What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Slip-And-Fall Injury Claim?
The Florida statute of limitations for filing any negligence personal injury claim, including a slip-and-fall injury claim, is four years from the date of the incident. Most of the time, that’s not really an issue, because the injured party will report the injury and begin receiving treatment relatively soon after the incident. With that said, every attorney and claimant should be mindful of the statute of limitations so as not to waive any potential claims in court.
How Important Is Seeking Medical Attention After Being Injured In A Slip-And-Fall Accident?
Seeking medical attention after sustaining an injury in a slip-and-fall accident is one of the most important parts of the case, because it creates a nexus between the incident and the injury. If someone trips and falls today and lays at home in pain for weeks or months before seeing a doctor, then the at-fault party’s insurance company will claim that the significant gap in time is evidence that the accident in question did not actually cause the injuries in question.
A significant gap in time between an injury and medical attention provides an opportunity for an intervening, superseding cause, which allows the insurance company to argue that anything could have happened between the date of the incident and the date that the claimant sought medical attention.
When a person who has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident sees a doctor the same day of the incident or within a couple of days of the incident, and when medical professionals document an injury that is consistent with a fall, it is much easier to present the argument that the fall caused the injury. It is important to create a nexus between the fall and the injury in order to prove causation as one of the critical elements of negligence in each claim.
How Important Is Following Doctors’ Orders For A Slip-And-Fall Injury Claim?
No one knows how to fix a patient better than the treating physician, because they have all of the information and knowledge that they need in order to make the appropriate medical decisions. If a doctor recommends a course of treatment, then the patient should follow through with that course of treatment unless and until they see another doctor who provides a different recommendation.
When clients ask me whether they need to do what the doctor has recommended, I refer them back to the doctor, reminding them that I’m a lawyer, not a doctor. My job is to take the information that the doctor gives me and use it in order to handle the legal elements of the case. If my client needs medical care or treatment, they need to rely on the medical professionals for that.
The way the client behaves as a patient can affect the case in a couple of different ways. First, it can affect the timeline of the settlement and the physical improvement of the patient. The argument that comes from the other side is that a bad patient will take longer to treat, and as a result, will need more extensive, invasive, and costly treatments. The other side will also argue that if the injured claimant had followed the doctor’s orders, then they could have avoided the extra treatment and expenses. Ultimately, the other side will use these arguments to say that they should not be liable for 100 percent of the medical care, but perhaps 70 percent of it—the first portion of treatment that would have allowed the claimant to recover had they treated in a timely manner.
When patients fail to treat as recommended per the medical providers, they create gaps in their treatment, which gives the other side an opportunity to develop yet another argument against the claim. For instance, if there was a one-month gap in treatment, after which the patient returned to the doctor and was told they needed back surgery, then the other side would claim that an intervening cause during the one-month gap in treatment is the true cause of the need for the surgery.
We always try to caution our clients that if the doctor wants to see them often and recommends a particular course of treatment, they should probably do it. Extensive, specialized training and expertise in medical matters is what qualifies doctors to make certain recommendations, and in most cases, the client should do what the doctor tells them to.
For more information on Statute Of Limitations For A Slip & Fall Claim, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 379-8030 today.
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