Accidents can happen almost anywhere—even on sidewalks that you think are safe to use. If you tripped, fell, and hurt yourself because of a hazardous sidewalk, you may have the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the incident.
When pursuing a claim, it might help to retain a lawyer’s services instead of representing yourself. A Naples slip and fall injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you navigate complicated civil proceedings. Call us to set an initial appointment at the soonest possible time.
Steps to Take in Protecting Your Rights to Compensation
Having an injury does not mean you automatically have a valid claim—there is often a long, contentious process in holding a party liable for damages. Moreover, what you do after the slip and fall accident will significantly impact your case. Below are a few steps you should take:
Promptly seek medical attention, even if you do not feel injured. Your claim only becomes actionable if there is proof of harm from the accident. A medical professional’s documentation of your injury and subsequent treatment could serve as critical evidence in your case.
Be Wary of What You Say
Many injured victims mistakenly assume that whatever they say outside of court will have no bearing on their case, costing them a valid claim. Avoid such a mistake by refraining from discussing what happened during the accident, especially without a lawyer. The other party may use your statement—even a social media post—against you.
Seek Legal Assistance
If you proceed with a personal injury claim, consider working with a cracked, defective, or broken sidewalk slip and fall lawyer. Choose someone who has previously handled cases similar to yours.
Determining Who Is Responsible for Your Accident
A personal injury claim only becomes actionable if you can demonstrate the other party’s clear-cut liability for the slip and fall accident. There must be strong legal grounds to hold them accountable for your injuries.
Negligence is commonly used to determine civil liability. It applies to property owners and managers who are responsible for keeping their premises safe. So, if you stumbled on an uneven, cracked, or damaged sidewalk and suffered injuries, they are likely to blame for the accident. That is because they did not address the hazards despite knowing about them.
In general, liability on private property is straightforward—if you slipped and fell while being lawfully inside the premises, you could hold the manager or owner responsible. If it happened while on the sidewalk, liability may fall on the local government.
Most sidewalks in Florida are public property, meaning their maintenance falls on the city’s or municipality’s jurisdiction. The local government must repair any damage on the sidewalk, and failure to do so might make them liable for resulting injuries or other damages.
However, there are instances when liability does not fall on the local government. A property owner may be responsible for the sidewalk if they altered it or it is adjacent to their premises. It becomes their responsibility if there is an existing ordinance on maintenance.
Sorting out liability requires you to gather evidence and present it clearly and concisely within specific legal parameters—a task made easier with legal assistance. Let a Naples personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine help you with the matter.
Time Limits and Personal Injury Claims
When pursuing legal action against liable parties, understand that you only have limited time to do so. The statute of limitations differs depending on the circumstances of a personal injury case. With slip and fall accidents, injured victims must file their lawsuit within four years from the occurrence, according to Florida Statutes §95.11(3)(a). Once the specified time frame expires, recovery may be impossible, even if you have a valid claim.
If the liable party is a public entity, such as the city or municipal government, you have a shorter deadline. Under Florida law, those seeking compensation have three years from the incident date, according to Florida Statutes §768.21(6)(a)(1). However, they must file the claim first with the relevant agency and wait for the 180-day investigation to end before proceeding with litigation. Only when the claim is denied can you file a lawsuit.
It might help to work with a cracked, defective, or broken sidewalk slip and fall lawyer to know how much time you have left in bringing an injury claim.
Awarded Damages Differ for Every Case
You must accept that every case yields different amounts of compensatory damages with injury claims. While there is a basis for estimating a reasonable value, other factors can still affect the final payout.
To determine how much your slip and fall case is worth, your lawyer will consider related medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and miscellaneous expenses incurred. If you suffered catastrophic or life-threatening injuries, your attorney could also account for non-economic damages. Pain and suffering and compensation for disability, disfigurement, or scarring have no attached monetary values, so these can impact awarded damages as well.
Comparative negligence is another factor that will weigh on your potential payout. In Florida, your degree of fault in the accident proportionately diminishes your awarded compensation.
Legal Support Can Help Your Case
When you pursue a claim, regardless of who is liable for your accident, it can help to retain an attorney. Consider hiring a Naples cracked or defective or broken sidewalks slip and fall lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine. We have many years of experience handling personal injury cases. Our lawyers can help you through the entire process, making it easier and faster.
Reach out today to speak with a member of our team for a free case evaluation.
We Can Help.