I was at a fine dining establishment and stepped outside to get a better look at the coastal view. The sidewalk ended just past the building, so I stood at the end of the walk enjoying the view for a few minutes, then stepped back to turn and went off the curb, falling hard into the parking lot.
The valets came running, picked me up and helped me back to the restaurant. I was embarrassed, my arm was scuffed and bleeding, my leg hurt but I was walking, so a broken hip never entered my mind. The manager bandaged my arm but didn’t ask if I wanted to file a report and I was too shaken up to think of it at that moment.
Several days later the pain had increased in my leg and I went to get x-rays. I’m very fit and had never broken a bone, so when they said my hip was broken it was devastating.
I called the restaurant and filed an accident report, then went to the hospital where they found I had fallen in just a way to jam the bones after the break, thus allowing me to walk. Unfortunately, this also meant I had to have a total hip replacement.
I have not heard from the restaurant, so I sent a preliminary letter, per this website, asking for the insurance to contact me.
My question is, do I have any case to ask for compensation? What can I do?
My hip was healthy and now will never be the same. I have incurred thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses that I can’t afford. Any information on my options would be greatly appreciated.
Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.
From the facts you present, there is no indication the restaurant exhibited any negligence.
Under Florida law (Section 768.0755), for a business to be liable for a slip and fall injury to a patron or other third party, the injured party must be able to prove the business owner had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition on the property, and did not take action to remedy it.
Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:
(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
Your first challenge will be to show evidence the property was under the control of the restaurant owner. It is possible the sidewalk was under the control of the city in which the restaurant is located. To find out who is responsible for the sidewalk, go to your local city planning and zoning department.
Presuming the sidewalk was under the control of the restaurant owner, your next challenge will be to prove there was a foreign substance on the sidewalk which caused you to slip and fall, or there was some other fault in the sidewalk which caused you to slip and fall.
With that knowledge, your next step will be to comply with the requirements set out above in Section 768.0755.
From the facts you present, that will be a substantial challenge.
A claim against the restaurant or the city will require an experienced personal injury attorney. Your injuries are just too serious to pursue a claim on your own. An experienced attorney can cut through the red tape and negotiate a settlement greater than you could on your own. If necessary, an attorney can file a lawsuit to secure a substantial court award.
Learn more here: Injuries in Parking Lots or Garages
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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