How Do You Actually Prove Negligence In A Slip And Fall Case In Florida?
Negligence is really just a technical term for not doing something that a reasonable person would do. The way we tend to prove negligence in a slip-and-fall case is first to look at what I like to call the “rules of the road.” These are the safety rules that are involved in slip-and-fall cases. Usually, they revolve around inspection or actively looking for dangerous conditions. If someone is injured because of a dangerous condition, whether it is a slip and fall or a different scenario, we then examine whether or not the “rules of the road” were followed in order to determine if there was negligence.
Some examples of these “rules of the road” include things like:
- What kinds of safety rules and procedures the property manager has in place
- Whether or not the rules and procedures are followed, and if not, who is responsible for same
- Whether or not regular inspections occur, and what those inspections have found
For example, standard protocol for most types of properties open to the public include inspections with a certain amount of floor clerks every few aisles actively looking for spills. It is also becoming increasingly common to use special kinds of floor treatments that are effectively non-slip, but which must be applied to the floor once every few days.
Generally, whichever standards and rules that most responsible property owners would follow can be used as metrics in determining whether or not a particular store owner was negligent.
We’ll also look at things like photographs and video surveillance. These sorts of recorded footage are very important in proving negligence in slip-and-fall cases. They give us a look back into the past of what the property owner did, didn’t do, and should have done to prevent and avoid these type of falls.
How Do I Pay My Medical Bills For My Slip-And-Fall Injury Until My Settlement Comes In?
There are specific standards for the pre-settlement payment of medical bills. Notably, these standards are slightly different in slip-and-fall cases than in car accident cases.
In a car crash, if you have insurance, you usually have something called a Personal Injury Protection Benefit, or No-Fault Benefit. This gives you at least $10,000 of coverage for medical bills related to your injuries. In a slip-and-fall case, this benefit usually doesn’t apply.
In the absence of a Personal Injury Protection Benefit/No-Fault Benefit, there are a few ways that people find to pay for their medical bills.
If you have health insurance, you should be able to pay for at least the majority of your injury-related medical bills. There is also a tool called a Letter of Protection. This basically means that the doctor or doctors providing your medical care agrees to perform their services and to defer payment until the end of your personal injury settlement.
Letters of Protection can be slightly tricky in the context of slip-and-fall cases, especially if your doctor is testifying to the extent of your injuries. When this happens, the defense will often argue that a Letter of Protection is just a credit agreement where the doctor is extending credit to you. They can then say that the doctor is compromised or biased because they’re only going to get paid if you win the case. According to this argument, the doctor would therefore say anything they can to win the case.
To be fair, there is something to that argument in an abstract, theoretical sense. However, in reality, we try to put it into the context: namely, that the patient did not have health insurance and there was no other way to get medical treatment. We often ask, “What would be the alternative? Just to not get medical treatment?” This is usually a sufficient answer, but as I said, it can get tricky. One thing we do to preemptively fight that argument and prevent any unfair bias is to be careful to tell doctors the full extent of the case and what we’re dealing with, almost so they vet it in advance. This way, it doesn’t look like the doctor is simply saying, “Well, here’s a credit agreement. I don’t know anything about this case but I’ll treat them and I’ll get paid at the end.” Instead, it’s more along the lines of the doctor looking at the case and at all of the information, the police report, the accident report, all the different variables and factors, and deciding that this is a case where that will be successful in getting a settlement because the person is genuinely injured. Oftentimes, doctors will take that cases on the basis of that initial vetting, and will agree to get paid at the end of the case.
Another option that people frequently utilize is Med Pay coverage. Med Pay is an add-on to insurance coverage that gives you additional money to pay for medical expenses before a settlement is reached.
Yet another scenario that sometimes winds up happening is that doctors will provide services and just not collect on or pursue standing bills. They know the situation and they know the story of the patient. Often it is a matter of good-will and empathy. However, it is also good business sense. Doctors know that if they start putting patients into collections, they may not have very many injury clients in the future.
In summation, there it is a delicate balance that you need to strike in these circumstances. You don’t want to make it look like the doctor is biased or compromised, but you also want to make sure that your client gets the best medical treatment possible. You also want to make sure the patient can pay their medical bills and won’t wind up in severe debt, and that the doctor knows what they’re getting into and what the potential risks are.
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.