How Do You Know If A Driver Acted Reasonably In Trying To Prevent a Pedestrian Accident?

Posted By on July 28, 2016

In Florida, car accidents where someone on foot is hit by a moving vehicle (i.e. a “pedestrian accident”) usually come with an assumption that the driver of the motor vehicle is to blame for the accident. After all, he or she was driving a heavy machine (a dangerous instrumentality), while the accident victim was there on the street or sidewalk, or in the parking lot, with no protection from harm as they were walking or jogging and going about their day.

Insurance companies recognize that Florida as well as other states have a lot of case law as well as municipal and state traffic laws that suggest that the driver is presumed to be at fault in a pedestrian accident. And often this is true — the driver will be to blame for hitting the person on foot.

However, this is not always true. The driver isn’t always to blame; sometimes, that blame lies with the pedestrian or a third party. As a victim, you cannot assume that the insurance company will not blame you for the accident as it evaluates your claim.

 

Children playing soccer

Reasonable drivers will be cautious when driving near soccer fields or playgrounds where a child might dart out into the street.


 

Are Most Pedestrian Accidents Considered Preventable by Insurers?

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration defines a “pedestrian accident” as “…any person on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking, sitting, or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle traffic crash.”

National General  (along with other insurers) defines a “preventable accident” as “one in which the driver failed to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the accident.”

Some insurance adjusters will process a pedestrian accident claim with the bias that the accident was preventable. Key here is the driver and whether or not he or she was driving as a reasonable driver at the time of the accident.

Was The Driver Acting in a Reasonable Manner?

Insurers evaluate the driver involved in the pedestrian accident to see if he or she was operating the motor vehicle in a defensive manner.

If the driver was not driving defensively, then the driver may be considered to not have been driving in a reasonable manner and therefore negligent under the law. Generally speaking, a victim is only entitled to recover damages if the at-fault driver was negligent (partly or otherwise).

What is a defensive driver?

National General finds that defensive drivers share the same characteristics:

  • Defensive drivers know the applicable driving laws;
  • Defensive drivers are aware of techniques to use that help them to drive safely (”safe driving strategies”);
  • Defensive drivers are aware of their surroundings as they drive;
  • Defensive drivers assess changes in the driving conditions (ocean fog rolls in, for instance);
  • Defensive drivers understand the dangers of hazards in their path and take action to avoid or minimize the risk;
  • Defensive drivers exercise sound judgment in choosing the safest action to minimize hazardous conditions and accident risks; and
  • Defensive drivers are skilled at driving and are able to implement their chosen driving course given the circumstances presented.

As a victim of a pedestrian accident, you may want to evaluate the at-fault driver against this criteria. As part of their risk analysis, insurance companies use these standards to evaluate drivers involved in these crashes and the resulting claims made by victims. If you can prove that the driver in your crash was not driving defensively, then this may help prove your position and get your claim paid.

Company Cars and Driving on the Job

Determining whether or not a driver acted reasonably in a pedestrian accident sometimes involves more than assessing his or her driving actions at or near to the time of the accident. There can be other factors that can complicate the situation in some pedestrian accidents; for instance, was the driver driving on the job? And was that driver driving a company vehicle?

Companies hire workers to do all sorts of tasks that require them to drive a vehicle. Sometimes its their own car or truck; sometimes, it’s a car, van, or truck provided by the employer. Insurance companies have lots to say to businesses that send employees out driving on Florida roads for work, insofar as limiting liability for accidents.

For instance, Secura Insurance has a “Fleet Safety Program Manual” published online that details strategies to reduce the risk of motor vehicle accidents involving business vehicles. So does Traveler’s Insurance (see its Sample Vehicle Safety Program for Non-Regulated Fleets).

Employers can and should expect drivers to drive with reasonable care and caution while on the job. And by researching the risk manuals and fleet safety plans of insurance companies, victims of pedestrian accidents can get a clearer picture of whether or not the driver in their accident was operating that vehicle reasonably at the time of wreck.

Evaluating Pedestrian Collisions for the Reasonableness of the Driver

Since pedestrians as a general rule have the right of way on Florida streets, roads, parking garages, and parking lots, etc., it is assumed that a pedestrian accident was preventable.

Still, Florida law does provide defenses to drivers where circumstances exist that a reasonable driver could not have avoided the crash. That might include a pedestrian doing something unreasonable herself, like chasing a ball into a road without bothering to look for an oncoming car.

Reasonable drivers are those that are on the lookout for pedestrians as they drive and when a pedestrian is spotted, the reasonable driver takes defensive measures and maneuvers to avoid hitting the person on foot.

31 Things to Consider When Determining if a Driver Acted Reasonably in a Pedestrian Accident?

Here are some questions for a victim of a pedestrian accident to consider (and to bring to the attention of the insurance adjuster) when evaluating whether or not a driver acted reasonably. These questions come from the risk assessment research compiled by insurance companies and industry researchers, including the online information provided by Traveler’s Insurance in their risk manual:

  1. How fast was the car going at the time of the accident?
  2. What was the speed limit at the place of the accident? Was the driver speeding over that limit?
  3. Did the driver know that pedestrians were present? Should the driver have known this was a possibility (I.e., near a playground, school zone, shopping mall, grocery store, etc.)?
  4. Did the driver proceed with caution in the area because there might be a risk of pedestrians being there?
  5. Did the driver slow down because there might be people walking on foot on or near his traffic path?
  6. Did the driver give pedestrians the right of way?
  7. Did the driver know of any minor children who were on foot and on or near his traffic path?
  8. Was the driver ready to stop if a child were to enter his traffic path?
  9. Was the driver looking for kids or other pedestrians who might not be aware of motor vehicle traffic (because they were on their phones or playing Pokemon Go, for instance)?
  10. What route was the driver taking that day? Was the driver accustomed to this route or was it new to him? Drivers should be more defensive on new routes where they may be unexpected dangers.
  11. Was it common for pedestrians to cross the street in the middle of the block on the street where the accident happened? If so, was the driver aware of this? (School kids leaving school for the day may cross mid-block, for instance.)
  12. Did he slow down accordingly?
  13. Where there any signs warning drivers of pedestrian traffic in the area? Pedestrian crossing signs are common near schools, shopping malls, and in some neighborhoods with lots of children.
  14. Did the driver reduce speed due to the pedestrian traffic sign’s warning?
  15. Did the driver know that he can voluntarily reduce speed to avoid the risk of pedestrian accidents even if there is no lowered speed limit sign or other warning?
  16. Did the driver need prescription lenses? Was he wearing them at the time?
  17. Was the driver distracted at any time near or at the time of the accident? Was there music playing in the car at the time of the pedestrian accident?
  18. Where there passengers in the car at the time of the pedestrian accident? What were they doing? Were they contributing to the danger of a crash by being loud, unruly, or distracting to the driver?
  19. Was the driver eating in the car at the time of the accident?
  20. Were there rear-view and side-view mirrors on the vehicle? Were they working properly?
  21. Were the brakes on the vehicle working properly?
  22. Were the tires properly inflated?
  23. Was the driver intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Drivers may have less reaction times and ability to assess danger on the road to drive reasonably and prevent a pedestrian accident if they are dosed with flu medicines (like NyQuil), allergy medications (like Benadryl), and other Over the Counter medication as well as the more sinister drugs like opioids and cocaine.
  24. How congested was the roadway at the time of the accident? Did the driver compensate for having to deal with heavy traffic as he drove through an area where pedestrians were near his traffic path?
  25. What was the weather like at the time of the accident? Was there a heavy rain, making it hard to see the traffic path? Was it a bright and sunny afternoon where glare might inhibit the driver’s ability to see a pedestrian in his traffic path?
  26. Was the driver wearing a seat belt? Was there a company policy that the driver should be wearing a seat belt while driving on the job? A reasonable driver will comply with company rules even if it wrinkles his suit.
  27. What are the company rules about having passengers in the vehicle? Is it allowed at all? Is it allowed during working hours?
  28. Was there a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the pedestrian accident? It is not reasonable for the driver to bring their kids or their friends along for the ride in a business vehicle, especially during working hours.
  29. Is there a business manual that tells drivers what company policies are that define reasonable driving of their company vehicle? Was this being followed at the time of the pedestrian accident?
  30. Was the driver operating someone else’s car at the time of the pedestrian accident? Did he have permission to do so?
  31. If the driver was driving someone else’s vehicle, was he familiar with how it works and capable of operating the vehicle safely? For instance, was it reasonable for the driver to be driving a large van if he had never done so before the day of the accident?

What Should You Do If You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident?

Most people involved in a pedestrian car accident assume that the driver is always the cause of the accident for failing to act in a reasonable manner.

However, there needs to be admissible evidence to support this assumption. The victim must prove the driver failed to act as a reasonable and prudent driver. Was the at-fault driver, in the terms of the insurance company, driving defensively?

A victim may need to provide witness statements, police reports, video, expert testimony, etc. to prove the driver was at fault, so the insurance company (and perhaps the coverage provided by his employer) will agree to accept liability and pay for the victim’s damages (pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, physical therapy costs, etc.).

A good piece of advice if you or a loved one has been injured as a pedestrian, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person, whichever you prefer) to answer your questions.

Related:

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.
 
 
 
 
 

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What do I need to prove in order to get a Florida slip and fall settlement?

Posted By on July 27, 2016

In this video, Alan Sackrin answers a question that he has been asked many times before by clients and visitors to this site. If you have questions after watching the video, Alan is available to talk with you now and answer your questions free of charge:

Q: What do I need to prove in order to get a Florida slip and fall settlement?

A: In order to get a Florida slip and fall accident settlement, you must prove fault or negligence on part of the business establishment or the person you are suing and you also must prove that you have sustained injuries as a result of the fall. Proving fault or negligence on the part of the business establishment often times is a difficult thing to do. That’s why you need to hire a Florida bar board certified civil trial attorney to assist you because a lot of people think that just because they slip on the premises of a Home Depot or a Publix or a Wynn Dixie, that they’re automatically entitled to recover, that it’s the stores responsibility to make sure that there’s nothing on the floor 100% of the time. That’s just not the law in Florida.

     You must prove they did something wrong. For example, they knew about the condition on the floor and did nothing about it. Or that they should have known about the condition on the floor and did nothing about it. In addition to proving fault, you must prove that you sustained bodily injuries as a result of the accident. You prove bodily injuries by showing your medical records, by turning over your medical records, by turning over your medical bills. If there are lost wages by proving that you missed time from work through your employment records and through your tax returns and through the statements of other people who’ve known you for years that your life has been changed in certain respects as a result of the injuries you sustained in that slip and fall case. These are the thing you need to prove to get a reasonable slip and fall settlement in Florida.

Related:

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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How Do You Know If A Business Acted Reasonably In Trying To Prevent an Office Slip and Fall Accident?

Posted By on July 21, 2016

When you are injured at your job, then you may have coverage through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Worker’s Compensation insurance provides the injured worker with limited benefits for medical expenses and loss of wages, regardless of fault. For example, if you slip and fall at your place of employment while you are working, medical benefits and lost wages, pursuant to a formula, will be paid to the employee.

However, whether or not a slip and fall accident will be covered by the business’ LIABILITY insurance will depend upon whether or not the company is legally liable for what has happened to the injured person. Normally, an employee covered by workers’ compensation, is not entitled to sue the employer for negligence.

If a non-employee of the company slips and falls at your employer’s place of employment, that person is not entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits but may sue the employer for negligence. When is a business establishment negligent and how is it determined? A business is negligent if failed to act in a reasonable manner. Negligence can occur when a business does some act that a reasonably careful business would not do under similar circumstances or in not doing something that a reasonably careful business would do under similar circumstances.

Insurance companies and industry researchers study these office/premises slip and fall incidents with the goal of trying to assess the risk of injury and advise businesses what reasonable steps should be taken in order to avoid worker and customer slip and fall injuries. Risk manuals provided by Travelers Insurance to its policyholders as well as this advisory article in Safety and Health Magazine, a publication of the National Safety Council provide reasonable measures that businesses should take in order to minimize the chance of injuries.

Using their compilations as a guide, here are some issues and questions for you to consider as you evaluate what has happened in an office slip and fall accident:

 
Desk chair
 

1. Chairs Provided by the Company or Business

Chair safety is important and there are certain manufacturers that specialize in making chairs for use in industrial or business environments. They are designed for commercial use and while they may be elegantly designed, they have a different structure and make-up than many chairs that are available for sale for residential purposes.

If a chair was involved in your slip and fall accident, then you may want to investigate things involving chair safety issues.

  • Was the chair secure with five pedestals? Five pedestal chairs are less likely to tip or turn over.
  • What about the casters on that chair?
  • Did it have casters?
  • Are these the proper kind of caster for this chair?
  • Have these casters been removed or replaced?
  • Are they worn down?
  • Were they secure on the foot of the chair?
  • What about the footing for that chair, was it on carpeting, a loose rug, or a tile or wood floor? Different casters are designed to work best on different kinds of flooring.
  • Was the chair’s caster made to deal with a slippery tile floor or with a thick tapestry rug?
  • What about the base of the chair, what does it measure? Office chairs, to be safe, should be at least 20 inches in diameter.
  • What was the diameter of the chair that was involved in your slip and fall accident?
  • Did staff get any instructions on how to use the chair? Some chairs, like executive chairs that rise and lower or specialty chairs made to lessen back pain or shoulder strain, are made to move with levers into different positions.
  • Was the chair involved in your fall one of these types of chairs? If so, was it working properly? And were you instructed on how to use its devices properly?

Office Slip and Fall Accident at the Same Level

Falls happen in two ways: on one level, or from a higher spot to a lower one. Many office slip and fall accidents happen on a single level (while construction accidents, for example, are often at a different level as a worker falls from a ladder or scaffold.)

Where you were when the slip and fall accident happened in your office is important. Think about where you were and what was happening at the time, as well as where things were located around you immediately before you were hurt. Issues in a same level office slip and fall can include:

  • Objects that are inviting someone to trip and fall over them. Think about where the trash basket was located in your office, as well as any stacks of files, or file boxes, or other items. Were they positioned out of your foot path or in a spot where someone might trip over them?
  • Trash baskets, for example, should be kept under desks, in corners, or otherwise out of the line of traffic. Did someone empty that trash basket and fail to return it to its proper location?
  • What about the tables, desks, file cabinets, and office equipment (printers, printer stands, copiers, etc.) — where are they located?
  • Are they positioned so it is easy to maneuver around them?
  • Are they against walls, are there partitions to help the flow of foot traffic?
  • Do you find yourself having to squeeze by the printer stand? Did this contribute to your fall?
  • Is it business policy in your office to keep things tidy during the day?
  • Are there rules about keeping trash baskets out of the way and file cabinet drawers shut, and overhead cabinet doors closed?
  • Do employees obey these rules?
  • What about electrical cords and power cords to computers, phones, and other equipment. How are they organized?
  • Are computer and phone cords loose on the floor or are they gathered in clips and contained behind desks?
  • Is it a hazard to have to walk down the hall or through the office because of loose equipment electrical cords on the floor?
  • What about extension cords – are they used? Why? How are they taped or otherwise held down (rubber channels, etc.) to protect against someone tripping over them?
  • What about electrical outlets, where are they? Are they easy to locate and use, or are they in strange spots in the wall or floor?
  • Are they placed in a way that invites a tripping hazard as equipment and machines are plugged into these outlets?

Storage

What about storing necessities and office materials? Where is this done?

  • Is there a storage room? Are there enough storage cabinets and drawers for employees to use?
  • If not, are workers forced to store file boxes, folders, books, inventory, etc., in halls or around desks, and around conference tables?
  • Does this invite someone to trip and fall or slip and fall as a hazard?
  • What about the filing system? Are file boxes used?
  • Where are they kept? If a file box is being used in the course of the workday, where is it placed?
  • What about the box top? Boxes in hallways can cause a trip and fall. A loose cardboard box top can result in a serious slip and fall injury.

Spills

Things happen, and in every office there is going to be the periodic cup of spilled coffee or the tipped over glass of soda. When that happens, what is office procedure?

  • Has there been any rule established for these spills?
  • Have employees been formally instructed on steps to take when something is spilled?
  • Are there signs available to mark a wet floor (”Caution – Wet Floor”)?
  • Are employees told where mops can be found, or wipes to clean up the spill?
  • Is there staff assigned to do these chores? What are their instructions?

Office Floor Hazards

  • How often is the office floor cleaned or vacuumed? Who does this?
  • What about things like paper clips or rubber bands and other small office items that might cause someone (especially a woman wearing high heels) to lose her footing and fall — are these promptly picked up or are they left there as a hazard for days at a time?
  • What about the flooring at office entrances and exits, is it made to protect against the elements? Entries need to have protections against puddles caused by rain, for instance. If the flooring is tile or wood, then protective rugs or slip-resistant material needs to be placed here. Additionally, any traffic paths where workers may carry rain water into the work area need to be protected, as well. If the lobby has a marble floor, it may look beautiful but wet marble is inviting a serious fall accident and the company should protect workers with rugs, carpeting, etc. Here.

Blind Spots

Sometimes, workers simply run into each other during a busy day and a fall accident results. Collisions in a hallway do happen, which is why the National Safety Council supports offices having convex mirrors (those big, round mirrors that are installed up in the corners) at hallway intersections — particularly in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic and where workers may well be walking while carrying files, computers, books, etc.

  • If your fall was the result of a collision, were you able to see where you were going at the time of the accident?
  • What about the person with whom you collided: were you in his or her blind spot?

Falls from a Higher Level

There are times when an office slip and fall is the result of someone falling from a higher level to a lower one. These usually result in more serious injuries than those where the fall is on the same level.

  • If employees need to use a ladder (say a step-ladder) during the course of a day, who provided it and was it checked to make sure it was the proper kind of ladder for this intended use?
  • What about the ladder’s feet – do they have any kind of slip-resistant material on them?
  • Are there brakes or other devices on the ladder that keep it secure and steady as someone climbs its steps? Were they working properly?
  • Is there a warning on the ladder about not going past the highest safe stepping level (the safety step)?
  • Was the ladder placed on level ground before the accident victim climbed onto the ladder?
  • Was the ladder fully opened before the person stepped onto it?
  • If the fall happened because someone tried to climb up on a desk or conference table to reach something, then was that something reasonable to think might happen in the office? Were employees instructed on how this could be dangerous?
  • Were there any policies or procedures that warned workers NOT to climb on desks or tables, etc.?
  • What about someone using an office chair to reach for something — climbing on a chair is a common office slip and fall scenario. This is an especially serious danger when someone tries to stand on a rolling desk chair to get something out of reach, and thinks it won’t be a problem. Those wheels can easily move and a serious fall will result.

Worker Education and Training Manuals

Companies should prepare their employees not only for their specific work assignments but also for their work environment. Failure to educate and train employees and staff in workplace safety can result in serious liability for the business if a slip and fall accident happens on their premises.

  • Does the company have training in place for its cleaning crew?
  • Does it hire a third party company to take care of cleaning the office space?
  • How was this company vetted?
  • What training is provided to employees on maintaining a safe environment during the day?
  • Are workers instructed, for example, not to leave lower level filing cabinet drawers open because this is a fall hazard?
  • Are employees trained on what to do if they need to get something out of reach, including where a stepladder can be located and how it is to be properly used?

Do You Have an Accident Damages Claim For an Office Slip and Fall?

If you work in an office environment here in Florida and were hurt on the job in a slip and fall accident, then you may need to determine if the business or company who is responsible for the office is liable for what has happened to you.

Under Florida premises liability law, that business may be responsible for covering damages that have been the result of your accident, including not only your medical costs but your lost wages due to an inability to work, etc. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer can be very helpful here, especially since our premises liability statute places a rather unique burden of proof on the accident victim.

A good piece of advice if you or a loved one has been injured in an office slip and fall, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person, whichever you prefer) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.
 
 
 
 
 

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How do statute of limitations work?

Posted By on July 19, 2016

In this video, Alan Sackrin answers a question that he has been asked many times before by clients and visitors to this site. If you have questions after watching the video, Alan is available to talk with you now and answer your questions free of charge:

Q: How do statute of limitations work?

A: Statutes of limitations are statutes prepared by the legislatures of each state that puts a limit on how long between the time of an accident, or the time of an event, and the time you can file a lawsuit. So for example, if you’re in an accident in Florida on January 3rd, 2013 you have 4 years in Florida to file a lawsuit. So you have until January 3rd 2017 in which to just file a complaint in court. The case does not have to be over in 4 years, it has to be begun in 4 years. And in Florida a lawsuit is begun just by the filing of a complaint. The defendant doesn’t even have to know that the complaint’s been filed so long you have filed it.

     Now for different types of accidents, or different types of incidents, there’s different statutes of limitations. Generally in car accidents and slip and fall accidents where somebody does not die, there’s a 4 year statute of limitations. In wrongful death cases there’s a 2 year statute of limitations. If a case has not been filed within the statute of limitations and filed subsequently thereafter, the defendant will be entitled to have the case dismissed and you lose your right to obtain compensation- at least from the at fault driver. You would then go after your attorney for legal malpractice.

Related:

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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How Do You Know If A Business Acted Reasonably In Trying To Prevent a Restroom Slip and Fall Accident?

Posted By on July 14, 2016

Simply stated, if you have suffered an injury in a restroom slip and fall (whether at the mall, rest stop, fast food restaurant or any other public restroom) then you may have a liability claim against the owner or operator of that premises for your damages. Just like a fall occurring at a grocery store, or while eating at a restaurant or having fast food, or in a hotel room, the insurance coverage maintained by the business may provide financial coverage for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Are Slip and Fall Accidents Automatically Covered by the Business’s Insurance?

Under Florida law, it’s not automatic that the business will be held liable for your damages for a restroom slip and fall, no matter how seriously you have been hurt. Key here is whether or not the business was negligent in keeping those using the facilities safe from harm; did the business owner know or should it have known about a dangerous condition on its premises and it should have taken action to remedy it?

Accident victims therefore need to ask as one of their initial questions, did this business act reasonably in trying to protect against a restroom slip and fall accident? If not, then the business may be negligent under Florida premises liability law resulting in the insurance company being responsible to compensate the victim for his or her injuries.

 

Toilet Beijing 3

 

13 Questions to Consider: Was the Business Reasonable in Trying to Prevent a Fall in its Restroom?

When you are evaluating whether or not to file a claim against the owner or operator of the restroom where you were hurt, it’s important to get an understanding of what they did — and did not do —  to try and prevent a slip and fall from occurring on their premises.

Here are a series of questions that you can use to decide if your claim against that store, spa, hotel, shopping mall, or restaurant has any likelihood of being paid (You should also ask the insurance adjuster these questions to convince them that their insured was negligent).  These questions are taken from various sources, not the least of which are some online risk manuals that insurance companies have published online to assist businesses in avoiding negligence claims (like this one from Traveler’s Insurance).

1. Restroom Floor Material

Take a good look at the floors in the restroom as they were at the time of your accident. Try and remember the condition of the floor (was it dirty, wet, slippery, was the flooring broken or cracked), take pictures, get witness contact information and review any videos you took of the accident scene from your phone.

What are materials were used to make those restroom floors? Sometimes, interior design may opt for beautiful flooring in a restroom, like marble, which does look elegant. However, marble flooring is inherently slippery. Even more so when wet.

Was the material on the restroom floor slippery? Or slip-resistant? Was there a floor mat?  Was there a leak? Was it raining outside?

2. Restroom Attendant

Was there a restroom attendant? Many establishments employ someone to help and assist those using the restroom. They have duties that include being hospitable to visitors using the facility as well as maintaining the place and keeping it clean and neat.

If there was an attendant assigned to the restroom, were they there at the time of your accident? Why not? Are restroom attendants supposed to be in the restroom on a full-time basis, or only on weekends, the evenings, etc. If they aren’t assigned to be in the restroom at the time of the accident, why not?

Did the restroom attendant have the task of keeping a log about things their work, logging things like the last time they wiped the counter-tops, replaced the liquid soap in the dispensers, etc. ? What does the log require them to include in their descriptions, is it detailed?

What chores were completed on the date of the accident, according to the restroom attendant’s log book? What about the previous week?

3. Soap and Lotion Dispensers

Were there liquid soap dispensers or hand lotion dispensers in the restroom? Where are they located? Were they full or empty? Did they leak or ooze? Were these dispensers installed on the wall where if they dripped or leaked, the liquid would not fall on the floor? If there’s not a counter in the restroom, do the dispensers have some kind of catch or lip set up in case they drip or ooze liquid?

4. Restroom Counters

What materials are the restroom counters made of? If you had to grip the counter to try and stop a fall, would its surface help you hold your grip or is it smooth  and slippery? How polished are the counters?

5. Paper Towel Dispensers

Most public restrooms offer some way for patrons to wash and dry their hands after using the facilities. At least, they are supposed to have this available — it’s a matter of health and safety!

Sometimes, they will have hot air dispensers that blast hot air to dry hands that are wet after being washed. Other restrooms may not have these hot air machines; instead, they will have the “old school” method of providing paper towels.

If paper towels were offered in the restroom where you fell, then where were they located? Was there a paper towel dispenser on the wall? Did it have paper towels in it?

Was it close enough to the sinks that anyone trying to get a towel to dry their hands would not drip water from their hands on the way to get the paper towel from the dispenser?

Was it working properly? Did any paper towels fall to the ground as someone grabbed a towel from the dispenser? Did these paper towels lay on the floor where people walked? Did you fall because of a paper towel laying there on the floor?

If there was no paper towel dispenser, then where were they stacked? On the counter? Did any of the paper towels make their way to the floor where someone could slip and fall on them?

6. Restroom Floor Condition

We’ve already considered what materials were used to make the restroom floor – marble, tile, etc. Now consider the condition of the floor at the time of the accident. Was it wet or dry? Was it slippery? Was it freshly waxed?

Were there any puddles of water on the restroom floor? How long had they been there? Was there a plumbing leak? Was there a problem with people dripping water from their hands because of a badly located towel dispenser — or because there were no towels provided?

What about a floor drain? Was there a drain or grate in the floor in case of a water leak? Was the restroom floor sloped so that water would naturally move to the drain or grate?

If there is water on the floor of the restroom, what instructions are given to employees on cleaning up that water? Who is responsible for doing this? How is this done? Is there a commercial mop that is used? Do they use a squeegee? Does the business have any signs warning of a dangerous wet floor? Are these used by the employees?

If you fell because of water standing on the restroom floor, were there any warnings provided to let you know that water was on the floor at that time?

7. Restroom Visibility and Lighting

Not all restrooms have the same lighting design. The bright lights of a fast food restroom may seem inappropriate in a five star gourmet restaurant, for instance. However, no matter the ambiance that the restroom design is trying to provide, all businesses need to make sure that there is enough light so patrons can see where they are and where possible hazards might exist.

In the restroom where you had your slip and fall accident, where were the lights placed? Where they all working? Where they on at the time of the accident? Was there enough light so you could see the floor? Was there enough light so you could distinguish any soap, lotion, water, or debris that might be on the floor? Remember, floors that are different colors may need different levels of light. A dark gray or charcoal floor may look beautiful, but it will need more light in order for patrons to be able to see a water puddle in their footpath.

8. Fixtures

Were all the restroom fixtures operating? Were any of them loose? Were any of them grimey or slippery from not being cleaned recently, or properly? Did one of these fixtures contribute to your fall?

9. Toilets and Toilet Seats

Each toilet needs to be checked periodically by business staff to make sure that the toilet is functioning properly. Is it leaking and leaving a puddle in the stall? Are the stall doors working properly or do you have to wrangle the door open (which might cause you to lose your balance)? Was the stall door able to shut properly or did you have to hold it shut? Did the lock work? Did you have trouble getting the lock to work?

What about the toilet seat, was it loose? Were the bolts that hold the seat secure operating as they should? Did you fall because of a loose toilet seat?

10. Restroom Maintenance

Does the business have a standardized procedure for making sure that the restroom is safe for patrons? Where is this procedure kept — in a manual, or notebook? Is there any training provided for employees on this issue? Do they get training materials on how to inspect a restroom for safety and cleanliness?

What about when something bad happens, like a water leak? Does the business have a plan in place for how to deal with this situation? Do they have buckets? Do they have a way to block the door to the dangerous restroom until the leak is repaired? How is this done?

What if a toilet overflows, what is the procedure for dealing with this problem? Does the business block the stall or the entire restroom? Why?

11. Restroom Training

Are there any specific employees who have the job of fixing problems in the restroom? Who are they? What are they supposed to do if there is a water leak, an overflowing toilet, loose floor tiles, etc.? Is there a manual they can reference? Can you see it? What about tools, are they provided? Do they have easy access to plungers, mops, buckets, disinfectant spray, etc.? Who makes sure these things are in working order and in stock?

12. Restroom Emergency

What if there is a huge water leak or other danger in the restroom, what is the procedure for the business? Do they already have a plumber they have chosen to use? Where do they keep his contact information? Do the employees have this number? Who has authority to call the plumber and hire him to come and fix the mess?

13. Work on the Restroom

Were there recent problems with the restroom where you fell? Were there repairs that had to be made because of leaks, etc.? Did repairs have to be done after an inspection by local authorities? Was new equipment installed recently? What was installed? Why? Did anyone check to make sure the new installation worked correctly? What are the names and addresses of the contractors who did this work?

Do You Have a Slip and Fall Claim Against a Business for a Restroom Accident?

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a slip and fall accident in a restroom here in South Florida, then you may want to investigate possible legal claims against the owner and operator of that public restroom with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer.

If the business failed to act reasonably to prevent that accident, it may be legally obligated to cover the damages that have resulted from that slip and fall accident, including pain and suffering, medical costs, lost wages, and more.

A good piece of advice if you or a loved one has been injured in a restroom slip and fall, is to at least speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person, whichever you prefer) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.
 
 
 
 
 

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In a dog bite case, does the term “owner” include a kennel owner or a veterinarian who undertakes care, custody, and control of the dog?

Posted By on July 13, 2016

According to Florida case law as of the date of this article, the term “ownerdoes not include a kennel owner or a veterinarian who undertakes care, custody, and control of the dog under an agreement with the actual owner.

See: Wipperfurth v. Huie, 654 So.2d 116 (1995)

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Can I recover medical expenses in a defamation lawsuit?

Posted By on July 12, 2016

In this video, Alan Sackrin answers a question that he has been asked many times before by clients and visitors to this site. If you have questions after watching the video, Alan is available to talk with you now and answer your questions free of charge:

Q: Can I recover medical expenses in a defamation lawsuit?

A: In limited circumstances, a person may recover medical expenses in a defamation lawsuit. Now, if the defamatory comments cause you such emotional distress where you feel you need to go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist or other mental health counselor, you can recover those expenses in a defamation law suit. Sometimes the emotional distress manifests itself with physical symptoms, and if you go see a medical doctor to address those physical symptoms which arose from the mental anguish from the defamatory statements you can claim those damages in a defamation lawsuit.

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Is an Owner of a Natural Body of Water Required to Fence It or Put Up Signs?

Posted By on July 11, 2016

According to Florida case law as of the date of this article, an owner of a body of water, is not required to fence it, post guards, or put up signs in areas that are not designed for swimming.  This is true even in the case of children, unless there is some unusual danger not generally existing in similar bodies of water or the water contains a dangerous condition constituting a trap.

See: Saga Bay Property Owners Ass’n v. Askew, 513 So. 2d 691 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 1987)

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Are there factors that a hotel should consider when determining if it is providing adequate security for its guests?

Posted By on July 7, 2016

According to Florida case law as of the date of this article, there are several factors that a hotel should evaluate in determining whether or not crime is foreseeable (meaning, a crime is likely to occur). Those factors include:

  • the crime rate in the community
  • peculiar security problems created by the hotel’s design
  • industry standards
  • presence of suspicious people
  • the extent of criminal activity in the area

After evaluating these factors, if the hotel determines that a crime is foreseeable, then it has a duty to take adequate security measures to protect its guests.

See:  Satchwell v. LaQuinta Motor Inns, Inc., 532 So. 2d 1348 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988)

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What does automobile liability insurance cover?

Posted By on July 6, 2016

In this video, Alan Sackrin answers a question that he has been asked many times before by clients and visitors to this site. If you have questions after watching the video, Alan is available to talk with you now and answer your questions free of charge:

Q: What does automobile liability insurance cover?

A: Automobile liability insurance can cover property damage and personal injuries. In Florida the amount of bodily injury insurance and the amount of property damage insurance is listed separately. If a person has, let’s say, $100,000/$300,000 of liability insurance and then $50,000 of property damage liability insurance. If you cause an accident that results in $30,000 of property damage to a car you’re liability insurance will pay the other person $30,000 for the property damage. If you are sued because somebody else is injured, you have bodily injury liability insurance to protect you and your insurance company will attempt to settle the case within your policy limits to protect your personal assets.

Related:

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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