Can Preexisting Conditions Affect My Slip-And-Fall Personal Injury Case In Florida?
The fact is, anything can affect a personal injury case. This includes preexisting conditions. However, I would argue that a preexisting condition has the potential to affect your personal injury case in a good way.
Preexisting conditions in this context can simply mean that a person is more susceptible for injury. A fender-bender may harm someone with a preexisting back injury more than someone with a healthy back. Importantly, the law says that you take the plaintiff as you find them. This is sometimes referred to as the Eggshell Plaintiff rule. It essentially means that the defendant isn’t less liable just because the person they injured had some health problems in the past. You take the plaintiff as-is.
Certainly, defense attorneys in these cases often use the mention of preexisting conditions as a technique or a tool to try to suggest that you’re not hurt. The argument that is frequently used is that if you were injured before, then somehow, you’re damaged goods. According to this argument, they feel that their clients are less liable and entitled to some sort of discount in terms of the settlement.
Fortunately, the law does not bear that argument out. When a person has a pre-existing condition, they are more vulnerable, and likely have less to lose than an entirely healthy person. This means that additional injuries are arguably more devastating to them than they would be to an otherwise healthy person. The last thing a person with limited reserves needs is to have more taken from them. In that sense, we can flip the common erroneous defense argument, and make a client’s preexisting condition a positive for them.
I Was Injured At A Family Member Or Friend’s Home, But I Don’t Want To Sue Them. What Should I Do To Get My Costs Covered?
In most cases, the only way to have your costs covered would be to bring a case against the homeowner’s insurance of your friend or family member. If you have reservations about suing them, it’s important to remember that you’re not suing the person individually, at least not in most personal injury contexts. You are actually making a claim against their homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance is there to protect the homeowner from paying out of pocket for negligence that they’re responsible for. If a family member has an unsafe physical environment in their home—whether it was created by their own actions directly, or by them violating a commonly accepted safety rules, or by them otherwise needlessly endangering their guests—and someone gets injured, then they are responsible for the harm caused by that injury.
If you are met with resistance and stigma from the friend or family member, who may be incredulous that you’re suing them, you should try to remind them that you are really not suing them, but rather the insurance company. The insurance company has a better chance of being able to pay the judgment, usually because they have deeper pockets.
There is one alternative, which is applicable in cases where you just want your medical expenses covered. If you have health insurance, you could always make a claim against your own insurance. However, there are many cases in which people have no insurance or insufficient insurance, or their insurance decides that one or another major treatment isn’t going to be covered. In those cases, in order to get your medical costs covered, you will have to sue against your friend or family member’s homeowner’s insurance.
What If My Accident Happened On A Rental Property? Do I Still Have A Chance To Recover?
If you were hurt on a rental property, there are some cases in which you will be able to recover damages. There is one key factor in deciding whether or not this is possible, which is if the property owner had notice of a defect or dangerous condition that caused the accident.
I had a case once where my client was living in a rental property. There was a leaky air conditioner in the property that was slowly dripping water from the ceiling onto the floor. My client had reported the problem in writing to their landlords several times, including the fact that it was creating a hazardous condition. The landlords failed to fix it. Eventually, the air conditioner started dripping water in a new place on the floor, and my client was walking past and didn’t expect the slippery area. Sure enough, my client proceeded to slip, fall, and get injured.
In that particular case, the landlord was responsible for my client’s injuries. Giving notice is the real key element in these cases. You need to provide notice to the property owner. This is especially true if the hazardous condition occurs on the inside of the rental property, where the property owner might not notice it from the outside.
Landlords are automatically held responsible for conditions in the common areas of a rental property, such as lobbies, pools, mailrooms, or gyms. Therefore, if someone gets hurt in those areas because of dangerous conditions, the property owner can be held responsible. For instance, if someone leaves a banana peel in the lobby of your rental building and you slip on it and fall, you still can sue the building.
As another example, let’s say your rental building has a rule against dogs, but another tenant in the building has a dog anyway. If the landlord ignores that tenant’s violation of the policy and doesn’t do anything about it, and then that tenant’s dog bites someone, then the landlord can be held responsible. When they allowed the dog to remain in the building despite rules against dogs, that constituted negligence.
Those are just a few examples. Generally, though, if an accident happened on a rental property, you have a fairly good chance of being covered. However, your best bet is to contact an attorney and to ask about your individual case, since so many of these rules and laws are applied on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on Slip And Fall Cases In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 546-7608 today.
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