Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

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Naples slip-and-fall injuryTo prevail in a Florida slip-and-fall injury lawsuit, plaintiffs need to prove the business establishment had either actual or constructive notice of the hazardous condition, as outlined in F.S. 768.0755. Similar rules exist in other states, such as Wisconsin, where the state supreme court recently held there was sufficient evidence of constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition – even if the plaintiff could not prove exactly how long the slippery substance had been there.

Before detailing what happened in this case, our South Florida slip-and-fall injury lawyers think it is important to explain the difference between actual and constructive knowledge in a premises liability case.

The actual notice requires evidence that a business was actually aware of a particular danger in that specific place and time. Constructive notice, meanwhile, requires presenting circumstantial evidence that shows:

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Florida slip-and-fall lawsuitGuests who are injured on someone else’s property may have the option of filing a claim to be compensated for injuries by the property owner. These are a type of premises liability claims, and one example is if a patron at a grocery store is injured in a slip-and-fall accident on a “transitory foreign substance”. To prevail in a Florida slip-and-fall lawsuit, F.S. 768.0755 requires the plaintiff’s needs to show the defendant property owner/manager had either actual or constructive knowledge of the slipping hazard. A “transitory foreign substance” was defined by the Supreme Court of Florida as “any liquid or solid substance, item or object located where it does not belong.” Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So.2d 315, 317 (Fla. 2001)

Actual knowledge means the property owner was fully aware of that particular danger at that specific place and time. Proving this can be tough. Constructive knowledge is how most of these cases are established.

Constructive knowledge can be established by laying out circumstantial evidence that shows:

  • The hazardous condition existed on site for so long that the business establishment should have known of it were they exercising ordinary care;
  • The dangerous condition occurred with such regularity that it was foreseeable.

This element is critical. Recently, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the dismissal of a Florida slip-and-fall lawsuit of Oliver v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. on the basis that the plaintiff had failed to establish defendant’s constructive knowledge of a slip hazard. Continue reading

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Florida premises liabilityProperty owners in Florida are expected to maintain their site in a condition that is safe for patrons, guests, and residents. However, in premises liability cases where an injured person knew or should have known the potential for danger, property owners often raise something called the “assumption of risk defense.”

Assumption of risk is a legal doctrine that holds that a person cannot recover compensation for injuries they suffered by voluntarily exposing themselves to a known hazard. In other words, the property owner argues that the person who was injured knew about the risk but took the chance of being injured anyway.

In some states, if a property owner can prove the assumption of risk, the plaintiff will not be allowed to recover any damages for their injuries. In Florida though, it works a little differently because of something called, comparative fault;  as outlined in F.S. 768.81. Comparative fault allows individuals to pursue claims for damages – even if they are partially to blame. However, the amount they can collect will be reduced by their percentage of fault. So if a plaintiff wins $100,000 in damages, but the court finds the plaintiff was 30 percent at-fault, the most plaintiff will be awarded is $70,000.

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