Ft. Lauderdale Florida workers' comp lawyer

Recognizing Hazards for Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace

Slips, trips, and falls in the workplace can lead to injury or death in some cases. The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a checklist for employers to review their work space to see if there are any hazards that could be identified and eliminated. Taking the time to review the general areas where slips, trips, and falls can occur can save an employer countless hours of lost employee labor due to injury and workplace shutdowns. It can also save an employer considerable amounts of money.

General Work Environment

It is critical for employers to have a functioning housekeeping or janitorial program in place. This service should be well documented, including what activities are (and are not) expected, how frequently, and by whom. Work stations should be sanitary, orderly, and clean. All workspaces should be kept dry and should be adequately lit.

Waste, debris, and combustible scraps should be identified as such. They should be safely stored. Paint soaked waste and oily waste should be disposed of in metal cans. There should be a regular schedule of removal of these items. In addition, all waste removal and discard should be done in accordance with local, state, and federal laws.

Dust should be recognized as a combustible substance, and should be routinely removed from surfaces that are elevated. A careful review of the work space should identify areas that require regular dusting.

Aisles and Walkways

Aisles and walkway should be adequately lit, marked as appropriate, and kept clear of debris. Where aisles and walkways are covered with rugs, mats, or carpets, it is essential they are properly anchored. Mats, rugs, and carpets should be examined periodically to assure that there are no worn, frayed, or upturned edges, which could lead to tripping. If there is an area of an aisle or walkway that is habitually wet, the surface should be covered with high traction material, with an eye toward a safer surface. The aisles and walkways should be free from protruding objects, cable wiring, open drawers, cords, and other obstacles

Spills should be cleaned up immediately. This should be coordinated with the housekeeping staff. It’s important that aisles and walkways have adequate headroom. If there is a change in elevation, this must be clearly identifiable. If the walkways elevated, guardrails must be present.

Stairs, Stairways and Ramps

Stairs, stairways, and ramps must be adequately lit. In case of an emergency, generator or battery-powered emergency lighting must be available to light the stairway. In all stairwells with four or more steps, handrails must be present. Handrails are also required on ramps. The handrails should be between 30 and 34 inches from the leading edge of the stair treads. Handrails should also be located at least three inches from the wall that they’re mounted on.

Stairway should be at least 22 inches in width. In staircases where the stairs change directions, there must be landing platforms. Stairs should be of uniforms shape and size. They should also have slip resistant surfaces.


The handrail on the escalator should be easy to hold. Escalator safety procedures should be posted at every escalator, at both the top and the bottom. Escalators should have under-step lighting both at the bottom landing and the top landing. This is to provide a clear visual indicator of both the starting point and ending point of the escalator. The side clearance between the step and the sidewall should be no more than 3/16 of an inch. It’s important that sidewalls are made from low friction materials. This is so shoes will not stick to the sidewalls. Every escalator should have emergency shut off buttons both at the bottom and the top of the stairs. There should be sensory devices installed on all escalators. These sensors are intended to detect foreign objects and should result in immediate shut off of the electric escalator.

Elevated Surfaces

Signs should be posted, clearly illustrating the elevated surface load capacity. On surfaces that are more than 30 inches above the floor or the ground, guardrails must be installed.

There must be a permanent means of egress and access to elevated storage and elevated work surfaces. Headroom must be appropriate for elevated surfaces. Any materials that are stored or placed on elevated surfaces must be put there in a manner that prevents them from tipping, collapsing, rolling, falling, or spreading.

Ladders and Scaffolding

Portable stepladders should not be higher than 20 feet. They should be equipped with a metal spreader or a locking device. Single ladder heights should be 30 feet or less. Where extension ladders are used, the height of the ladder should be limited to 60 feet or less.

Scaffolds and ladders must be free from loose rungs, cracks, and sharp edges. They should also be free from grease and dirt. Scaffolds and ladders should have slip resistant grips. Footings for scaffoldings must be sound, rigid, and capable of carrying the advertised maximum load. The scaffolding itself must be capable of carrying four times the maximum load. Employees should be carefully instructed about appropriate safety standards and safety procedures, prior to using ladders and scaffolds.

Parking Lots and Sidewalks

Parking lots and sidewalks should be maintained and kept clear of falling debris and loose gravel, as well as timber. Curbs and ramps must be color-coded properly. Speed bumps and tire stops must be clearly marked.

It’s important that parking lots and sidewalks be kept clear of snow and ice. Parking lots and sidewalks should be adequately lit. They should be free from upheaval, and other surface defects. Spills and fluids in parking lots and sidewalks should be cleaned up immediately. Where there are slight changes in elevation, these changes must be clearly identified.

If You or a Loved One Have Been Injured at Work

If you or a loved one has been injured at work, contact the experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorneys at Madalon Law. There is no fee unless we collect on your behalf! Contact us today.

What Do You Need to Prove a Slip and Fall Claim?

When someone slips and falls in a store, a public space, or someone else’s property, it is not automatically cause for a slip and fall claim. Whether the injured party wants to pursue an insurance settlement, or is interested in a personal injury lawsuit, there are key questions that must be answered regarding fault and liability – and evidence that must be gathered as proof.

When an injury accident is the result of something or someone outside of your control, you often have legal recourse to obtain compensation for injuries and other expenses. The principal issue determining whether or not you have a case is that of liability. In short, in Slip and Fall (premises liability) cases, you must have proof that the property owner – or entity responsible for managing the property – is liable for your injuries due to negligence or intentional wrongdoing that caused (or failed to prevent) the accident and injuries.

To prove negligence, you will need many kinds of evidence – the more the better. Types of evidence that may help you prove your case are:

Photographs of the scene: If you have a smartphone at the time of your slip and fall accident, you should take pictures of the specific cause of your fall (such as the puddle of liquid on the floor), as well as your surroundings. Include evidence of poor lighting, missing railings or signage, crowded aisles, and maintenance tools (such as a mop or towels near a leak). Such photos will back up your claims that 1) there was a hazardous condition, 2) the property owner was or should have been aware of it, and 3) there was inadequate warning regarding the hazard.

Evidence of your injuries: Photographs may also help to document your injuries, but medical reports from EMTs, ER visits, or follow-up physician appointments are even more vital. Many slip and fall accident attorneys have access to medical professionals who can attest to the fact that the injuries recorded could or did result from the type of fall you experienced.

Witness statements, accident reports, and security video if possible: If anyone was around to witness your accident, you should get their contact information and a statement from them, explaining what they saw and what they noticed about the hazardous conditions in question. If possible, get statements regarding how long the hazard was there or the property owner’s prior knowledge of it from employees or other customers. You should also request copies of any official accident/incident reports drawn up by employees on the premises, as well as copies of security footage that may have captured the incident. You should try to request these pieces of evidence as soon as possible, before anything is misplaced, altered, forgotten or deleted.
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Understanding Premises Liability

If you or a loved one is injured on property (premises) owned by another party, that property owner may be liable for damages incurred in the accident or incident. Any instance in which someone suffers injury because a property owner has been negligent – whether by failing to maintain the property, providing insufficient security, or failing to caution visitors regarding known hazards – may be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

What Makes a Premises Liability Case?

A personal injury attorney can tell you if your case falls under the purview of premises liability law. To obtain compensation in such a case, you will have to prove that:

  • You were on the premises lawfully (invited by the owner, on public land, in a retail establishment during open hours) and/or with the knowledge of the property owner;
  • The owner of the property knew or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused the injury – and failed to adequately address the issue, including blocking access, repair or removal of hazards, and/or warning of dangers;
  • The hazardous condition and negligence of the property owner was the cause of your injury or a victim’s wrongful death.

According to personal injury law, a premises liability case may deal with injuries caused by a wide range of hazardous situations, including slip and fall accidents, assaults that result from insufficient security on the premises, falling objects, and even car accidents due to insufficient signage or lighting in parking lots.
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Crowded Malls Can Lead to Slip and Falls

Not too long ago, there were crowds of people waiting outside of stores and malls for Black Friday sales. News stations did not fail to report the rowdiness created by these crowds. From cutting in line to pushing; short tempers, violence, and injuries have unfortunately become part of what we call Black Friday.

The more crowded a place is, the more there is a chance that an accident will occur. Holiday shoppers encountered heavily crowded malls and stores. What happens when someone decides to buy a drink from the mall food court and spills some of that drink inside of a store that you happen to be walking in? If this slippery substance goes unnoticed and unmodified by store personnel, you’re chances of injury has increased. What do you do in the event that you encounter this slippery substance or any other tripping hazard and injure yourself because of a fall?

Popular crowded shopping areas in South Florida include:

• Sawgrass Mills Mall (City of Sunrise in Broward County)
• Aventura Mall (City of Aventura in Miami-Dade County)
• The Galleria Mall (City of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County)
• Coral Square Mall (City of Coral Springs in Broward County)
• Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (City of Hollywood in Broward County)
• South Beach (City of Miami Beach in Dade County)
• Dolphin Mall (City of Sweetwater in Miami-Dade)
• Town Center Mall (City of Boca Raton in Palm Beach County)
• City Place (Palm Beach County)

Premise Liability

Slip and fall injuries occurring inside of a business establishment fall under what is called premises liability. It is important to understand how the law functions with regard to premise liability. You should never think that these things cannot and will not happen to you. Unfortunately, slip and falls occur quite frequently.

Business Invitee

The status of a person that goes into a store or mall is called business invitee. For the most part, a business invitee enters a store because he will buy items (i.e., conduct business dealings). The premises owner owes certain duties to a business invitee including: keeping the premises in a safe condition, conducting inspections to look for hidden dangers, and warning invitees of known and existing dangers. Thus, if you walk into that store wherein another business invitee dropped some liquid, and consequently fall and obtain injuries, you may have a valid claim against the store owner because a duty to keep the premises safe for you and other invitees existed.

Protect Your Claim

If you are injured in a Florida shopping mall or store, you must take certain steps to protect your claim. The most important thing is always one’s health. In the absence of obvious injury, such as a broken arm, it is typical that one would like to avoid going to the emergency room or doctor. It is important to understand that even if you feel no pain immediately after the fall, this does not mean that in the later days your body will not feel pain. If treatment is delayed, it may seem as if the incident and injury was not serious. Thus, even when the adrenaline caused by the accident may hide the true impact received by your body, it is important to seek medical attention regardless.
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Slip and Fall Accidents in Walmart

Walmart stores are known for their “Big Box” status – similar to Sam’s Club, Costco, or Home Depot. 24 hours a day, Walmart shoppers can find almost anything, from fast food and groceries to auto parts, electronics, and even garden equipment. Not all of these big box stores are perfectly maintained, and the mix of all of those different retail goods and services under one giant roof can lead to hazardous conditions where customers or employees can have a dangerous slip and fall accident.

Retailers of any size are required by law to maintain their stores and parking lots in clean and safe conditions to protect their employees and the public from injury or death. Walmart stores are immense and open 24 hours a day. This makes maintenance a challenge and also costs money and employee time. When management is negligent by not remaining aware of maintenance issues – or purposely cuts corners to save money – slip and fall accidents are more likely to occur.

A slip and fall accident may be caused by liquid on the floor, slippery items like crushed fruit, greasy spots from fast food preparation, small items such as spilled dog kibble or cat litter, or even boxes or signage left on the floor. Hazardous conditions such as these should be spotted, designated as hazardous with a caution sign, and thoroughly cleaned up within a reasonable amount of time from the spill. If this does not happen, then the store management can be found to have been negligent, failing to properly maintain, inspect, and operate their store in a reasonably safe condition, and failing to warn approaching customers of hazards.

A customer or employee who suffers injury from such an accident may very well have a personal injury case on their hands, and may sue for damages. But Walmart is not only a big store, it is a giant corporation, with an extensive legal department and customer claims division – so anyone dealing with Walmart in a legal situation should immediately seek the services of an attorney.

A personal injury attorney knows what evidence, information, and types of witness testimony are needed in order to win a slip and fall case against a giant like Walmart. They can demand surveillance videos of the area in which the fall occurred, request copies of maintenance records from Walmart itself as well as any maintenance company who did repairs on faulty equipment. The attorney can also deal with the claims department, medical personnel and insurance agencies, so the only thing you have to worry about is healing from your injuries.
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How Insurance Companies Place a Value on a Personal Injury Claim

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To determine what a personal injury claim is worth, there are two things you must always keep in mind. First, the value of the case is only worth what the insurance company is willing to settle for. Second, the case value is only different from what the insurance company sees it as if and when it is placed in front of a jury, and placing your case in front of a jury has potential for various outcomes. These factors make it sometimes difficult to determine what your case’s value is because they may be very different from what your expectations are. Ultimately, and case by case, the totality of the circumstances that are present in the claim is what will help to determine your specific case’s value. To better understand the insurance companies and how they conclude their opinions on your claim, a breakdown of the process is provided below.

What Insurance Companies Pay Out

In order to assess your personal injury claim, you must initially be aware of the different ways that you may deserve compensation. When a person or business is found liable for another person’s injuries and that person or business is insured, their insurance company will pay the inured person’s:

  • Medical Expenses
  • Property Damage
  • Lost Wages from Work
  • Lost Educational Experiences
  • Permanent Disability
  • Damages for Emotional and Mental Distress

Formulas Used By Insurance Companies on Assessing Damages

There are certain damages in personal injury claim that can easily be calculated. The money that it costs for medical treatment, wage losses and other figures that are relatively easy to ascertain are generally not a part of any confusion. The complex issues that sometimes create problems when attempting to increase the dollar amount in a person’s case is determining the value of pain and suffering, opportunities lost, and missed experiences. It is at this point that an insurance adjuster’s formula comes into play.

At the point that a claim reaches negotiations, the total amount of medical costs related to a personal injury claim are calculated by the adjuster for the insurance company. The medical costs involved, or ‘specials’ as referred to by adjusters, is what is used to gauge the injury as a whole. Pain and suffering, and other nonmonetary losses referred to as ‘general damages’, are figured out by analyzing the injury itself. Depending on the severity of the injury, an adjuster with multiply the amount of special damages, anywhere from one (1) to (5) percent, and as high as ten (10) percent in some extreme injury cases. Any lost income as a result of the injury is then added on to the total amount. Keeping this general formula in mind, it must be emphasized that everything is on a case by case basis, and nothing is set in stone. This is also just a starting point where adjusters generally begin negotiations to settle personal injury claims.
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Slip & Fall Attorney

Slip, Trip and Fall – Do You Have a Case?


Slip & Fall Attorney

Slip & Fall Attorney

The general perception that slip & fall accidents are really due to the negligence of the “victim” are wrong. When people hear “Slip & Fall”, they tend to picture someone who may have fallen due to their own carelessness and is now trying to seek a quick payday. The property and/or business owners (the party that would be held responsible) are counting on this misguided public perception to discourage someone from looking deeper at why they just fell and injured themselves. Slip, trip and falls are due to more than just liquid spills and banana peels. Even though a slippery surface is dangerous and can cause serious injury, it is only negligence on the property owner’s part if there was reasonable time to pick up the spill and nothing was done about it. Another very common, but much more subtle cause of a slip and fall is design flaws on the property. There are building codes in place to provide a safe walking area for people on a property. Even though property owners are aware of this, many of them choose not to make the required renovations or changes in order to meet safety standards. This laziness on their part not only puts people at risk, but is also a building code violation and shows negligence on their part. Some of the more common building violations include Handrails that don’t meet requirements, Interior and exterior surfaces that are not leveled (creating a tripping hazard), an obstruction within the entrance-way, an uneven ramp or stairways with no landing (the flat surface at the top of the stairs that someone stands on). There is a reason why you tripped and fell. When climbing up or down stairs, it seems like we can mentally go into autopilot. We know the steps are there and once we’ve determined the movement needed for the next steps, we just go. This is one of the reasons there are very strict construction and design guidelines that must be met when building stairs. There has to be a consistency with the depth of the steps and each rise of the next step. This “flow” in design is called Dimensional Uniformity. An inconsistency in the flow of the design is not just a code violation, but a tripping hazard for anyone that may not notice one step is a little shorter or higher than the others. Keep in mind that these guidelines are enforced because those one or two inches do make a difference and have been proven to be enough to make someone lose their balance. Why you need legal representation. There are generally two defenses that property owners will take in a slip and fall claim. The first is to show they were not negligent. If the fall was due to a slippery surface then they will claim that it happened moments ago and they did not have time to clean it up. The second will be to show that the person who was injured was actually at fault due to their own carelessness. Read more