Have Legal Questions?
Attorney Eddie Farah Has Answers!
If you have been injured or involved in an accident, it is important that you know your legal rights. The following page features information about everything from recent changes in Florida law to automobile insurance benefits. If you are unsure how to proceed with your case or want to learn more about your legal options, Attorney Eddie Farah and the Farah & Farah team can help. Contact us today to speak with a member of our staff.
I was in a car accident and the person who hit me didn’t have any insurance. Can I still be compensated for my injuries?
Yes, especially if you have uninsured motorist coverage. That’s insurance you purchase that will pay you when the at-fault driver does not have insurance or enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries.
Under Florida law, your insurance company must offer you uninsured motorist coverage. Also you must sign a document authorized by the Florida Department of Insurance if you choose to reject uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage typically is not expensive and protects you against uninsured drivers, which in Florida may be as high as one in four.
There is something else to consider. If your child or a member of your household is walking or riding a bike and is struck by a hit-and-run driver, your uninsured motorist coverage will compensate you for the injuries. And if you are a passenger in another person’s vehicle and there is a collision and you suffer injuries, your uninsured motorist coverage would cover treatment of your injuries if the car’s owner was underinsured or had no insurance.
That’s why Attorney Eddie Farah and the Jacksonville auto accident lawyers at Farah & Farah always advise our clients to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.
If my child is involved in an accident while I am driving and that child is injured because he or she was not buckled up, am I responsible?
Yes, under Florida law, as a parent you are required to have a constant and continuous duty as an ordinary prudent person, to watch over, supervise, and protect your children who are too young to exercise judgment to care for themselves.
Under Florida law, your child can make a negligence claim against you, as a parent, providing you have liability insurance. The child would not be able to make a claim against your personal assets, but would be able to make a claim against your liability policy, assuming your policy provides such coverage for injuries your child sustained because he or she was not wearing a seat belt.
The fact that the child was not wearing a seatbelt is a violation of Florida Statute §316.614(4)(a).
Eddie, I was involved in a car accident and unfortunately I was not wearing my seat belt. How does that affect my insurance claim?
It is against the law to drive unless your front seat passengers are restrained by a safety belt. Vehicles without seat belts or working seat belts are the exception. Children under the age of 18 must be buckled in at all times whether riding in the front or back seat.
Now, in order to challenge your claim, the person who caused your accident must prove that you had a working seat belt you chose not to use, and that decision was unreasonable and that your injuries resulted from your failure to buckle up. In other words, if you had been wearing a seat belt you wouldn’t have sustained those injuries or they would not have been as severe.
The Florida statute only refers to front seat passengers, not back seat passengers, unless they are under the age of 18.
Attorney Eddie Farah and the Farah & Farah legal team have been successful at defeating the at-fault driver’s argument that you should have been wearing a seat belt. If, for example, a person had a habit of always buckling up and took the belt off for a few seconds to pick up something off the floor or to help a child, it could be argued it was not an unreasonable decision to not wear a seat belt at that time.
Eddie, the other day I was changing a tire on my vehicle and as I was jacking up the car I hurt my shoulder. Do I have any recourse under my automobile insurance policy?
Yes. Since your injury related to the operation of a motor vehicle, your PIP insurance (personal injury protection), that is your no-fault insurance benefit, will pay 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages. This will happen even though you were not actually in the car at the time the accident occurred.
Who determines what doctor I go see after an auto accident?
The good thing about PIP (personal injury protection) insurance is that it allows you to choose your own doctor unlike an HMO where a gatekeeper determines whether you can or cannot be directed to see a specialist for treatment. You can use your PIP insurance to find your own doctor who can help you with your injuries.
At Farah & Farah, we focus on making sure our clients are getting the proper treatment for their injuries. Having helped thousands of clients over the years, the team at Farah & Farah can assist you in selecting doctors who are well-qualified to treat your particular type of injury.
Eddie, what do I do if I am involved in an auto accident?
The first thing to remember is keep calm. You will need to make rational decisions and panic will not help now. Call 911 to report the accident and be sure to advise the 911 operator if anyone is injured. In the state, you are required to have a traffic crash report completed if the crash results in death, bodily injury or damage to property of at least $500.
- Move your vehicle to avoid further injury and turn off the ignition of all cars involved. Do not attempt to move the injured unless they are in immediate danger. Do try to keep the injured warm. Stand away from the vehicles in case they are hit again.
- Though it may be tempting, avoid getting into a confrontation with the other driver at the scene. This is not the time to determine who is at fault. It is best to wait for police and cooperate fully with authorities.
- Do exchange information, again avoiding discussion with the other driver about fault. You will need their license information, registration and insurance information.
- Look around to determine if there are any witnesses and obtain the names, home addresses, work addresses and all telephone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. Even if the other driver admits fault, this is helpful.
- Seek medical attention, even if you have minor pain. Sometimes the shock of what has just occurred masks more serious problems.
- Take photographs, including shots of any injuries to your body, and make sure all areas of damage to your vehicle are photographed before repairs are done. At the scene you might consider using a cell phone to take pictures.
Protect your rights – although you generally must reasonably cooperate with your own insurance company’s investigation, the same is not true for the wrong-doer’s insurance company. For example, you are under no obligation to give the other driver’s insurance company any sort of statement concerning the collision. You should consider consulting a Jacksonville car accident attorney before giving a statement to anyone, even your own insurance company.
Buying automobile insurance can be pretty confusing. I’ve heard the term “PIP” insurance. What is it and is that all I need?
There are several different types of insurance coverage offered in Florida. You need to understand the basics before making an informed purchase.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – PIP is automobile insurance coverage that pays for your own medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. It is one of the “no-fault” benefits of your insurance. Typically there is a $10,000 limit.
In the state of Florida, your PIP will pay 60 percent of your gross lost wages if you are not able to work as a result of an accident and 80 percent of your medical bills resulting from the accident. PIP coverage also contains a death benefit for the named insured person and their family members with whom they live.
PIP coverage can also be used to reimburse you for mileage going back and forth to doctor visits, or to reimburse you for costs you incur related to the accident. If, for example, prior to the accident you were able to cut your own grass and maintain your yard at home and now you have to hire outside help to perform these services on your behalf, you may also be reimbursed for those expenses.
Liability Coverage – If someone is injured or their property damaged as a result of your negligence, you will be protected by any claims for liability. Sometimes a liability policy separately states coverage for both bodily injury liability and property damage liability requiring you to pay separate premiums.
Medical Payments Coverage – Although not statutorily required, medical payments coverage supplements PIP benefits giving you an extra pad to cover medical expenses up to an additional 20 percent.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage – One cannot underscore enough just how important it is to have this type of insurance. While no one knows exactly how many motorists are driving without insurance, some estimates say up to one in four have no coverage. That means it’s vitally important to protect yourself. Under UM coverage, you can cover losses for the uninsured or cover losses not covered by inadequately insured motorists. If you opt not to take uninsured motorist coverage, the insurance company is required to have you sign a written rejection of the coverage.
Additional Insurance – Comprehensive or Collision coverage covers damage to a vehicle regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive coverage might cover incidents such as fire, theft, larceny, vandalism or hitting an animal. Collision, as it implies, covers losses resulting from an impact with another vehicle or object. An auto leasing company often requires that coverage. There is also insurance that will cover towing expenses and the cost of renting a car in case of an accident.
How long after I have an auto accident would you advise I wait before seeing a doctor?
Obviously if you are injured as a result of an accident you should seek medical treatment immediately. Your PIP or personal injury protection insurance will pay for 80 percent of your emergency room visit and/or doctor visits.
We have seen situations where clients have waited two to three weeks after an accident before going to a doctor and the insurance company has alleged that the injuries were not suffered as a result of the accident. The other side may also allege that you had an injury somewhere else and blame it on that accident.
That is one reason we at Farah & Farah feel you should seek medical treatment immediately so your injuries can be documented.
Who will pay for the repair of my car if I am involved in an auto accident?
Typically the at-fault driver pays for the repair costs to your vehicle. You are also entitled to a rental car during the period of time your car is being repaired.
If your car is a total loss, often the insurance company will cover your rental car during the time they are negotiating the fair market value of your vehicle. For example, if the insurance company and you are able to reach an agreement as to the market value of your vehicle within a week of the accident, they will often allow you a rental car for that one week period.
If your car is totaled, you are also entitled to the applicable FL sales tax on the fair market value of the vehicle.
At Farah & Farah, we’ve been successful at obtaining recovery on a claim for diminished value in certain situations. That is when a car has been in an accident and repaired but is now worth less than it was prior to the accident.
For example, if you had two vehicles for sale at a dealership and they looked roughly the same, the one that had been in a collision would probably be worth less money. Therefore, if you are able to ascertain a loss of value because the car has been wrecked, even if it is now repaired, you should be able to get that difference paid to you.
How long will it take to resolve a claim following my auto accident?
That is a difficult question to answer as each claim is different. Typically, you will seek medical treatment and be under the care of a doctor for several months in order to accurately diagnose the nature of your injury. You might also have to undergo physical therapy.
At some point in your treatment, you will reach maximum medical improvement which is referred to as MMI. This means that you have reached a point in treatment where you are not getting any better and not getting any worse. This is where your doctor expects you to be for the long-term. It is at this point that we can begin negotiating your claim with the insurance company.
At Farah & Farah, we know you want your claim resolved as quickly as possible; however, remember that once you settle your claim you cannot come back and seek additional damages for continued injuries. So it is important that at the time we begin negotiating your claim we know the full medical extent of all of your injuries and what effect those injuries will have on you and your family for the rest of your life.
How do insurance companies determine how much they charge me for insurance?
In reality, there are many factors that go into what the cost of your auto insurance is. Insurance companies look at things like your driving history, age, geographic location, the type of car you drive, and even the amount of miles you travel in a given year to determine how much to charge you for insurance. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal points out that there is one factor in particular that many drivers do not consider that greatly effects their insurance rate, and that is their credit history.
Credit history has proven to be a strong indicator of how likely you are to file a claim. In fact, industry experts say credit scores in general are one of the top three factors that insurers consider in determining your rates, alongside where you drive and characteristics like age and gender. Your driving record, while among the top 10 factors, is further down.
Home Owners Insurance
Eddie, I have a pit bull and I wonder if I’m covered under my homeowner’s insurance if he were to bite someone?
Dogs bite an estimated 4.7 million people in the United States every year, 800,000 seriously enough to require medical attention. About 40 percent of the victims are children.
As a result, some insurance companies, including Allstate and Farmers Insurance Group won’t cover homes in certain states if a certain breed of dog is present.
Most insurance companies now screen potential customers depending on the type of dog they have. Insurers, already pressed with heavy payouts due to hurricanes, are looking for a reason to limit coverage. In addition, some municipalities or homeowner’s associations have bans on certain breeds of dog.
The so-called vicious breed lists includes such popular dogs as: German shepherds, Akitas, Siberian huskies, Rottweilers, Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinchers, American pit bull terrier and their cousins, and Presa Canarios, the fighting breed whose California owners were convicted of manslaughter in a 2001 fatal mauling attack.
Citizens, the insurer of last resort in Florida, excludes any claims of animal liability due in part to recent high jury verdicts for dog bite cases. Separate policy coverage must be purchased in order to be covered.
Any dog that has bitten someone will likely make you uninsurable. It is very important to teach dogs not to bite, making sure they get enough exercise and if they are not friendly with children – are kept away from them. This becomes very important to you, the dog and your bank account.
One exception to this might be a child who constantly teases an animal. If you have observed this behavior, notify the parents verbally and with certified mail. Keep a record of the teasing events and report incidents to local police or animal control. Establish a paper trail to defend yourself and your dog if there is an unfortunate incident.
For more information about home insurance for dog owners, PAWS has good information:
- State Farm – Does not have breed-specific policies toward dogs.
- Allstate – Excludes households with certain breeds from coverage. Breeds affected are determined locally in 14 regions across the United States.
- Farmers Insurance Group – In five states, excluding coverage for homes with wolf-hybrids, Akita, Chow-Chow, American Staffordshire terrier, American pit bull terrier, Rottweiler, and Presa Canario dogs. Those states are Alabama, South Dakota, Utah, Washington State and Oregon. No restriction in 36 other states.
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company – Has a list of “vicious” breeds but dogs that pass an American Kennel Club “Canine Good Citizenship” test can be exempt. Dogs are evaluated individually.
- Liberty Mutual Group – Reviews some breeds for “Insurance Acceptability” considering training, temperament, vaccinations and prior claims but does not exclude or refuse homeowner liability coverage based solely on breed.
- Hartford Financial Services Group – Won’t provide new coverage in most states to owners of pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Presa Canarios.
I can’t believe it’s hurricane season again. After what happened to victims of past major hurricanes, what do I need to know to be prepared?
Hurricane season begins June 1 and for the next several months we’ll be all ears as the media tracks the storm paths. Don’t wait until your home is destroyed and your possessions are underwater to learn the facts. You can put your mind at ease by knowing you are prepared.
Do you live in a Flood Zone? Even moderate flood zone areas change with time. It’s estimated between four to seven million who live in flood zones are not covered. In Florida, the Office of Insurance Regulation estimates two-thirds of families do not have flood coverage. Find out your flood risk by checking the National Flood Insurance Program at: www.floodsmart.gov
Most homeowners wrongly assume their standard homeowner’s policy will cover a flood-related loss. Most private insurers don’t even offer flood insurance. The only place to buy flood insurance that covers damage is through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. The liability is limited though-flood coverage compensates you for up to $250,000 in damage to the home, $100,000 to its contents. Check out your options at FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, www.fema.gov
Eddie, I recently leased my home for several months. Unfortunately there was water damage, but when I tried to make a homeowners claim my insurance company refused to pay for the claim. Do I have any recourse?
You may not. Generally, a homeowners policy has exclusions that there will be no coverage when the insured property was rented or held out for rental unless the rental was on an occasional basis.
“Occasional basis” means that the rentals occur now and then such as vacation rentals. If you intend to lease your house for any period of time, you need to contact your insurance agent and purchase a supplemental policy to make sure you are covered in the case of such an event.
Eddie, can you tell me what losses are covered by my homeowners insurance policy and which are not covered?
Here is a short list of what is usually covered. You should check with your individual policy as well.
- Fire/ Lightning
- Windstorm or hail – It should be noted that rain damage will only be covered if the direct force of the wind creates an opening in the structure through which the rain enters
- Riot or civil commotion
- Vehicles’ vandalism or malicious mischief – Coverage for vandalism applies even though the damage may have occurred in the course of an uncovered event such as a burglary.
- Damage by a wild animal; however, in all likelihood it would not constitute vandalism.
- Theft is generally covered as attempted theft and loss of property; however, theft is not covered if committed by or at the direction of the insured. Further, no theft is covered if it occurs to a dwelling under construction. A theft may include items lost in an unlawful possession, even if performed in good faith.
- Property of a student who is uninsured is covered as long as his residence (away from home) is insured and as long as the insured owner of that new residence has been there at any time during the 45 days immediately before the loss.
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water – Discharge of water from a plumbing, heating, air conditioning system, automatic sprinkler or household appliance is covered. The discharge must originate on the residence premises. The term “household appliance” means a device that performs a task in or around the home. It does not include items such as a waterbed. Further, a discharge or water resulting from a back-up or discharge occurring off premises is not covered. For example, sewer back-up causing damage is not a covered event.
- Pressure or weight of water damage on a fence, pavement, swimming pool, foundation, bulkhead or dock.
- Theft in and to a dwelling under construction, of materials and supplies used in construction.
- Vandalism and malicious mischief – If a dwelling has been vacant for more than 30 consecutive days before a loss.
- Constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water over a period of weeks, months or years from within a plumbing, heating or air conditioning system. Please note that the purpose of this exception is to preclude coverage for a slow leak that goes on unabated for a significant period of time.
- Ordinary wear and tear and deterioration are not covered under the policy.
- Settling, shrinking, bulging or expansion resulting in a crack in a pavement, foundation, walls, floors, roofs or ceilings are not covered.
- Smog, rust or other corrosion, mold, wet or dry rot.
- Birds, vermin, rodents or insects.
I am considering having surgery and want to know the track record of the hospital and the doctor who is doing the surgery. Where can I find this information?
In 2004, Amendment 7 to the Florida Constitution (also called the Patient’s Bill of Rights), was passed by Florida voters. It states that a patient has a right to access any records made or received in the course of business by the health care facility or provider related to any adverse medical incident.
This Amendment allows you to obtain information about any medical problems resulting from treatments similar to what you are about to receive. For instance, if you are in the process of having knee surgery, you can find out any adverse medical incidents that have occurred as a result of knee surgeries at that hospital and by that doctor.
I’m having surgery and am concerned about hospital infections that I understand are pretty common these days. What can I do to prevent an infection from occurring?
You are right. Infections, particularly antibiotic-resistant staph infections, are increasingly common in hospitals. It is not just an inconvenience, these infections can be deadly. It is recommended you remind your doctors and nurses to wash their hands before working with you. Also wash your hands carefully after handling any type of body fluid and especially after going to the bathroom. Additional safety precautions to help prevent hospital infections include:
- If you have an intravenous catheter make sure your nurse keeps the skin around the dressing clean and replaces the dressing if it works loose or gets wet.
- If you have a drainage tube, let your nurse know if it becomes loose or dislodged since catheters, IV’s, and drainage tubes are all entry points for germs. Discuss with your doctor when they can be safely removed.
- Likewise if you have a dressing on a wound, tell your nurse if it gets dislodged or wet.
- If you have diabetes, be sure to discuss the best way to control your blood sugar before, during, and after your hospital stay. High blood sugar increases the risk of infection significantly.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. Being overweight can add to the risk of developing an infection after surgery.
- If you smoke, QUIT! A smoking cessation program will reduce the chance of developing lung infections while in the hospital and may improve your healing ability after surgery.
- Ask well-wishers not to visit if they feel ill.
- Enlist the help of friends and relatives to become active members of your health care team.
To check out a local hospital or clinic go to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. Their Website is www.JointCommission.org
(Under “General Public” click on “Quality Check.” Then type in the name of the facility).
For more on patient safety, go to the National Patient Safety Foundation: http://www.npsf.org
Is it true that lawsuits by Florida personal injury lawyers are driving obstetricians and gynecologists as well as other doctors out of the profession?
No. The insurance industry and other special interests that want to limit the rights of patients, are using such false claims as a scare tactic. In fact, according to the American Medical Association, the number of Ob/Gyns and the number of general practitioners is steadily increasing.
The premiums that doctors pay for medical malpractice insurance are too high – that is true. But it is not because of malpractice lawsuits or payments to injured patients, which are actually declining. Instead, the insurance industry is price-gouging doctors to make up for its losses in financial investments, unrelated to medicine, where insurance companies traditionally invest insurance premiums to make their profits.
A study by the former insurance commissioner of Missouri looked at the official filings of the biggest medical malpractice insurers. Over the last five years, insurance companies have doubled their insurance premiums, even though claims payments have been flat, or in some cases have decreased.
In 2004, malpractice insurers’ total premiums were three times higher than their total payouts. This is final proof – from the industry’s own numbers – that insurance executives are gouging doctors and lying to Congress and the public about it.
The insurance industry gets away with this because it is the only major industry in the country (other than major league baseball) that is exempt from federal regulation and anti-trust laws.
Insurance industry price-gouging needs to stop – to prevent further victimization of American families who’ve already been harmed once by a medical tragedy. We need to reclaim our health care system from the insurance industry and return it to doctors and patients, where it belongs.
—TRIAL Magazine, May 2006, http://www.atlanet.org/Publications/Tier3/TRIAL.aspx
How can I work with my doctor to get the appropriate health care?
The single most important way you can help prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team. That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results.
Some specific tests, based on the latest scientific evidence about what works best, are as follows:
1. Make sure that all of your doctors know about every medicine you are taking. This includes prescription, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs. At least once a year, bring all of your medications and supplements with you to your doctor. “Brown-bagging” your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if combining medications might lead to any potential problems. It will also help your doctor keep your records up to date, which will lead to better quality care.
2. Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies or adverse reactions you’ve had to medication. This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.
–Association of Trial Lawyers of America, www.atlanet.org
Do I need a permanent injury to proceed with a claim for medical negligence in Florida?
Yes. The expense to proceed in a case is significant and sometimes a condition resolves by the time the case proceeds. If this happens, the amount awarded to you in damages may have been mitigated to some degree.
How do I establish damages in a claim for medical negligence in Florida?
There are various categories of economic and non-economic damages including, but not limited to, past and future medical expenses, wage loss, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. If the negligence resulted in the patient’s death, then the patient’s survivors may have claims for things like loss of the relationship, support, and/or services.
How long does the process take if I proceed with a claim for medical negligence in Florida?
All cases are different and dependent on a great variety of variables. However, from experience, the process can take as long as 2-3 years given the complexity of any given claim and the amount of work involved - including the number of experts and the number of witnesses to be deposed, etc.
Nursing Home Abuse
Eddie, recently my elderly mother was mistreated in a nursing home; however, I was told by my attorney that the nursing home had no insurance coverage for this type of incident. How could that be?
Unfortunately studies are showing that nursing homes are chronically understaffed which probably helps explain what happened to your mother.
A study commissioned by Congress from the Centers for Medicine and Medicaid Services, shows that more than 91 percent of the nursing homes in this country have insufficient nurse and aides staffing. This study was sponsored by the federal government, not by plaintiffs’ lawyers. It found that more than 40 percent of the nursing homes would have to hire 50 percent more nurses and aides to reach minimum federal standards.
And as to your question about insurance – unfortunately we are finding that many of these facilities are going without insurance or carrying limited insurance. For instance, coverage may consist of an aggregate policy for 1 million which provides coverage for the year, whether there are five claims or 35 claims.
In larger chains, nursing homes are often structured as independent corporations to protect assets of the parent company. A lot of creative plaintiffs’ lawyers are also going after the managers personally, arguing that management decisions outside of the individual corporate entity are the real cause of the harm and that it is the higher level decision making that will attach the parent company to the lawsuit.
Attorney Eddie Farah and his team of Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys are not backing down from pursuing nursing homes that use various corporate structures to escape responsibility.
Since nursing homes take care of the elderly when they are no longer able to care for themselves, don’t these facilities deserve some special consideration and legal protections?
While these special long-term care facilities are supposed to care for the elderly when they can no longer be cared for by their families, we are finding that unfortunately many are not providing appropriate or adequate care.
The horror stories are enough to scare most Americans. From ignoring Alzheimer’s patients who are in pain or who walk out the door, to bed stores that go untreated for months, falling out of bed or a wheelchair, and even outright abuse.
The Government Accountability Office finds 300,000 seniors and disabled adults exist in substandard homes where they are “at risk of harm due to woefully deficient care.” More often than not, these facilities are not being criminally prosecuted.
At Farah & Farah we believe the civil justice system needs to step in and hold the negligent accountable when government and facilities fail to do their job. The elderly who are our parents, spouses, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, deserve a clean and safe facility that provides responsible care for those who are our most vulnerable. To do anything less is immoral and inhumane.
Premises Liability / Slip & Fall
If I slip and fall at a business, what do I need to remember?
Premises liability law makes the person who owns the land or premises responsible if someone on those premises is injured. Often the law favors the premise’s owner, so it is advised to consult with a Florida premises liability attorney.
In a slip and fall case, where a foreign substance is on the floor of a business causing you to fall and be injured, the presumption is that the owner did not maintain the premise in a reasonably safe condition. Simply because a hazardous condition is open and obvious, and you did not see it, does not put the burden of fault for the fall on you. Florida law allows a person who is injured as a result of a slip and fall accident to make a claim even if the owner of the business says that you should have seen the substance on the floor.
Under Florida law, the business owner that controls the premises owes you a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for the welfare of its customers on the premises. This includes a reasonable effort to keep the premises free from foreign objects or substances that might cause you injury.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident:
- Get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses who may have seen you fall. Also be sure to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any employees who may have seen you fall.
- Try and remember anything that an employee may have said to you – sometimes they will come up and admit fault such as “I was supposed to have cleaned up that mess.” That would be an admission against the employer to prove liability.
- Make sure the incident is reported to the store manager.
- Try to determine the substance that caused you to fall.
- If you have a cell phone that takes pictures, take a photo immediately of whatever caused your accident. A disposable camera is sold in many stores and might be a quick answer to taking pictures of the accident scene.
- If possible, try to determine where the substance came from. For instance, there may have been water leaking from a malfunctioning refrigeration unit. If you can show that the substance has been on the floor for an extended period of time, it indicates that management of the store had ample opportunity to clean up the substance before you fell.
- Try to obtain a copy of the incident report prepared by the manager.
- Get medical help immediately.
Oftentimes there is a defect in the property itself. Maybe steps are not up to code or there may be a structural problem with the premises that caused you to slip and fall. That’s why it is important to speak with one of our Jacksonville premises liability attorneys immediately so we can go out and take photographs and establish the defective nature of the property before the owner tries to correct it.
If you have any further questions, the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah are available via email or by phone. We are available to meet with you to discuss your claim. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.