elevator or escalator accidents While hotels are not liable for every accident that occurs on their property, they are legally liable in certain situations. When is a Hotel Liable for an Accident? Under premises liability law, a hotel guest is considered an invitee. This means that because guests are invited onto the hotel’s property, guests are owed a high duty of care. This would include to inspect and maintain all parts of their property in a reasonably safe condition. Hotels must repair any unsafe conditions immediately or warn guests of any potential dangers. To receive compensation for an injury that occurs at a hotel, it must be proven that the injury was the direct result of the hotel’s negligence. It also must be proven that the hotel was aware or should have been aware of the dangerous condition and failed to repair it or warn guests. Even if you live outside of Florida and were injured at a hotel while on vacation or here for business, you still have the same right to file a lawsuit in this state. Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident at a hotel, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Premises Liability: Staircases

Category: premises liability |

Staircase accidents are a leading cause of injuries. According to a study by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than one million Americans are injured on stairs annually. Even a fall down a simple staircase can be dangerous. Common injuries sustained in staircase accidents include sprains, strains, contusions, scrapes, and fractures. But it is not uncommon for more serious injuries such as traumatic brain injury to occur. You may believe that a fall on staircases is the result of someone’s clumsiness, but many staircase accidents can result from the negligence of a property owner or business. It is important that all stairs and railings be designed, built, and maintained with safety in mind. Dangerous staircases can lead to slip and fall injuries or even to stairway collapses. Staircase accidents can occur in homes, apartment buildings, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. Customers in commercial or business establishments have the right to expect that the premises, including any staircases, are reasonably safe to lawfully enter onto. Property owners, or entities that rent or occupy the property, have an obligation to inspect their property on a regular basis for dangerous conditions and to correct these hazards or warn visitors of the danger. In addition, in private homes, property owners are obligated to correct or repair any defects or dangers of which they are aware and should warn guests of these dangers. Common Causes of Staircase Accidents  Unsafe conditions on someone’s property are usually the cause of slip or fall accidents or stairway collapses. Staircases found both inside and outside must be properly built and maintained. Staircase conditions that can cause injury include: Uneven, wobbly or chipped steps Defective banisters or handrails Poor lighting in the staircase Worn or loose carpet on the stairs Improper distance between landings Failure to meet building codes Rotted steps or support materials Water, ice, or other liquid on the stairs If stairs are unsafe for any reason, the property owner must fix the condition immediately or to at least post signs to warn people of the danger. Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured on a defective staircase, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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What is an Attractive Nuisance?

Category: premises liability |

Children are curious creatures, and sometimes their curiosity can get the better of them. Children may do things that an adult wouldn’t do out of safety concerns. Sometimes a child’s curiosity can put them in a position where they are seriously injured. Children are not expected to behave as adults do, which is why under premises liability law, there is the doctrine of “attractive nuisance.” Attractive Nuisance Doctrine Generally, those who enter another person’s property without permission are considered trespassers and are given very little protection if they are injured on the property. The attractive nuisance doctrine is an exception to this rule regarding trespassers. Under this doctrine, property owners are held to a standard of care to protect children from dangerous conditions on their property, even if those children come on the property as trespassers. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner can be liable for injuries to children trespassing on their property if: The property owner knows or should know that the area where a dangerous condition exists is one where a child may trespass The dangerous condition is either known or should be known, to pose an unreasonable risk to a child Because of their age, the child does not realize the risk that may be involved with the dangerous condition The burden of eliminating the danger is less than the risk to the child The property owner fails to act with reasonable care to remove the risk to protect the child from danger Examples of Attractive Nuisances A property owner should be able to reasonably foresee that children will want to enter their property when certain “attractions” are present. The attractive nuisance doctrine holds property owners to a higher standard when they create an artificial condition on their property. Because children may be attracted to this condition, they ignore the risks to which they may be exposed. Examples of attractive nuisances include: Swimming pools Playscapes Trampolines Manmade ponds Fountains Abandoned cars Holes in the ground Construction or farm equipment Construction materials Leaning ladders Discarded appliances Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney If your child has been injured on someone else’s property, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Third-party Claims in Worker Injury Cases

Category: Car Accidents |

In Florida, if you’ve been injured on the job, you may be able to file a third-party claim against someone who is not your employer. This is in addition to any workers’ compensation claim. Third party claims are important because workers’ compensation claims do not typically provide for all the damages to which you are entitled. For instance, pain and suffering and other incidental expenses are not generally awarded in a workers’ compensation case. Common situations where third-party claims arise include: Automobile Accidents One of the most common categories of third-party claim in a workers’ compensation case involves auto accidents. If an employee is injured due to the negligence of another driver while traveling for the employee’s job, that worker can file a workers’ compensation claim. If the employee is seriously injured, they can also seek compensation from the at-fault driver. In some auto accident cases, the third-party may even be a co-worker if the employee was an injured passenger and the co-worker was the at-fault driver. Premises Liability In Florida, a business owner or property owner must keep their premises reasonably safe for people who enter the property. These owners must take reasonable steps to make sure people are safe and to warn others of potential hazards. If an employee is injured on somebody else’s premises while on the property for a work-related reason, the employee may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against the business or property owner for premises liability. Product Liability If an employee is injured while on the job due to a defective or dangerous product, the employee may be able to file a third-party product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective product. These products could include equipment or tools used by the employee during the course of employment. Defective products may include those that are defectively manufactured, defectively designed, or fail to contain adequate warnings of the dangers of using the product. Cases involving workers’ compensation and third-party claims may involve some legal complications, so it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. If you’ve been injured at work by the actions of a third party, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk onlineor call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Swimming Pool Safety

Category: premises liability |

Swimming pools are a big deal in Florida. However, tragically, Florida has the highest drowning rate for young children in the country. Dozens of children drown in Florida each year. Most drownings are preventable if you’re careful when it comes to swimming pool safety and take important measures to protect yourself and your family. If you own a pool, you should make safety your number one priority and protect friends and family. Here are some tips to stay safe: Make Sure Your Pool has a Protective Barrier Florida lawrequires pool owners to surround their pools with a 4-foot high fence or barrier. This barrier should contain a self-closing and self-latching gate. Pool fences should never be climbable and should never have gaps that would allow a child to go through. You should also make sure to never have anything near the fence that can be used to climb over it. You may want to consider placing a safety cover over the pool when not in use. In the case of above-ground pools, make sure to remove any ladders for access. Children Should be Actively Supervised Stay within arm’s reach of younger children while they are in the pool. This is especially true if they aren’t strong swimmers. Don’t allow anyone to swim alone and be sure to designate someone to keep an eye on older children who are in the pool. Learn to Swim Even if you don’t own a pool, it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone in your home knows how to swim. Enroll everyone in the family in age-appropriate swim classes. You can find approved safety swim classes on the American Red Cross website. Enforce Pool Rules Inform your guests and family of the pool rules. These rules should include “no diving,” “walk don’t run,” “stay away from drain covers,” and “always swim with a buddy.” Consider posting signs. Take a Safety Course Make sure that at least one person in your home has some training on how to respond to an emergency in the pool. Have appropriate safety gear and first aid supplies available and make sure someone has been trained in CPR. Practice Diving Safety Make sure the water is deep enough for safe diving before a diving board is installed. When you’re in someone else’s pool, it doesn’t hurt to double check. Check the area under the diving board to make sure it is clear of other swimmers. Never dive into an above ground pool and never dive in the shallow end of a pool. If you’ve been injured in a swimming pool, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk onlineor call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Premises Liability: Sidewalk Safety

Category: Slip and Fall |

Falls on Florida sidewalks are a common slip and fall injury. Falling on a sidewalk can cause serious and sometimes permanent injuries. That’s why sidewalk falls are one of the most common bases for negligence lawsuits. Common Examples of Unsafe Sidewalks Sidewalks can be dangerous due to negligence and a failure to properly maintain and repair the sidewalk. Unsafe sidewalk conditions may include: Cracked or broken sidewalks Wet, slippery, or icy sidewalks Exposed tree roots in the sidewalk Uneven sidewalk slabs Debris left on the sidewalk Sinking sidewalks If you’ve been injured in a fall on a defective sidewalk, be sure to take photographs of any defects that caused your fall. You should also seek medical treatment even if you’re not sure whether you’re seriously injured because some injuries aren’t immediately apparent. Liability for Public Sidewalks When you hire a personal injury attorney after your sidewalk accident, one of the first things the attorney will do is investigate to see who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. In Florida, cities and municipalities are generally responsible for the upkeep of public sidewalks and may be liable for your injuries. This is not a hard and fast rule. In some municipalities, there are ordinances that make it the responsibility of the homeowners to keep up the sidewalks. This depends on the details of the deeds and rules in each neighborhood. Preventing Sidewalk Slip and Falls While not all slips and falls on sidewalks are preventable, there are some measures you can take to protect yourself: Pay attention—texting while walking on the sidewalk can sometimes be as dangerous as texting and driving. Be sure you watch where you’re walking and stay aware of your surroundings. Walk slowly on a wet surface—you get better traction on wet surfaces if you move slowly and carefully Wear proper footwear—shoes that don’t fit correctly can make you more likely to fall on the sidewalk Don’t carry large objects that obstruct your view—walking on a sidewalk while effectively blind can be a very dangerous situation. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall on a sidewalk, you should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Types of Slip and Fall Injuries

Category: Slip and Fall |

Our Slip and Fall Injury lawyers have prepared an information guide to these all too common types of injuries. One second you’re walking down a sidewalk, and the next, you’re flat on your back with your leg bent in an awkward way. A crowd gathers around wanting to help, but the shooting pain up and down your leg are tell-tale signs that something is seriously wrong. Slip and fall injuries are more common than you think, with over one million Americans suffering from one every year; 20-30% of those will suffer potentially severe injuries such as hip fractures and head contusions. Florida law requires a property owner to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, and if the business owner knew or should have known that something was amiss and didn’t fix it, they could be under obligation to pay damages to the injured person. A reasonable amount of care must be taken to ensure that people who legally enter their property are safe.  A duty also exists to warn people of any potential hazards they may encounter. Failure to do either could result in a slip-and-fall accident, which could happen at any time under multiple circumstances. Below are some of the most common types of slip and fall accidents: Broken Bones and/or Fractures: During a fall, the victim will oftentimes try to brace themselves on the way down to prevent major injury. Unfortunately, this can also result in an injury to the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees or arms, all of which can break or become fractured as the rest of the body weight comes down on top of it. Older people are particularly prone to this type of injury, especially in the hip and pelvis area. The treatment of broken bones or fractures is usually something as simple as a cast or splint, but could also include metal plates, rods or pins that are inserted as well. The rehabilitation can be extensive, and further complications could develop long-term as a result of the injury. Injuries to the Neck, Back, and Spinal Cord: If the victim falls flat on his or her back, or even at a slight angle, the result could be a catastrophic injury to the spinal cord or back, possibly even a snapped vertebrae or spinal cord compression. If not treated immediately, these injuries could be potentially life-threatening, requiring long-term care for the victim. Spinal cord injuries are among the more expensive injuries as well, sometimes costing up to a million dollars in the first year alone. Where the injury occurs could also impact the severity of the damage: a high cervical spinal cord injury could produce full or partial paralysis, while an injury to the lower part of the spinal cord may only impact the lower extremities. Regardless, someone who suffers a spinal cord injury will likely be dealing with treatment for the rest of their life. Injuries to the Head: A victim who undergoes a head injury may insist that they are “fine” or “feel ok,” but if there have been any significant symptoms, such as swelling, bleeding, or a loss of consciousness, it could be indicative of a traumatic brain injury. Even “minor” head injuries require treatment by a medical professional, since the symptoms can be deceptive and seem relatively minimal compared to other injuries. Early treatment is also important in bringing a claim against the negligent party, as a doctor will provide proof of injury and correlation to the time and place of the accident. Soft Tissue Injuries: These types of injuries can be the hardest to detect since the symptoms that result can take days or even weeks to appear. Soft tissue injuries can affect anything from the ankle or wrist to the tendons and ligaments throughout your body, causing a loss of functionality in your appendages. If not treated immediately, these injuries are oftentimes very painful as well, and can even make you more prone to future injuries. Like with head injuries, early detection is the key here, both to verify the accident for litigation purposes as well as provide appropriate treatment. Abrasions, Cuts, and Damage to the Skin: Because these types of injuries appear on the surface, they generally look more serious than other types of injuries on this list, but the treatment is usually less extensive. If the injury is truly superficial, only light stitches or bandages may be necessary, but be sure to check with a medical professional to see if the cut reflects a more serious issue underneath, such as a concussion or broken bone. While the majority of these injuries can happen as a result of patronizing a business or visiting an establishment, they can also happen on-the-job or at work sites. If so, it’s important to know your rights regarding worker’s compensation benefits, which are designed to compensate the employee no matter who is technically at fault. Workers’ compensation claims can be quite difficult, however, as they often require the employee to see a doctor chosen by their employer, as well as file paperwork under strict deadlines. In these cases, it’s best to speak to an attorney who has experience handling workers’ compensation claims to take full advantage of your benefits. Aside from the excruciating pain that accompanies most slip and fall accidents, the side effects can also be quite severe. For instance, someone who suffers from a severe slip and fall accident will usually require some type of medical care for a long time afterward, possibly even for the rest of their life, ranging from simple therapy to possibly even full-time assistance. The victim could also be out of work for an extended period of time, resulting in a loss of income. Furthermore, the emotional struggles can be hard to overcome as well, such as sleep loss, fear, anxiety, depression, humiliation, and a whole host of other afflictions. For these reasons, and more, it’s vital to document your injury as much as possible to prove your claim. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have dedicated slip and fall injury lawyers who offer...

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Staircase Accidents: Who is Liable When You Fall Down a Flight of Stairs?

Category: Slip and Fall |

Did you fall down a staircase? You Need an Injury Attorney in Tampa to Help You get Compensation Falling down a flight of stairs can be a traumatic experience. While we take steps to protect our kids from falling, rarely do we think about ourselves slipping, losing our balance, or stepping on a faulty stair tread and taking a serious fall. But, it happens. In fact, it happens all the time. According to a report published by Auburn University, which cited data from both the National Safety Council and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls are the second-leading cause of workplace fatalities, and they have been among the leading causes of workplace deaths for 40 years. So, what if you fall at work? What if you fall on someone else’s property? What if you fall at home? Are you entitled to compensation; and, if so, who is liable for your injuries? Seeking Compensation for Staircase Falls: Who Is Liable If… You Fell At Work? If you fell down the stairs at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation from your employer. In Florida, workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. This means that employers could pay regardless of whether they are at fault for their employees’ on-the-job injuries. Note that we said, “on-the-job.” In order to file for workers’ compensation, you do not need to get injured while performing your specific job duties. If you fell walking to the bathroom or lunch room, you will likely still be eligible for workers’ compensation. Importantly, filing for workers’ compensation may not be your only option. Workers’ compensation benefits are limited, and if someone (other than your employer) is to blame, you may be able to file a premises liability claim for full compensation. Building owners, subcontractors on construction sites, and other companies can all potentially be liable for staircase accidents at work. You Fell While Running Errands? If you fell while running errands – shopping or visiting your doctor, for example – you may have a claim against the owner of the facility or the owner of the business (or both). Businesses commonly lease storefronts and offices from commercial property owners; and, depending on the specific cause of your fall, both the landlord and the tenant could potentially be responsible. As an example, suppose you fell because the staircase did not have a handrail. This is a scenario in which the property owner (or its property manager) would typically be liable. But, if you fell because a retailer cluttered the stairs in its store with merchandise, in that case the business owner would more likely be the liable party. You Fell While Out on the Town? If you fell during a night out, at a ball game, at an entertainment venue, or at the beach, the same rules discussed above apply. Depending upon where you fell and what caused you to fall, the property owner, property manager, and the business owner could all potentially owe you financial compensation. You Fell at a Neighbor’s House? If you fell down the stairs at a neighbor’s house, your neighbor may be liable as the property owner. However, since homeowner’s insurance policies cover most slip and fall accidents, your claim will most likely be against your neighbor’s insurance company – not your neighbor personally. Just like a claim against a commercial property or business owner, your insurance claim can seek both monetary and non-monetary damages (including medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering). You Fell at Home? If you fell down the stairs at home, there is still a chance that someone else could be liable for your injuries. For example, you could have a claim against the construction company that built your home; or, you may be entitled to compensation from a handyman who performed a negligent repair. Your legal rights will depend upon the unique facts of your particular case, and you should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 10 Ways to Prove Someone Else Was at Fault for Your Staircase Fall In order to recover compensation for your fall-related injuries, you will need to prove both: (i) the cause of the fall, and (ii) the extent of your physical, financial, and emotional harm. In addition to following our six tips for documenting a slip-and-fall case, here are 10 ways you can help your personal injury lawyer establish your injury claim for financial compensation: You Were Not Distracted – Distractions (such as talking or texting on the phone) can make you more likely to miss a step or overlook a dangerous condition. You Were by Yourself – Talking to another person on the stairs can be distracting, as well. You Have Witnesses – On the other hand, if anyone saw you fall, he or she may be able to testify as to what happened. You Have Photos of the Stairs – If you are able to do so, take photos of the staircase immediately after your accident to document the issue that caused your fall. You Were Wearing Safe Shoes – While it is more than acceptable to wear high-heeled or slick-bottomed shoes in an office setting, proving that you were wearing safe shoes can help support your claim. You Were Unencumbered – Carrying heavy objects or boxes that block your vision may increase your chances of falling down the stairs. You Were Unimpaired – Being drunk or under the influence of drugs can also increase your risk of falling. You Used the Handrail – Handrails are there for a reason. Using one when it is available may help reduce your risk of falling. You Could Not See the Unsafe Condition – Hidden dangers and inadequate lighting are both risk factors that can lead to staircase falls. You Were Not Skipping Stairs – Being able to testify that you were using the stairs property (e.g., not skipping stairs) can help prove that you were acting safely at the time of your fall. Speak with a Slip-and-Fall Accident Lawyer...

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3 Simple Steps that Can Help You Avoid Slip and Fall Injuries

Category: Slip and Fall |

If we’re lucky, the majority of us recover quickly from slip and fall injuries. A few scrapes and bruises may result, but other than that, we’re generally okay to return to our normal activities. Unfortunately, this is not the case for tens of thousands of people hurt by slip and fall injuries nationwide. This type of accident may often result in major medical bills, lost wages from work, and chronic pain issues for the victims. To avoid a fall which may cause this kind of suffering, consider the following tips:  Watch your step. It goes without saying that you should watch where you’re going when you walk. However, this is especially true if you are on someone else’s property because you can’t control the environment. A friend may have an uneven lawn with deep holes, or a store owner might not be repairing cracked stairs or tile. So when you’re in unfamiliar surroundings, be especially vigilant. Wear the correct footwear. Slip resistant shoes have been shown to reduce hazardous situations, but they certainly do not make you a superhero. Being aware of your environment and selecting the best footwear, specific to your needs, may help reduce the risk of serious injury. Fortunately, the slip-resistant footwear market has grown significantly and offers a wide variety of options for most work environments. Be wary at work. Workplaces are notorious for conditions that can cause a slip and fall injury. Spills, inadequate lighting, and the focus on speedy production at the cost of safety are only a few factors when it comes to these common accidents. If you notice numerous conditions that could cause slip and fall injuries where you work, bring it to the attention of your supervisor immediately. It may be in their best interest to address the problem quickly, before a worker’s compensation claim or lawsuit results. In fact, in many cases, they are legally required to take precautions to prevent their employees from being injured. Do you need a Tampa slip and fall lawyer? Sometimes, no matter how careful we are, accidents happen that are no fault of our own. If you suffered a slip and fall due to someone else’s negligence, you may need an experienced attorney to pursue the compensation you may deserve. Call the firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day to schedule a free consultation; our number is 1-800-752-5203.

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The Statute of Limitations: How to File a Lawsuit for Your Slip and Fall

Category: Slip and Fall |

So you’ve slipped and fallen on someone else’s property. Maybe it was a neighbor’s icy steps, or a cracked floor inside a local store. Regardless, you may have severe injuries, unpaid medical bills, time lost from work, and serious pain and suffering. You’re thinking of filing a lawsuit, and wondering if you should get it started now, or wait until you’re feeling better. In almost every situation, it’s best to get started on your claim right away. There are many reasons why, but an important one is something called “the statute of limitations.” What is the statute of limitations? The statute of limitations refers to the specific amount of time during which a claim can be brought to the court’s attention. The amount of time can differ depending on the type of claim (a slip and fall as opposed to a car accident), as well as what state the claim is made in. Why do we have a statute of limitations? The statute of limitations exists because, without it, the courts would be overburdened with cases. The statute seeks to resolve all claims within a timely period. How does the statute of limitations affect my claim? The most important thing to remember is that the statute of limitations in your state restricts the amount of time you have to file a claim. Once the statute has expired, you won’t be able to pursue the matter via litigation or settlement. This is true no matter how much you deserve compensation, no matter how much you need it, and no matter how strong the evidence is that the other party is liable. This is why it’s always recommended that you pursue a claim as early as possible, even if you are still recovering from the accident. In fact, resolving your case swiftly may even help you get the compensation you need to recover! Turn to our experienced Tampa slip and fall lawyers for help! If you have questions about how to file a lawsuit, a knowledgeable attorney is the person to turn to. The laws surrounding these types of cases – including the statute of limitations – can be complex. For a free case evaluation, contact the firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day – call 1-800-538-4878.

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