Do you have a case if you trip on tile that is raised or even and you fall and injured yourself in Florida? The uneven tile in the above picture is a defect and probably does not meet the appropriate codes required by law.
The reason it is a defect is because there is a big drop in height (elevation). If someone was walking into the store he or she would expect the floor to be level. But in this case it is not.
Someone entering or exiting the store may get injured by not expecting the “step down” onto a different elevation (level). I recently settled a personal injury case for $78,000 for a lady who was exiting a door at a condominium complex and fell because she there was an unmarked step down.
If you are exiting the store in the picture, you could get injured by “stubbing” your shoe – into the raised tile – and falling. This raised tile should be level so that handicapped people can enter and exit the store without tripping or falling.
The defect in the above picture is so obvious that someone in the construction industry can informally confirm that it is a defect without measuring it. Though, by far, the best practice is to measure the defect and take pictures of it.
If I was the owner of the store or mall in the above picture, I would immediately fix this so that I could avoid a claim for personal injury. If someone files a claim, and the business liability insurer pays him or her money, the store owner’s premiums (insurance rate/payments) will increase.
A business owner should not want to have a claims history if he or she can avoid it. This defect is completely avoidable and would not cost that much to fix. Fixing the defect will save the store owner money in the short or long run.
If someone trips and falls over this raised tile, he or she may also file a claim for medical payments coverage against the store. This assumes that the store has medical payments coverage on its business liability insurance policy. A medical payment claim is separate from a personal injury claim.
Medical payments coverage applies even if the property owner did nothing wrong. Logic would dictate that someone is more likely to file a medical payments claim if there is a defect on the store property. So long as you are injured on the property, medical payments will pay for your medical bills up to a certain amount (usually $1,000 or $5,000 or so).
If someone were to trip and fall – while exiting or entering the store – he or she would also have a personal injury case against the store. He or she would be entitled to get economic damages (e.g. out-of-pocket medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).
The liability claims adjuster for the store’s insurer would argue that you should have seen where you were walking. I think the claims adjuster would argue that you have comparative fault (negligence) for not looking where you were going. The adjuster will also probably argue that this raised tile (defect) was “open and obvious” and you should have seen it.
If you had been to this store before the incident when you fell, the claims adjuster may argue that you should have seen this raised tile before and should have paid more attention while you were walking. You should be very careful if you choose to speak with the liability claims adjuster about your claim.
The full settlement value of your personal injury case would be reduced by the percentage of your fault. The good news for people who trip and fall – and are injured – in Florida is that you can recover damages even if you are somewhat at fault. Let me give you an example to help you better understand this.
You are walking in South Miami – or any city in Florida – and you trip and fall over the raised tile (seen in the photo) while you are about to enter the store. You break your thigh bone (femur) and have surgery on it. As a starting point, the full value for purposes of settlement for pain and suffering only of a broken femur (thigh bone) is between $250,000 and $500,000. Let’s assume that your hospital and doctors’ bills are $50,000 and your lost wages are $20,000.
Let’s assume that you are 25% at fault for not looking where you walking. Since I think the store is at fault for having an unsafe entrance/exit area, let’s assume that it is 75% at fault. I arrived at 75% because I subtracted your 25% fault for not paying attention.
To be conservative, I will use the low-end ($250,000) of the starting point for the value of pain and suffering for a fractured (broken) femur (thigh bone). To calculate a fair settlement range settlement, use the following formula:
Settlement= (Out-of-pocket medical bills + Lost wages + Pain and suffering) x (% Fault of Store)
Now, let’s plug in the numbers from the above example:
Possible Settlement= ($50,000 + $20,000 + $250,000) x (75%)
Possible Settlement= ($320,000) x (75%)
Possible Settlement = $240,000
You should know that because there are so many factors that affect a personal injury case – including a trip and fall case – there is no guarantee that you will get any money for your injuries.
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, slip and falls, and cruise ships accidents. We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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