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 ›