Happy Valentines Day!
Generally, if someone else is at fault and you are injured, you can sue them for your injuries. If you are working, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Interestingly, under workers’ compensation laws in Florida, if you are collecting workers’ compensation, then you CANNOT sue your employer. This is called workers’ compensation immunity. Thus, if you are working and the negligent person is your employer, then you generally cannot sue the employer if he or she is providing worker’s comp. However, if you are working and getting worker’s compensation, you can generally sue and collect in Florida from a THIRD PARTY. Thus, if you are working and are injured due to someone OTHER THAN YOUR EMPLOYER, then you can sue that person generally.
Of course, if you are not working and are injured at a construction site or warehouse, you may have an injury case if there is negligence on the part of the construction site or warehouse.
In Florida, a business establishment is responsible for injuries if they create a hazard, know about a hazard and do not fix it or have constructive knowledge of the hazard. Interestingly, while this has been the law in Florida generally per case law, the legislature enacted a law on this same issue, a copy of which is below:
768.0755 Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment.—
(1) If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:
(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
(2) This section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises.
History.—s. 1, ch. 2010-8.
Many people think that a business establishment is automatically responsible for a slip and fall injury but that is not correct. The injured person must prove the negligence, as the statute says. If you ahve any questions, please feel free to contact me.
This is more common than you think and I believe, under the facts as presented, that this is a viable case against the owner and driver of the vehicle. The first issue is that since the car did not hit the person, can the person sue the driver of the car. Since the car caused the cart to knock the person down, you certainly would be able to sue the driver of the car. The second issue would be is the driver of the car at fault. Under the facts as presented, it would appear the car is at fault. I would expect the car to argue that the the pedestrian was partly at fault, for failing to get out of the way or something to that effect. The last issue would be of damages. If the person fell to the ground but was not injured, then obviously there would not be a case. However, if the person was knocked to the ground and there was some resulting injury (hospitalization, scars, etc.), then there would be a case.
Knee injuries are common in car accidents. There are many factors that come into play in valuing the injuries. Sometimes, there injury are solely treated with therapy and there is almost complete resolution of pain. Other times, arthroscopic surgery is needed where the medical cost is much greater. Sometimes the results from surgery are almost perfect and yet other times the client continues to have significant pain in their knee or future surgeries are needed. The age of the injured person is going to play into this as well. Further, if the client has health insurance and the cost of treatment or surgeries will also impact the value of the case. Thus, there is no simple answer to the value of a meniscus surgery, as there are so many factors that are going to play into the value of the case. Generally, if the client would have a good result and not need surgery, that case would have a value much less than a similar case where surgery was needed. This is where the hiring of a lawyer is particularly important. Personal injury lawyers can help advise clients on the value of their cases along with many other things that the lawyer can help advise the client.
In general, Florida property damage insurance pays for the other person’s car or another person’s property (like if you run into a fence), when YOU are AT FAULT in an accident. It pays for accidents when you are in your car, or someone is driving your car with permission. This is generally indemnity coverage which means that they will pay a judgment, up to your policy limits, as well as the cost of defense (Generally an unlimited amount of defense costs, but you generally must use their lawyers). If the insurance company feels there is merit to the other person’s claim against you, they likely may pay the cost of the repairs to the other car and/or have the other driver sign a release in exchange for a sum of money. Florida law required owners of cars in Florida to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage up to $10,000 and Property Damage insurance of a minimum amount of $10,000. While the other driver who caused an accident must have property damage insurance to fix your car, interestingly he is not generally required by Florida law to carry bodily injury insurance which pays the injured person money if that driver caused the accident.
As in any injury case, you must prove three elements: liability, damages and legal causation. By this question, it suggests the person has damages (it says person injured) and legal causation (it says fall and get injured). Thus, this question seems to focus on liability or fault. Many clients come to me, after falling with injury and suggest the grocery store AUTOMATICALLY owes them money if they fall in a grocery store BUT THIS IS NOT CORRECT. The injured person MUST prove that the grocery store in Florida is negligent before it will owe them any money under Florida law. So the key here is fault and thus the issue becomes when is a grocery store legally responsible for injuries sustained on the property. Basically, the answer is when the store has been negligent in causing injury. Under premises liability theories, a occupier of land is responsible for hazards that it caused, that it knew about but did not remedy, or that it should have known about as it was on constructive notice of. It is also important to note that if the grocery store is negligent, the injured person can also be considered to be partly at fault and the damages reduced by an appropriate percentage, if there is evidence of comparative fault on the part of the injured person. Accidents can happen in various ways and there is no easy answer to negligence in most scenarios, so it is important to get legal advise when you fall at a grocery store.
Again, it is very common for clients to have this concern following an fall accident here in Florida. First, some properties carry what is known as Medical Payment coverage. This sort of coverage generally applies to anyone that is injured on the property and regardless of fault. There is a usually a cap on medical expense coverage and the most common amount that you see is $5,000.00. You see this sort of coverage more commonly in small businesses as opposed to major retailers. Thus, many clients don’t realize that this sort of coverage exists. You would have to order a copy of the business’s insurance policy to figure out whether they have it or not. Otherwise, most businesses will have liability coverage (and the certainly will have liability coverage in addition to the medical payment coverage if they have that). However, liability coverage indemnifies the business against a judgment (in other words, pays for any judgment entered against the business for injuries sustained on the premises). Thus, the insurance company does not just pay the medical bills; however, if they believe that the business was at fault for the fall, then they would offer a settlement for the particular case.