Articles Posted in Premises Liability

In Florida, property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in reasonably safe conditions, and if they breach that duty, they can be held liable for any harm that ensues. In addition to proving that an unsafe condition existed on a property, however, the injured party must also demonstrate that the property owner knew or should have known that the condition was present. In a recent Florida ruling, a court discussed what constitutes sufficient evidence of constructive notice in a case in which the plaintiff was injured in a slip and fall accident in a department store.  If you were hurt because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you could be owed compensation, and you should speak to a trusted Florida premises liability attorney to evaluate your options.

The Plaintiff’s Injury

Allegedly, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant department store when she slipped and fell in a puddle of milk. She suffered significant injuries and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserted a negligence claim, and arguing that the puddle had been present for such a length of time that the defendant should have been aware of its presence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the claims against it should be dismissed. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Constructive Notice of a Dangerous Condition

Under Florida law, a business owner has an obligation to take reasonable and ordinary care to maintain its premises in a condition that is reasonably safe for invitees and to warn people entering the property of any dangers that the owner knows of and that invitees are unlikely to discover. Under this standard, if an individual slips and falls in a business on a transitory and foreign substance on the floor, the person who fell must prove that the business owner either knew that the substance was on the floor or had constructive knowledge of the condition. Continue reading ›

Children are prone to falls and other accidents while they are at school and often suffer minor injuries as a result. In many instances, though, such incidents are preventable and only occur because a party failed to alleviate known risks of harm. The grounds for imposing liability on a school for harm suffered by a child was the topic of a recent Florida ruling, in a case in which the trial court granted the defendant school’s motion for summary judgment. If your child suffered injuries due to the negligence of a property owner, it is wise to consult a capable Florida premises liability attorney regarding your options.

The Child’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff child, who was seven years old, suffered injuries at the defendant school when she ran into a pedestal table that had a glass edge during gym class. The plaintiff child, along with her parents, filed a negligence claim against the defendant, arguing it breached its duty to maintain a safe premises. After discovery was conducted, the defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed, arguing that the dangers presented by the table were open and obvious, and therefore there was no liability. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Liability for Harm Suffered at School

The court explained that in cases involving negligence, summary judgments should be granted sparingly. In other words, if the evidence raises an issue of material fact, the dispute should be submitted to the jury. In the subject matter, the court found that a triable issue existed and denied the defendant’s motion. Continue reading ›

Many people throughout Florida regularly shop at discount department stores for basic necessities. While people expect these stores to be safe, it is not uncommon for dangerous conditions to be present that unexpectedly cause them to slip and fall, and people hurt in such accidents may be awarded significant damages. The manner in which damages are calculated was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a case in which the plaintiff appealed a verdict in which she was granted compensation for the cost of past medical treatment but no damages for future treatment or for pain and suffering. If you are injured in a fall, it is advisable to meet with a proficient Florida premises liability attorney to determine your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant discount department store when she slipped and fell due to a puddle of water on the floor. She sustained knee and back pain as a result of the fall and was ultimately diagnosed with a dislocated patella and herniated discs. Her injuries were treated conservatively, but she continued to suffer symptoms. She was deemed an unsuitable candidate for surgery. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking damages for the harm caused by the defendant’s negligence. The case proceeded to trial, and the jury ultimately found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her compensation for past medical expenses. The jury declined to grant her damages for pain and suffering or future medical expenses, however, and so she appealed.

Damages Under Florida Law

On appeal, the court explained that under Florida law, there is a clear distinction between past and future damages, as past damages can be closely examined, while future losses are less certain. Thus, due to the speculative nature of future damages, the fact finder has ample discretion in determining if they are appropriate. In the subject case, the court noted that the issue of whether future damages were warranted was hotly contested throughout the trial. The court noted, however, that the refusal to grant such damages aligned with the evidence. Continue reading ›

Many retail stores are national corporations that designate executive staff to overlook each store location. Thus, if a person is hurt in an accident in a store, the question may arise as to whether the corporation, an executive officer, or both are liable for the individual’s harm. The liability of a corporate officer of a retail store for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident was the topic of a ruling recently issued by a Florida court. If you were hurt while shopping, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to a skillful Florida premises liability attorney to evaluate your options.

The Plaintiff’s Injury and Subsequent Lawsuit

It is reported that the plaintiff was a customer at the defendant’s store when she was injured in a slip and fall accident. The cause of her fall was wine that had leaked out of a shopping basket and onto the floor. The defendant executive team leader was working at the time but did not see the plaintiff fall. He spoke to the plaintiff after the fall but denied being aware of the spill or causing the spill.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants. The defendants moved the matter to federal court, arguing that the defendant executive, who would destroy complete diversity, was fraudulently joined. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, which the court ultimately granted.

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When a person files a lawsuit seeking compensation following an injury, the cost of the medical care needed to treat the injury is an element of the individual’s damages. What should be considered in calculating past medical expenses was often disputed in the Florida courts until a recent ruling on the issue in a slip and fall accident case. If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be owed damages, including the cost of medical care, and should meet with a knowledgeable Florida premises liability attorney to discuss your possible claims.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was a passenger on a cruise ship when she tripped and fell over a bucket in a dining room. She suffered severe shoulder injuries for which she underwent significant treatment. She then filed a lawsuit against the cruise ship company asserting a negligence claim. Following a trial, a jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her in excess of one million dollars in damages. The trial court reduced the plaintiff’s medical damages to the amount actually paid by her insurers. The parties filed cross-appeals, with the plaintiff arguing that the district court erred in reducing the compensatory damages awarded to the plaintiff for past medical expenses from the amount the jury found to be reasonable.

Calculating Past Medical Expenses

On appeal, the court stated that the issue of how to calculate damages for past medical expenses in a maritime tort action in cases in which there is a dramatic disparity between the amount a provider bills for care and the amount an insurer pays was a matter of first impression for the court. The court noted, however, that courts throughout the Southern District of Florida disagreed as to how such expenses should be calculated.

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