Tallahassee Slip-and-Fall Claimant Awarded $1.1 Million by Jury

A Tallahassee woman recently prevailed upon a premises liability claim after suffering serious injuries due to a 2016 slip-and–fall incident in a local hospital and was awarded $1.1 million by a Leon County jury after a trial against the hospital. According to a Tallahassee Democrat report regarding the case, the woman was at Capital Regional Medical Center in 2016 visiting a friend who was receiving treatment when she slipped and fell on a wet floor outside a closet used to store used linens, sheets and towels. Her injuries as a result of the incident were so severe that she later required more than $100,000 in medical treatment.

Evidence presented by the victim’s attorney reflected that, despite a hospital policy against dragging bags full of soiled linens like bed sheets or towels across the floor in order to prevent the collection of water that could cause exactly this type of incident from occurring, hospital staff had done just that. This was supported by surveillance video which showed hospital staff doing so immediately prior to the occurrence of the incident. This is yet another reminder to Florida residents that, regardless of what negative press coverage or comments they may hear regarding slip-and-fall claims, these incidents can and often do result in serious personal injuries that cannot be fixed by a surgical procedure. Instead, they can render a victim permanently impaired as a result of a property owner’s failure to exercise due care in safeguarding his or her property against harm to visitors. 

The Types of Serious Injuries Suffered as a Result of Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Slip-and-fall claims can and often do result in serious injuries, particularly to the spine or lower back, given this is the area of the body upon which people most often fall when they suffer a slip-and-fall incident. The very nature of a slip-and-fall claim often is that a person has a traumatic impact to his or her lower back or spine. This was clearly the case in the recent jury verdict in Tallahassee, in which the slip-and-fall victim fell directly onto her back as a result of a wet floor outside a linen closet at the hospital.

A number of the symptoms commonly associated with a slip-and-fall injury include herniated discs, fractured vertebrae, soft tissue damage or even nerve damage which can cause pain to shoot through a person’s arms or legs. The spine is like a canal through which many of the nerves that control both sensation (the ability to feel) and function (the ability to move) in the legs and lower part of the body travel. This impact alone during a trauma like a slip-and-fall thus can permanent nerve damage which can result in excruciating pain in the legs or lower back.  These types of incidents also can result in costly medical treatment like the need for permanent (and often risky) surgery, regular nerve block injections in the affected area to numb the pain and physical therapy, among other things. However, in many instances, there is no permanent solution to these types of injuries, which leaves no means other than a lawsuit to compensate a slip-and fall-victim for the injuries that he or she has suffered.

Florida Property Owner’s Responsibilities 

Pursuant to Florida law, property owners are required to keep their property in reasonably safe condition. This duty includes requirements to protect any guests or visitors to the property from any dangers or dangerous conditions on the property, such as puddles of water which may have accumulated outside a linen closet due to staff dragging bags of wet towels along the ground. If the property owner fails to do so, then a victim who is injured can sue the property owner or operator. In order to successfully prove a slip-and-fall claim in Florida, a victim first must prove the owner of the property on which the victim fell owed what the law calls a “duty of care” to the victim. Under Florida law, every business is deemed to owe a duty of care to any person who enters the business to maintain the business premises in reasonably safe condition and to warn the persons of any dangerous conditions of which the business owner or operator actually is or should be aware. Second, the victim must demonstrate that he or she was injured because the business or property owner failed to uphold his or her duty of care. In the case of Capital Regional Medical Center, the hospital specifically had a policy in place to protect from exactly the type of harm which the plaintiff in this case suffered, which would be a clear failure by the hospital to uphold its duty of care to the plaintiff.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley

Slip-and-fall incidents occur frequently in Florida business establishments and on other Florida properties; these can result in very serious injuries to those who may be the victim of someone else’s failure to maintain their property in a safe condition or to remedy an obviously dangerous and unsafe condition on their property like the recent failure of Capitol Medical Center to follow its own policies and procedures related to the handling of soiled linens. They can result in very serious medical conditions that cannot be fixed by surgery or other intervention available through modern medicine.

If you have been injured by a business or an individual property owner’s failure to maintain his, her or its property in a safe manner, contact the experienced slip-and-fall attorneys of Schwed Adams & McGinley today at (877) 694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation regarding your particular situation. At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, we are experienced and aggressive personal injury attorneys with over 150 years of combined legal experience who have successfully handled hundreds of slip-and-fall incidents throughout the State of Florida and have recovered maximum damages for our clients, no matter the extent of their injuries.