Thursday, January 17, 2019

Living with a Serious Injury

Serious injuries create many costly long-term expenses for victims and their families. When surgeries, medical costs, health care, assisted living expenses and other costs are incurred as the result of another person’s negligence, injury victims have the right to be compensated for all these expenses. They even have the right to be compensated for projected future expenses which have not yet been incurred. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group can help St. Petersburg injury victims calculate all future projected expenses which require compensation as a result of a serious injury.

Types of Long-Terms Costs Incurred as a Result of Serious Injuries

Serious injuries create a wide array of medical expenses. Emergency medical care, surgeries, inpatient hospital care, and follow up appointments with primary care doctors and specialists are all common costs which are incurred in the immediate aftermath of a serious injury. But medical expenses can accrue for years after a serious injury occurs. Many victims require ongoing medical testing, observation, diagnosis, and treatment long after the statute of limitations has run on their personal injury claim. In this case, future medical expenses must be projected by the plaintiff. These expenses are itemized along with those which have already been incurred and demanded as part of a personal injury settlement or lawsuit.

Rehabilitation can also continue long after the statute of limitations has run on a personal injury claim. Rehabilitative services can include occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and other services designed to restore the victim’s cognitive functioning and mobility. Sometimes these services must be rendered within the care of an assisted living facility. Other patients are able to live at home with skilled nursing care or other in-home assistance. These, too, are expenses which can be projected for inclusion in a personal injury lawsuit.

Other Types of Financial Losses Caused by Serious Injuries

Serious injuries cost a victim far more than medical bills. The lengthy recovery period causes many victims to miss significant time from work, or even lose their job altogether. These lost wages are subject to compensation by the person whose negligence caused the injury. Some victims will never be able to reach their former earning capacity or even return to work at all. These losses cause a permanent decrease in the victim’s earning potential. This, too, is a financial loss which can be projected and compensated in a personal injury settlement.

Other losses are less tangible, and more difficult to quantify with a dollar amount. Pain and suffering can be significant with serious injuries. Often, it lasts for years after the injury occurs. It can also cause a victim to miss out on important aspects of daily life. Hobbies, picking up children, enjoying time with family, and other such activities can be devastating to lose as the result of a serious injury. While it is difficult to determine the amount of these losses, they too are very real losses which are subject to compensation. In a complicated personal injury case arising from a serious injury, it is often left to a jury to assign a value for to these intangible losses.

The Costs of Road Accidents

Serious injuries also result in large costs on a national level. PBS reports that traffic accidents in the United States cost an estimated $871 billion every year. These costs were incurred by 32,999 deaths, 3.9 million injuries, and 24 million vehicles damages in 2010. Such costs can be prevented with investments in roadway infrastructure improvements, safety initiatives by local traffic agencies, and other important nationwide efforts. Many state and local agencies run public awareness campaigns addressing a specific issue. Drivers may be reminded to use a seatbelt, not to text and drive, to pull over for emergency vehicles, or similar safe driving behaviors. These campaigns require an investment of funds but carry the potential to reduce accidents and save lives.

On an individual level, it is important for injury victims to hold negligent drivers accountable for their dangerous conduct in order to prevent similar accidents in the future. Criminal laws provide this accountability in certain egregious cases of negligence (such as reckless driving, or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs). Less egregious negligence may not carry criminal penalties, but it is still highly dangerous and costly to society. It is important that injury victims assert their right to compensation through the civil court system - especially when the criminal court system cannot provide the negligent driver with consequences for his or her dangerous actions.

The Costs of Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents also result in staggering costs to society. According to EHS Today, American companies pay $62 billion per year as a result of time lost due to workplace injuries. This is greater than the GDP of 91 countries. The leading cause of workplace injuries, overexertion, was responsible for nearly 25 percent of this total.

In addition to time lost from work, companies can also pay increased workers’ compensation insurance premiums, safety violation fines, training costs, and other expenses as a result of workplace accidents. Companies can also incur indirect expenses after an accident. Temporary employees, quality disruptions, decreased morale, and an impaired business reputation can also hurt an employer’s bottom line. These, too, are expenses which can be mitigated with reasonable investments in workplace safety training.

Aggressive Representation for Serious Injury Claims

Whether you have experienced a brain injury, spinal cord injury, paralysis, burns, or other life-changing conditions, you may have the right to be compensated for the financial losses you will sustain throughout your life as a result of this injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can  aggressively defend your right to be compensated for all types of financial losses. The Dolman Law Group has years of experience in protecting the rights of injury victims in and around the St. Petersburg area. Call (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Injury victims across southern Florida trust our professional staff, comprehensive legal expertise, and superior customer service.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Preventing Bullying and Increasing Safety at Your Child’s School

Bullying is a common cause of both physical and emotional injuries in children. Around 28 percent of children in grades six to 12 admit to having been bullied, and 9 percent were victims of cyberbullying—an increasingly common problem in many schools. More than 160,000 kids across the United States choose not to attend school each day due to fears for their own safety, and more than 70 percent of kids have actively seen bullying taking place in their schools. The reality is that bullying is a serious and present problem for many students across the country, and knowing how to identify and prevent it can help students and teachers alike take more effective actions to keep the young people in their care safe.

Identifying Bullying

Many parents fail to realize that there are different types of bullying. While obviously none are acceptable, and we hope that our child will never be a victim, there are times when it is more critical to take legal action against the offenders. Florida state law, for example, prohibits bullying in any case, but particularly as a result of sex, religion, or race. Consider these key types of bullying and how they can impact your child.

Body shaming: More than 94 percent of teenage girls have been body shamed at some point in their lives. This isn’t just a comment on girls who are perceived to be fat. In fact, many skinny girls experience bullying because of their size, as well. Most of the time, simple instances of body shaming aren’t worth pursuing legal action; however, consistent and ongoing body shaming constitutes bullying, and needs to be stopped immediately.

Social media bullying: Social media bullying has become increasingly common in many circles, especially for teenagers. With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever to send bullying messages back and forth between two or more parties. Note that when social media bullying occurs, having users banned for violation of terms of service is often a great first step in protecting your child.

Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment isn’t just for adults in the workplace. Children and teens can be sexually harassed, too. Note that any time this type of harassment turns physical, it’s important to report it to the authorities as soon as possible.

Physical bullying: This is the type of bullying most people think of when they consider bullying. When bullying crosses the line to the physical, it’s important to take action fast! Most teachers and schools will also take steps to help separate children when physical bullying becomes a serious issue.

The line between bantering comments or rude behavior and outright verbal bullying is often blurred, especially when children and teens are involved. If bullying appears to be ongoing, or your child is starting to struggle with the repercussions, it’s important to take action quickly to ensure their future stability.

Preventing Bullying as a Teacher

As a teacher, you have the potential to help create a safe, welcoming atmosphere in your classroom and school as a whole. You’re the one who lets students know that they are safe in your classroom—and you’re the one who enforces the rules set by the administration. By following these key strategies, you can decrease the odds of bullying in your classroom.

Remain observant. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you have any choice, don’t leave your classroom unattended, since bullying is more likely to occur when bullies believe that teachers aren’t able to see. When you’re an attentive presence in your classroom, bullies know that they won’t be able to slip by you.

Create an environment where bullying is not allowed. Let students know that bullying won’t be tolerated. Ideally, aspire to maintain a zero-tolerance policy in your classroom when it comes to bullying. Remember, some of the most effective bullies hide behind wide, innocent eyes and a smiling face as they try to convince you that they weren’t really bullying another student. Let students know that if they’re caught bullying another student, you’ll act swiftly.

Listen to your students. Sometimes, being observant isn’t enough to prevent bullying—but it can tell you when a child is being bullied, even if you don’t know who’s doing the bullying. Listen to your students. Watch for any out of character behavior, or a student who seems reluctant to be left alone with others. If a student lets you know that they’re being bullied, listen attentively and take it seriously. Even if you can’t take action against a student based solely on what you’ve been told, you can start watching, and take steps to protect the student in question.

Communicate with parents and students. Parents can’t do anything about children who bully or who are being bullied if they don’t know that it’s going on. When there’s bullying taking place in your classroom, open communication with your parents immediately. Keep talking about bullying with your students. It’s better to address negative behaviors head-on than it is to allow rumors to build as students speculate about what’s going on. You should also carefully consider how much information you need to send home in order to keep parents informed about what’s taking place in the classroom.

Offer a safe haven. Older students in particular are more often bullied outside the classroom than inside. Make sure that your students know that your classroom is a safe haven: a place where bullying will not be tolerated and where they will be safe. If you’re worried that a child is being bullied, open up a study hall in your classroom during relevant danger periods. Encourage students to speak to you if they have concerns about bullying outside the classroom: even if you can’t take action against the offender, you may be able to refer the matter to someone who can.

Decreasing Bullying as a Parent

As a parent, you’ve done your best to keep your child safe since they were tiny. Unfortunately, as they get older, they go off to school without you, leaving you unable to observe what’s going on around them on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t protect your child! There are several steps you can take to reduce the odds that your child will be a victim of bullying.

Monitor your child’s social media accounts. Today’s kids are taking bullying out of the classroom and splashing it across the internet. Make sure you have the password to your child’s social media accounts and look at them regularly. If you notice that there’s inappropriate interaction taking place, make sure you take it to the school, who can advise you about what steps to take next.

Watch for unusual behavior in your child. It’s not unusual for teenagers to be moody and withdrawn, but it is unusual for them to suddenly pull back from individuals and activities that they once enjoyed, to suddenly stop eating, or to suddenly seem ill when the time comes to go to school. You know your child best. If you suspect that something isn’t right, take the time to talk to them, and to talk with their teachers and school administrators if necessary.

Teach your children how to stand up for others who are being bullied.
Let your child know, for example, that there’s safety in numbers—and remind them that they should never simply stand by when someone else is being bullied. Encourage your child to go to an adult for help any time there’s physical bullying taking place. You should also help teach your child how to respond to being bullied: Get help, tell an adult, and refrain from engaging with the bully when possible.

Create a household where bullying is not tolerated. No parent wants to see their child become the bully. You can’t always control your child’s behavior, but you can help prevent them from bullying others. Teach them kindness and compassion. Build up your child’s self-esteem: children who feel badly about themselves are more likely to bully others. If you do notice that your child is starting to engage in bullying behaviors, make sure that there are consequences. You should also endeavor to understand the root of the behavior so you can ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Being bullied can have a heavy impact on your child—one that goes far beyond the initial bullying. Whether your child has suffered serious consequences due to the bullying of others, they’ve been injured by a bully, or you believe that the school isn’t taking the right steps to keep your child and other children safe, you may need legal representation to ensure that your rights are upheld. If your child has been bullied at school, contact us today at (727) 222-6922 to arrange a free consultation with one of our compassionate, capable associates.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

Thursday, January 3, 2019

What Are the Different Kinds of Nursing Home Abuse Claims?

Florida clearly defines the rights of elders who live in a nursing home. Further, Florida law allows for the civil enforcement of those rights, one of which is the right to be free from abuse. Abuse is an umbrella term that refers to a range of activities that harm a nursing home resident which include neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse—all of which are punishable crimes under Florida law. In the event that you or the elder you love file a complaint with Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) alleging elder abuse, the department will investigate the claim and may share information with law enforcement. The Pinellas County State’s Attorney will decide whether or not to pursue criminal charges.

Regardless of whether a criminal case goes forward, your loved one might be eligible to recover damages caused by injuries sustained from nursing home abuse. Contact Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg at (727) 222-6922 for a free and confidential case evaluation to explore the best path forward for you and the elder that you love. If you choose to take civil action, the following discussion of the different kinds of nursing home abuse claims may be useful to you as you proceed.

Neglect in Florida Nursing Homes

Researchers and practitioners are in agreement that nursing home abuse remains drastically underreported. They also agree that neglect is the most common type of nursing home abuse. Florida defines neglect of an elderly person as one of two situations:

  • A caregiver, most often Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), fails or chooses not to provide a person with the care, supervision, and services that person needs to maintain physical and mental health.
  • A caregiver fails to protect a nursing home resident from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another party.

Neglecting a nursing home resident might include acts such as failure to provide adequate food, water, and nutrition; failure to provide supervision; and failure to provide medication or access to medical services. Neglecting a nursing home resident can occur in a single incident, but often times it includes repeated conduct.

Warning Signs of Neglect

You can watch for the following warning signs of neglect in the elder that you love:

  • Poor hygiene including smelling of urine and/or feces which might suggest that your elder isn’t getting help bathing, washing up, or taking care of other daily activities such as brushing teeth, brushing hair, going to the bathroom, etc.
  • Bedsores which suggest that your loved one has been left in one position too long.
  • Sunken cheeks and/or sunken eyes which suggest malnutrition and dehydration.
  • Reports of repeated falls suggesting that your loved one has been left unsupervised for long periods of time.

Under Florida law, to prove neglect a lawyer for the elder must show:

  • Duty of care - The abuser owed a duty of care to the resident. If the abuser was a nursing home employee or another resident, it’s likely that this threshold will be met. In fact, nursing homes and their employees have a legal obligation to provide a standard of care to residents. Other residents have the same duty of care as a person on the street—the duty not to harm others around you.
  • Breach of duty - The nursing home and alleged abuser has breached their duty through their abuse.
  • Cause - The breach of duty caused loss, injury, or damage to the resident.
  • Harm - The resident was harmed by the breach of duty, which means that had loss, injury, or damage.

Physical Abuse in Florida Nursing Homes

Florida law addresses physical abuse and aggravated physical abuse of elders. The legal definition of elder abuse includes the following items:

  • The intentional infliction of physical harm.
  • An intentional act that a reasonable person would expect to result in physical harm.
  • The active encouragement of another party to commit an intentional act of harm or an act that might reasonably cause harm.

Discerning between abuse and aggravated abuse of an elder isn’t directly relevant in a civil court case; however, aggravated assault is more severe and the court often views these activities as intentional harm or gross negligence. It is in these extreme cases that a Florida court might award punitive damages to your loved one. Under Florida Law aggravated abuse includes:

  • Committing aggravated battery on an elder.
  • Willfully torturing, punishing or caging an elder.
  • Knowingly or willfully abusing an elderly person resulting in severe bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

Some examples of physical abuse in nursing homes include pushing, slapping, kicking, shoving or burning a resident. Force-feeding a resident or denying them food and drink also constitutes physical abuse, as does improperly restraining a resident or using excessive restraints.

Warning Signs of Physical Abuse

Cuts, bruises, welts, burns, or any unexplained mark on your elder’s body suggest physical abuse, but you might not always see the marks. Here are some other less obvious signs that might indicate physical abuse:

  • Fear, anxiety, depression
  • Withdrawal from other residents, non-abusive caretakers, and family members
  • Implausible explanations about injuries and falls
  • Hesitation to speak openly with you, especially in front of nursing home employees
  • Confusion and disorientation

Emotional Abuse in Florida Nursing Homes

Florida law defines and treats emotional abuse of an elder in the same fashion that it treats physical abuse. Examples of emotional abuse of an elder include:

  • Screaming, yelling, swearing at a resident
  • Threatening physical harm to their resident or people close to the resident
  • Belittling the resident or talking down to him or her like a child
  • Embarrassment and humiliation
  • Blaming and scapegoating the resident
  • Isolating the resident from others

Emotional abuse is common but also seldom reported. Even when reported, emotional abuse can be difficult to prove, because it does not leave any obvious physical trauma. However, a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer knows how to gather the necessary expert medical testimony to speak to symptoms of psychological abuse. Generally speaking, the warning signs of emotional abuse may be similar to the behavioral responses to physical abuse. So, if you notice one of the aforementioned behaviors, you need to coax your loved one to open up to you.

Sexual Abuse in Florida Nursing Homes

Some dismiss the idea that sexual abuse of elders as a real concern; this is not only wrong, but it also keeps nursing home residents who have been sexually abused from speaking out. Perhaps because of its large senior citizen population, Florida explicitly addresses the sexual abuse of elders from a criminal perspective in a statutes concerning “lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person...when the person knows or reasonably should know that the elderly person either lacks the capacity to consent or fails to consent.” The law includes the following sexual acts against an elder as felony crimes:

  • Forcing or encouraging sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other sexual act
  • Molestation of the breasts, genitals, genital area, buttocks, or the clothing covering these areas
  • Masturbation, flashing of genitals, or any other sexual act in the presence of an elderly person.

Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse

Depending on the specific circumstances, warning signs that suggest sexual abuse of an elder can vary greatly. Here are some of the most common things that might indicate sexual abuse:

  • Pelvic injury
  • Difficulty with walking and sitting
  • Testing positive or showing symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease
  • Ripped, bloody, or stained undergarments
  • Genital bruising
  • Bruising on the inner thighs
  • Bleeding from the genital area or anus
  • Rash, pain, or irritation of the anus or genitals
  • Panic attacks
  • Displaying signs and symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Becomes easily agitated
  • Withdrawal from other residents, friends, family members, and caretakers
  • Attempts at suicide

Financial Abuse in Florida Nursing Homes

A 2018 White Paper published by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimates that $2.9 billion dollars per year are lost due to the financial exploitation of elders. Florida law includes the following actions as exploiting an elderly person:

  • Knowingly obtaining or using, or trying to obtain or use an elderly persons funds, assets or property with the intent of temporary or permanent deprivation by someone who is trusted by the person or has a business relationship with the elder.
  • Participating in the above acts when you know or reasonably should know that the elderly person lacks the ability to consent
  • Breach of fiduciary duty, which doesn’t often apply to nursing home cases
  • Misappropriation, misuse, or making unauthorized transfers of money belonging to an elderly person
  • Intentional or negligent failure of a caregiver or trusted person to use an elder’s income and assets to support them

Elders who have dementia or Alzheimer’s are at the most risk for financial abuse in a nursing home because their diminished capacity makes them easy targets for criminals; they cannot make financial decisions and they don’t typically know the value of their assets.

Warning Signs of Financial Abuse

When an elder in a nursing home is a victim of financial exploitation or abuse, family members usually don’t notice the problem until long after a lot of damage has been done including large amounts of money and valuables that have gone missing. If an elder that you love is in a nursing home, you can financially protect them by watching for some of the following warning signs of financial abuse:

  • Stolen valuables, jewelry, checks, or cash from the resident’s room
  • Unexplained charges on credit and debit cards, especially for bedridden residents who cannot make these transactions
  • Changes in a victim’s credit rating
  • Unauthorized changes in address for all types of accounts including credit cards, checking, savings, retirement, and others
  • Unusual credit card activity including charges in other states, large dollar amount charges, cash withdrawals
  • Severe cases might include real estate fraud and identity theft
  • Residents that knowingly give money to a caregiver might feel anxious or depressed and show behavioral changes

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in St. Petersburg

If you suspect that an elder that you love has been or is being abused, take steps to put a stop to the abuse immediately, even if that means calling law enforcement, hospitalizing your loved one, or moving your loved one out of the facility.

Once you have ensured the physical safety of your loved one, you can take the following steps to report the neglect, physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse of your loved one:

  • Notify the nursing home administrator immediately in writing of the alleged wrongdoing and keep detail records of correspondence.
  • File a complaint with Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) online or by calling their elder abuse hotline at (800)962-2873.
  • Keep all documentation including receipts and bills that are related to the injury or abuse. This might include medical expenses, costs to transfer to another facility, bank statements for financial abuse, and more. If physical abuse or neglect occurred, try to take photos of physical injuries.
  • Consult a seasoned nursing home abuse attorney who will navigate the complex legal environment and help you hold the abuser(s) accountable.

Contact a St. Petersburg Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for the Elder That You Love

Your loved one deserves and is legally entitled to be treated with dignity and respect when living in a nursing home. When the caregivers you entrust with your elderly loved one’s wellbeing abuse their power and intentionally or negligently cause harm, they may have criminal and civil liability and should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

If you suspect neglect or abuse against your elderly family member by a caregiver, take action that will keep him or her safe and protect future victims by seeking the advice and counsel of an experienced elder abuse attorney immediately. Contact our compassionate and experienced nursing home attorneys at Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg at (727) 222-6922 for a free consultation to discuss how we may be able to help you protect your loved one’s rights and to recover compensation on your loved one’s behalf.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712
(727) 222-6922

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Slip and Fall Accidents May Result in Concussions

When you think of how someone gets a concussion, you may think of athletes playing contact sports or individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. Yet, many other types of accidents, or even intentional harm, can result in a concussion. One common cause of concussions is slip and fall accidents. According to the Florida Department of Health, Pinellas County experienced almost 32,000 emergency department visits for unintentional falls in 2017, with almost 4,500 resulting in hospitalization. While county-level data does not provide information about brain injuries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost half of all brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and fatalities result from unintentional falls.

This guide will discuss the medical definition of concussions, how and why slip and fall accidents may lead to concussions, how to recognize and treat concussions, what steps you can take if you have suffered a concussion after a slip and fall accident, and some of the most common questions about slip and fall accidents that cause concussions.

What Causes Concussions?

A concussion is the mildest type of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), caused by a direct or indirect head trauma. Concussions cause a short loss of normal brain function and occur when a person’s head and brain move rapidly. A sudden blow or jolt causes the brain to move within the skull, initiating chemical changes and sometimes even stretching or damaging brain cells. Many assume that a concussion automatically means that someone loses consciousness, but this is not the case. In fact, more than 90 percent of concussions don’t result in a loss of consciousness.

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

The symptoms of a concussion are sometimes difficult to discern from other possible conditions or illnesses. According to the CDC, symptoms of a concussion fall into four major categories:


Individuals who sustain a concussion after a slip and fall accident might have trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or remembering new information. Injured individuals might also feel slowed down—as if their thoughts and actions are not in sync.


When physical symptoms are present, concussions aren’t as difficult to diagnose. Common physical symptoms of concussions include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting soon after the fall
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Problems with balance
  • Feeling lethargic and tired


Those who get a concussion might experience emotional symptoms and changes in mood that include irritability, sadness, nervousness, anxiety, and increased emotional responses. These symptoms, on their own, might be a result of another condition or illness, or simply a bad day or week. The key with emotional symptoms of concussions is to take note of these changes in the context of a slip and fall accident, when these changes began, and if these changes are accompanied by other physical, cognitive, or sleep-related symptoms.


Having a concussion can also result in changes in sleep behavior. This includes having trouble falling asleep, sleeping too little, and sleeping too much. For years, people believed that it was dangerous to let an individual who had suffered a concussion fall asleep, due to a fear that falling asleep would result in more severe consequences from potential bleeding around the brain. This, however, is false. The International Concussion Society reports that internal bleeding of the brain and concussions are rarely related. Once a doctor has evaluated an individual following a head trauma, it’s okay for that person to sleep. In fact, proper amounts of rest will aid in recovery.

Do I Need to Go to the Doctor for a Concussion?

Plenty of people who slip, fall, and hit their heads don’t head to their nearest emergency department, even if they suspect a concussion. Not all potential concussions require an immediate trip to the emergency room, but a doctor should check out all of them as soon as possible. Not seeking medical attention after a slip and fall that might have resulted in a concussion is a poor choice for two reasons.

First, some symptoms require immediate attention. In the event that someone has a worsening headache, weakness, numbness, vomiting or slurred speech soon after a fall, they should head to the doctor as soon as possible. Friends and family that are monitoring others should take someone to the emergency room after a fall if they cannot wake up, they are having convulsions or seizures, they cannot recognize familiar people or places, they become confused or agitated, or their pupils are different sizes. Dilated pupils are not a reliable sign of a concussion, but uneven dilation might be a sign of a structural brain injury that needs immediate medical attention. Immediate symptoms, like those previously listed, suggest not just a concussion, but a severe one. Injured individuals need appropriate scans and neurocognitive tests, so that a medical professional can guide them through recovery; this might include referring them to a neurologist or other specialist.

Second, if your slip and fall accident occurred because of another party’s negligence, you need to document your injuries for litigation down the road. For proper documentation, a medical professional must specifically diagnose you with a concussion and write this in your medical record. Some concussion injuries can take hours, days, or weeks to appear. You might also want to consider keeping a journal to record anything out of the ordinary as time progresses. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible once you notice any symptoms, so that your doctor may document these symptoms in your medical record.

Why Do Slip and Fall Accidents Cause Concussions?

Slip and fall accidents account for thousands of injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, but why? Slip and falls generally occur when an individual falls because he or she has encountered a slippery surface. Slippery conditions include ice, snow, liquid spills, oil, grease, food, powder, dust, and more. The science behind a slip and fall accident involves friction between a person’s shoes and the ground. Slippery conditions decrease that friction, causing one to slip while gravity helps pull them to the ground. In many cases, people’s legs go out from underneath them, shifting their center of gravity backward, causing them to fall and their head to make contact with the ground. This sudden head trauma often leads to brain injuries that range from mild concussions to far more serious outcomes, including death.

In the context of a slip and fall accident, it is most likely that an injured person’s head has struck the floor or another hard surface, resulting in a concussion; however, a person does not necessarily have to hit their head to sustain a concussion. Abrupt head movements can also cause concussions. For example, someone who slips and falls down a set of stairs might sustain a concussion without ever actually hitting his or her head.

Can I Sue Someone If I Sustained a Concussion After Falling?

Florida law permits injured individuals to seek compensation against a property owner if they have sustained an injury from a fall, but the extent to which the owner might be liable hinges on the visitors’ status and their ability to prove that the owner breached a duty of care. Like many states, Florida separates visitors into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Florida property owners owe each type of visitor a different duty of care, as discussed below.

Invitees. Under Florida law, invitees may be public invitees or business invitees. A public invitee is a person who is invited as a member of the public to be on land that is intended for public use. Public invitees include individuals who are visiting a city playground with their children or headed to a park for a free concert. Business invitees are more common in premises liability lawsuits, and they include people shopping in a store, dining at a restaurant, or visiting another place of business for a variety of reasons. Property owners give business invitees implied permission to be on their property for any direct or indirect business dealings, and owners are legally obligated to warn an invitee of any dangers or hazards, to maintain their property in a safe condition, and to guard against foreseeable third-party crimes.

Licensees. Licensees may be invited or uninvited. Invited licensees are most often social guests, such as friends, family members, and neighbors. Uninvited licensees haven’t been expressly invited to a property, but they have an implied license to be there. Delivery drivers and workers who check your gas meters are examples of uninvited licensees. Property owners have the same legal obligations to uninvited licensees as they do to invitees; however, uninvited licensees are treated the same as trespassers under Florida law.

Trespassers. Trespassers who enter another party’s property without a license or invitation enjoy fewer rights than those who are licensed or invited. While property owners are not permitted to cause intentional harm to or set traps for trespassers, they are not required to guard against third-party crime for trespassers. Children are the one important exception to this rule. Under Florida’s attractive nuisance law, property owners who don’t protect their property against children who might be attracted to something on the property may be held liable for any injuries that occur on the property. For example, if a young child decided to trespass because he or she saw a swimming pool, fell, and got a concussion, the property owner might be liable for not fencing off his pool.

What Compensation Can I Receive From a Slip and Fall Accident that Resulted in a Concussion?

If you or your child has been in a slip and fall accident that resulted in a concussion, you may be entitled to compensation for the losses that you incurred due to the injury. Common damages in slip and fall accident cases include:

Medical costs, including ambulance services, emergency services, hospitalization, CT scans, x-rays, doctor visits, and more

Lost wages for time that you had to miss from work due to your concussion or to care for your injured child

Future medical expenses and future lost wages in the event that you go to trial or the defense wants to settle prior to fully recovering from your concussion. Similarly, if you end up with post-concussive syndrome (PCS) or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), long-term conditions caused by concussions, you might also be entitled to future medical expenses and lost wages.

Pain and suffering for the economic and non-economic losses incurred due to your slip and fall accident that resulted in a concussion

Choose an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer in St. Petersburg

Concussions are typically not fatal, but they can still have serious symptoms that affect those who are injured for an extended period of time. If you’ve sustained an injury after a slip and fall due to another party’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden that often accompanies these types of injuries. Concussions are sometimes difficult to diagnose, symptoms don’t always present themselves immediately, and homeowners and commercial insurance carriers do not want to pay claims. These complexities require the assistance of an experienced premises liability lawyer who has represented clients with brain injuries.

Some of the ways a skilled personal injury attorney might help advocate for you include investigating the details of your slip and fall, securing the testimonies of expert witnesses that will attest to the effects of your concussion, and negotiate with insurance companies who may initially attempt to offer you an unfair settlement. If you sustained a concussion in a slip and fall accident, you should focus on rest and recovery. This includes sleep and cognitive rest—turning your brain off from thinking. Focus on your recovery, while your attorney sorts out the legal details and pursues the best outcome for your case.

Call one of the experienced attorneys at the Dolman Law Group in St. Petersburg, Florida, at (727) 222-6922, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and injury. We handle most cases on contingency, which means we deduct our attorney fees from any settlement or verdict that we secure for you.

Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33712
(727) 222-6922

Friday, December 14, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Left Hook Bicycle Accidents

When a bicycle and a motor vehicle are involved in a collision, the bike and its rider generally sustain the most damage. As a cyclist, you are probably already aware of how important it is to pay attention to everything on the road. Even if you’re abiding by the rules of the road, other drivers may not—and that’s true in St. Petersburg, too. In Pinellas County, 435 to 510 crashes involve bicycles every year. Knowing the most common types of bicycle accidents, how to avoid them, and how to respond if you are involved in an accident will help you ride on the road more safely.

What Are Left Hook Bicycle Accidents?

Left hook bicycle accidents are among the most common types of accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles. In a left hook accident, a left-turning vehicle fails to yield to a bicycle in the oncoming lane. There are several different reasons for left hook accidents. First, the driver may be distracted and fail to notice the bicycle rider. When drivers focus on traffic, they may forget to look for small vehicles and pedestrians; rather, they’re focused on cars, trucks, and other large vehicles that could potentially pose a hazard to their own vehicle. Unfortunately, as a cyclist, you may simply fail to register on a driver’s radar. Poor visibility may also contribute to a left hook accident. As a cyclist, you naturally present a smaller, thinner profile than motor vehicles. You may be lower to the ground or fit in a smaller space, which means the driver may inadvertently fail to notice your presence.

Sometimes, in left hook accidents, the driver will outright collide with the cyclist. In other accidents, the cyclist may collide with the front passenger side fender of the vehicle. Regardless of which type of left hook accident you are involved in, you may be left with serious injuries, while the driver will likely only have a few small dents in his or her car.

Common Driver Defenses for Left Hook Bicycle Accidents

In most left hook bicycle accidents, the driver’s argument is the same: that he or she never saw the bicyclist. Often, left hook accidents aren’t the result of deliberately driving negligently, but rather how the brain works when we’re on the road. A driver’s mind naturally looks for large obstacles in the road, rather than the smaller obstacle presented by a moving bicycle.

Another common argument is that the bike appeared out of nowhere. The implication in this argument, of course, is that the cyclist was moving far too fast, causing them to fly into the path of the oncoming driver. While there may be circumstances in which overgrowth of shrubbery or the natural design of the road makes it difficult for cars to see oncoming cyclists, most of the time, the cyclist was clearly visible. It is also unreasonable to claim that the cyclist was traveling too quickly, when the driver was likely traveling much faster in his or her vehicle.

Most of the time, a cyclist bears little responsibility for a left hook bicycle accident. However, you should always consult with a lawyer to be sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities under the law after an accident.

Injuries From Left Hook Bicycle Accidents: What to Expect

After a left hook bicycle accident, you may have any number of injuries, especially if the car struck you directly. Seek medical attention immediately for serious injuries. You should also seek medical attention following your accident even if you think you are uninjured; some injuries may take days, weeks, or even months to appear. Below we discuss some of the most common injuries sustained by individuals involved in left hook bike accidents.

Traumatic brain injuries: occur when a rider’s head strikes the pavement or car. Symptoms of traumatic brain injury may not appear immediately. Even if you left the scene of the accident feeling fine, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience confusion, dizziness, nausea, memory problems, or difficulty with balance.

Broken bones: 
especially breaks to the legs, arms, and collarbone—are fairly common in bicycle accidents. Limbs can be broken by contact with the pavement, the vehicle that struck you, or your bicycle.

Scrapes and cuts: 
including road rash, may occur as you slide across the pavement in a left hook bicycle accident. It’s important to have any cuts and abrasions examined, cleaned, and bandaged to minimize the risk of infection.

Dental and jaw injuries:
occur when your face is injured during a collision. You can reduce your risk of face injuries by wearing a helmet; however, it’s important to consult with a medical professional any time your face is injured in an accident.

Internal damage: may occur when your abdomen strikes the handlebars of your bicycle. If you have any symptoms of internal bleeding, including abdominal swelling, tenderness, or blood in your urine or stool, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How to Minimize the Odds of Left Hook Bicycle Accidents

Traffic poses a serious danger to many cyclists. You obviously want to avoid the injuries and expenses that go along with an accident, but how are you supposed to accomplish this? There are several techniques you should employ while riding to avoid becoming a victim of a left hook bicycle accident.

Pay attention to the cars around you. Like many athletes, you may become so focused while riding that you fail to remain aware of your surroundings, especially as your ride progresses, and you may become lost in your own thoughts. When you’re cycling on the road with regular traffic, however, this practice is incredibly dangerous. Instead, make sure that your focus is on what’s going on around you—especially on any cars that may present a potential hazard.

Slow down to let cars move past you. The last thing you want to do when you’re riding is to ruin the flow of your ride, especially if you’re training for a race or competition and need to get your timing down. If you sustain a serious injury, however, you’re likely not going to be able to train for or participate in that important event. You should always slow down and let cars pass, even if it means ruining the flow of your ride.

Make eye contact or wait for a gesture to ensure that the driver has seen you. Before you proceed, always make sure that the driver knows you’re there. While waiting for this recognition doesn’t always prevent accidents, it will significantly decrease your odds of serious injury.

Practice making bail-out plans. Any time you’re cycling, make a habit of deciding what you will do if a car does something unexpected—like, for example, making a left turn right on top of you as you’re attempting to pass. Imagine what you will do in all potential scenarios. Try to make sure that you always have somewhere else to go. You may not be able to stop your bicycle completely in time, but you might, for example, be able to make a quick right turn to get out of the way. When you practice making bail-out plans on a regular basis, it becomes a natural part of your cycling behavior. Then, when a car does something unexpected, you’re already prepared for it.

Make yourself visible. One of the best defenses against all kinds of accidents as a cyclist is to ensure that you’re always visible. Simple reflectors on your bike usually aren’t enough to catch the attention of motorists, especially those who are more focused on making a turn than on checking their surroundings. Wear bright, eye-catching clothing, especially if you’re riding in the dark or in periods of low visibility. Consider adding a light to your bicycle or using personal lights that you can wear, such as a headlamp, to help make you more visible to the people around you.

Respect the flow of traffic as much as possible. You may not always be able to travel at the same rate of speed as cars driving alongside you. When possible, however, try to remain with the flow of traffic and maintain the posted rate of speed. Try to avoid busy roads with higher speeds than you’re comfortable traveling. When you maintain a right rate of speed, you make yourself more visible to the drivers around you, because you are moving at the rate that they expect.

Wear the right safety gear. While safety gear won’t entirely prevent you from having an accident, it can significantly decrease your odds of injury if you’re involved in one. A helmet alone can decrease your risks of head injury by 50 percent, and can even help prevent neck and face injuries. You may also want to wear gloves, a suit that will protect against road rash, and/or pads that will help protect you if you collide with the road. Safety gear might be an expensive addition to your ensemble, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to protect against injury.

What to Do If You’re in a Left Hook Bicycle Accident in St. Petersburg

If you’re involved in a left hook bicycle accident, you may not be sure what to do next. There are several key steps that can help protect you legally, financially, and physically following your accident.

Move slowly and carefully, but get out of the road. As a cyclist, you were hard enough to see when you were upright and moving with the flow of traffic. Sitting in the road in the aftermath of an accident likely makes you even more difficult to see clearly, especially if you’ve ended up sprawled across lanes or are in a different lane than the car that struck you. If you’re physically able, try to move to get out of the road. Move slowly and carefully, evaluating yourself for injuries, so that you don’t accidentally make an injury worse.

Summon the police to the scene. If you’re seriously injured, you may also want to summon an ambulance to take you to the nearest medical facility. The police will collect evidence at the scene and make a report about the accident, which can be helpful in dealing with insurance companies after your accident.

Seek medical attention. Even if you believe that your injuries are fairly minor, you should still seek medical attention following your accident. In many cases, serious injuries may not show up until much later, when the adrenaline wears off. Being checked out by a doctor will provide you with peace of mind and ensure that any serious injuries are caught in the moment, rather than being discovered much later. Keep copies of your medical records after you see a doctor, since these documents will make it easier for you to prove your injuries to the driver’s insurance company or in court.

Collect evidence. If you’re physically able to move around the scene, snap a few pictures. This might include pictures of the car, pictures of damage to your bicycle, and pictures of any features of the accident scene that could have contributed to the accident. You may also want to take pictures of your injuries at the scene of the accident.

Have your bike checked out. If you were in a left hook bicycle accident, make sure that you have your bike checked out by a reputable shop as soon as possible. You may be able to bend it back into shape yourself, but that may mean compromising its structural integrity. Have a reputable shop make all necessary repairs to ensure that your bike is safe when you get back on the road.

Give yourself time. Being involved in an accident, even if you weren’t seriously injured, can be highly traumatic. Give yourself ample time to recover before you get back on the road. In many cases, allowing for a slow and full recovery will permit you to eventually resume cycling, while trying to force yourself back too soon can create negative associations with the sport or result in further injury. Of course, always follow your doctor’s advice with regards to how long you should wait to get back on the road.

Seeking Legal Help in St. Petersburg? Contact Us!

If you need legal help after your bicycle accident, whether in dealing with a driver who refuses to admit liability or an insurance company that isn’t offering the sufficient compensation, call the Dolman Law Group today at (727) 222-6922, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.

Dolman Law Group 1663 1st Ave S. St. Petersburg, FL 33712 (727) 222-6922

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Electric Scooter Apps and Uber Expansion

Electric scooter Uber bicycle Injury lawsuit attorney

Uber Eyes Acquisition of Micro-Transport Companies

It is no secret that Uber has grown incredibly fast in a short span of time into one of the largest and most powerful transport companies in the world. The advent of ridesharing apps has not only revolutionized transport in terms of ride-hailing and ride-sharing but has lead to a wave of innovation in terms of transport.
Silicon Valley and beyond have started to question the nature of how we move from place to place and how innovative apps like Uber can be taken as an inspiration to offer unique transport services. Many new companies have ridden this innovative transport technology wave and provided us with alternatives to Uber-like Lyft and in other cases given transport on a different scale with electric scooter and bike lending apps.
However, new technology can often come a period in which innovation runs a little too fast before safety and regulation is put into effect to prevent serious accidents and injuries. In the case of Uber, the excitement over the availability of reasonably priced transportation at the push of an app’s button overshadowed how insurance coverage and liability in case of an Uber accident were still a new concept.
Currently Uber has grown to a point where their recognizable ride-hail service has become only one of many avenues of business that Uber has ventured into such as UberEats. Uber has continued keeping its eye on expanding its horizons by acquiring businessebird scooters specializing in new forms of transport such as Lime and Bird.

What are Lime and Bird?

Florida typically takes a bit of time to catch up to some of the more innovative new apps that make a splash in cities like San Francisco or Seattle as evidenced by the amount of time it took for Uber to arrive in Florida. Since then the implementation of new innovative app ideas has become significantly faster. For businesses like Lime and Bird this is great news.
These companies primarily offer micro-transport services via scooters or to be more accurate, electric scooters. By using the Lime or Bird app, a person can rent one of their scooters at one of their scooter stations for a small fee and then return it to the scooter station nearest to their destination. There are often bikes offered as well that will utilize a similar electric propulsion system to the scooters.
This surge of small-scale transport has already hit Florida with Lime operating in several major Florida cities and many others containing smaller micro transport companies offering similar services. These companies will likely only grow or be absorbed by companies like Lime or even Uber.

What Does Micro-Transport Mean for the Future?

Micro-transport increases an aspect of transportation in urban areas that many excited to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion support. Many people are happy about the move to smaller scale transports like electric scooters and bikes to make small trips in the city but at the same time, this also means an increase in risk for those using these small-scale forms of transport.

Florida Bicycle Accident Issues

Florida is already home to several cities that place very high on the list of cities with the most hostile bike environments. Bicycle accidents have the potential to cause severe injuries. The most common of these injuries being traumatic brain injuries due to the lack of helmet wearing that is also a major issue.
The increase in scooters and bicycles taking to the road will have to contend with Floridian city planning that barely takes anything but cars and occasional pedestrian transport into consideration. A lack of bike lanes and even sidewalks makes these forms of transport all the more prone to accidents involving motor vehicles that can cause significant damage.
Electric scooters can potentially become involved in the same accidents as bicycles. A person on a scooter can easily be struck by a vehicle while driving on the side of the road and suffer a concussion if they aren’t wearing a helmet. Perhaps they may not achieve the same speed as a bicycle but collisions can still inflict a great deal of force and falling regardless of the vehicles speed can inflict severe head injuries.

Florida Electric Bicycle Accident Claims

Someone that has been injured while riding their bicycle may be able to seek compensation for their injuries from a liable party under certain circumstances. A plaintiff can make a case by demonstrating that the negligence of a liable party was the cause of an accident that injured the plaintiff. Damages including medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering can be covered by a settlement awarded in a successful claim.
There are often more parties that can be liable for a bicycle accident victim’s injuries than they may realize. There is usually the driver at fault for the collision in the accident but companies like Lime and Bird or even Uber, should they choose to field their own bikes and scooters, could be found liable for a bicycle accident. Should an issue with their bicycles or scooters directly cause a rider to suffer an injury then they may be able to pursue an injury claim against them.

Florida Uber and Lyft Accident Attorneys

If you or your loved one have been injured in an Uber or Lyft ride-share accident then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about receiving a free consultation on your case. Our skilled lawyers can help you determine your legal options and how to best proceed in a car accident claims process. With the Dolman Law team behind you, you can rest easy knowing that you will have your case in the hands of a law firm with the experience and resources to ensure your case has the best chance of success possible.
Contact Dolman Law Group with an online contact form or call us at (727) 222-6922 to schedule a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Injured By a Slip and Fall at a St. Petersburg Store: Do I Need a Lawyer?

The holiday season is upon us, and ‘tis the season for shopping. However, this time of year can also be the season for slip and fall accidents due to poorly constructed store displays, wet walkways, and other hazards. In addition to the usual slip and fall hazards, the holiday season brings additional risk factors due to overcrowding, like the potential of being trampled. According to statistics compiled by the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls account for more than one-million hospital emergency room visits each year.

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident while holiday shopping, do you need a lawyer? If your injuries are serious, the answer to that question is yes. Below we discuss a few reasons why you should enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

The Question of Liability

How exactly did you fall? What caused your fall? Were there any other possible causes for the fall, perhaps something that was your fault? These aren’t necessarily easy questions to answer, but you can bet that a store’s insurance company, the insurance company’s lawyer, a judge, or a jury will ask them. And your answers can have a huge impact on the amount of any damages award that you may receive.

A lawyer with experience in premises liability cases knows not only how to interpret those answers, but also how to examine the details of your case and determine whether the store owner may be liable for your accident. Due to Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws, you may receive compensation for your injuries even if you were partly at fault for the accident. However, those damages may be reduced according to your level of fault.

Proving liability in a slip and fall case means proving that there was a hazardous condition in the store that the owner either knew about or reasonably should have known about. Some hazardous conditions that a store owner can be found liable for include:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Loose tiles, carpeting, or mats
  • Electrical cables or cords
  • Damaged sidewalks or parking lots
  • Loose handrails or other hazardous conditions on stairs, such as damaged or irregular steps
  • Malfunctioning escalators
  • Debris, clutter, or unsafe store displays

As noted by the National Floor Safety Institute, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that floors and flooring materials contribute to an average of two million falls each year. Slip and falls are especially hazardous for the elderly, with about one-third of all individuals over the age of 65 experiencing a fall every year. However, regardless of your age or how your accident occurs, insurance companies and their lawyers will attempt to paint the accident in a way that places all or most of the fault on you. In addition, other ways that insurance company lawyers will defend their clients is to claim that the store owner didn’t know about the hazard or that the hazard was so obvious that the claimant should have been able to avoid it. Hiring a lawyer to represent you with your personal injury claim means having someone experienced at proving liability on your side.

The Question of Damages

The general public is not very adept at quantifying all the damages that occur in a slip and fall accident. In addition to medical bills for your injuries now and in the future, you also need to consider what future treatments may be necessary, lost wages due to your injuries, and any pain and suffering that you endure due to the accident. Part of a lawyer’s job in representing you includes not only determining the costs associated with your injuries, but also presenting documentation of your expenses in court. Additionally, lawyers oftentimes have staff with the time and know-how to obtain complete medical records and track down other documents that can help prove your case.

Without a lawyer, if you wish to pursue a personal injury claim, the responsibility to collect and organize these documents and determine what is fair compensation for your injuries falls solely on you. It is a big task for someone without legal experience, particularly for someone who is also dealing with recovering from injuries.

Hire a Professional Negotiator

Personal injury lawyers frequently negotiate with insurance companies, and they understand how to achieve results. Do you have this experience? After a slip and fall accident occurs, your injuries are usually reported to the store owner, and a claim is made with the owner’s insurance company. The insurance company will often contact the claimant directly, and it may offer a quick, immediate settlement. Those who don’t work in the legal field often think these are fair settlements, but they usually are not. Before you accept the offer, which the insurance company is likely pressuring you to do, contact a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer will not only provide guidance as to whether the offer is fair or not, but will also know what costs the insurance company has excluded in the offer and will likely be able to renegotiate a better offer.

The vast majority of premises liability cases are settled before they reach the courtroom. However, a successful and fair settlement often depends on your willingness to negotiate.

Did You Sustain a Serious Injury?

Not all slip and fall cases are equal. If you suffered a minor injury due to a slip and fall accident, such as a twisted ankle that doesn’t require much follow up medical treatment, result in lost time from work, or cause any pain and suffering, you’re probably safe to accept the initial settlement offer from the insurance company. However, the more serious your injuries are, and the more costs that stem from your injuries, the harder the insurance company is going to work to reduce how much they must pay. Some examples of serious injuries that are best left for an experienced lawyer to deal with include:

  • Concussions and more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Falls are the cause of 40 percent of all TBIs that require emergency treatment or hospitalization, according to the CDC.
  • Broken bones. Hip fractures are among the most serious of broken bones suffered in slip and fall cases, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. Other common injuries associated with falls include fractures to the spine, forearm, wrist, leg, ankle, pelvis, and hand.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries. The impact of a fall can fracture vertebrae or even result in herniated discs. These injuries can result in a lot of pain, a long recovery, and even total loss of mobility and paralysis.
  • Shoulder injuries. Such as dislocations or a brachial plexus injury, which may require surgery and physical therapy.

While these are some of the more common serious injuries seen in slip and fall cases, there are others. According to a 2017 report from the York Dispatch, an elderly man in Pennsylvania was blinded after he tripped over an unmarked step in a shopping area walkway, fell, and struck his eye against a chair that was positioned outside of a tattoo shop. He was blinded by the fall, and a jury awarded him $4 million in damages.

Furthermore, the Las Vegas Sun reported in 2014 that a jury awarded comedian George Wallace $1.3 million after he became entangled in wiring onstage at the Bellagio Casino in 2007. Wallace suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon in the accident. The majority of the award was for the loss of future income as a result of the injury, which he claimed left him hobbled.

In the eyes of the insurance company, the valuation of your case often increases if you’re represented by a lawyer, as he or she brings the power of legal knowledge and experience to the table. It goes up even more if your lawyer is ready and willing to take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to present a fair settlement.

What You Can Do to Help Your Case

In addition to consulting a lawyer, there are a number of things that you can do to help your case if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, including:

Seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis of your injury. This will help prevent the insurance company from suggesting that the injury could have occurred or become worse due to other activities following the accident.

Identify witnesses who saw the accident take place. Be sure to get the contact information for all eyewitnesses, so that your lawyer can speak with them about what they saw.

Report the accident to the store manager. Ask the manager to write an official report, and request a copy of that report before you leave the store.

Find out if the store has a surveillance camera in place that recorded the incident. And—if so—make sure that you get the name and phone number of the manager or store employee responsible for storing such recordings. Be sure to record the date and time of your accident, so that your lawyer can easily request to review the relevant footage.

Don’t give statements to the store manager or the insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first. Also, avoid posting any information about the accident on your social media accounts.

Understand the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations in a premises liability case is four years. This means that, if you’re planning to file a lawsuit, you must do so within four years from the date of your slip and fall accident. If you fail to file a suit within that time frame, it is unlikely that you will receive any compensation.

Hiring an attorney promptly not only helps you prevent evidence from being lost or destroyed, but also allows time for settlement negotiations and, if the negotiation efforts fail to produce a fair settlement, allows a lawsuit to be filed before the statute of limitation tolls.

How We Can Help You in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Saint Petersburg or Pinellas County, Florida, you may still be unsure of whether or not you need a lawyer, whether you had any fault in the accident, or whether the settlement you have been offered is fair. Take advantage of our free consultation and case review, so that we can help you answer those questions.

Beyond the free consultation, if we represent you in your case, you can expect us to do a number of things on your behalf, including:

  • Filing a claim
  • Negotiating a settlement with the insurance company
  • Filing a lawsuit
  • Litigating the case
  • Pursuing alternative dispute resolution, if necessary

There is, of course, more to a premises liability case than just the aforementioned items. These cases can be quite complex, and may take many months or even years to complete. With the Dolman Law Group on your side, you can be assured that you will receive prompt communication regarding any updates to your case, complete answers to any questions you may have, thoughtful guidance regarding decisions only you can make—such as whether to accept a settlement or file a lawsuit—and dedicated, compassionate, and aggressive representation aimed at securing full compensation for your injuries.

At the Dolman Law Group, our diligent efforts and negotiation skills may mean a bigger settlement for you. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result in your case, consider the case of one of our recent clients who sustained an injury in a restaurant parking lot in 2014. In that case, the defendant initially denied any liability. However, we were able to establish that the parking lot was improperly maintained and secure a settlement of $300,000.

If your injury was caused by the negligence of a store owner, don’t wait until it’s too late to seek compensation. Call the St. Petersburg office of the Dolman Law Group today at (727) 222-6922, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

St Petersburg Office
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712