People who suffer harm in slip and fall accidents that occur in grocery stores have the right to seek damages from the party that owns the store. Generally, though, proof that a dangerous condition caused a person to fall, in and of itself, is insufficient to warrant the imposition of liability. Instead, a plaintiff in a premises liability case must demonstrate that the defendant knew or should have known that the condition existed prior to the fall. The evidence a plaintiff must produce in a slip and fall case was the topic of an opinion recently issued by a Florida court, in a case in which it ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s claims. If you were hurt in a fall, you could be owed compensation, and it is smart to seek the counsel of a practiced Florida premises liability lawyer to evaluate what claims you might be able to pursue.
The Plaintiff’s Fall
Allegedly, the plaintiff was shopping in the defendant’s grocery store when she slipped and fell on a transient substance. During her deposition, she testified that she did not see the substance before she fell and did not know how the liquid got on the floor or how long it had been there. She also did not know whether any store employee knew of the substance prior to her fall. She did not know where the substance came from but speculated it might be from a grape.
It is reported that the defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed via summary judgment on the grounds that she failed to show that the defendant knew or reasonably should have known of the presence of the liquid prior to her fall. After considering the evidence produced by both parties, the court granted the motion.
Demonstrating Liability for Slip and Fall Accidents
To establish negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. In Florida premises liability cases, the premises owner owes a duty to business invitees to exercise reasonable care to maintain its property in a safe condition.
To prove that a defendant breached the duty in matters involving transient substances, a plaintiff must show that the defendant had either actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition prior to the harmful event, and should have taken the steps needed to remedy it. Constructive notice can be established via circumstantial evidence. Here, the court found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the defendant knew or should have known that the liquid was on the floor before the plaintiff’s fall. As such, it granted the defendant’s motion.
Speak to an Assertive Florida Premises Liability Attorney
It is not unusual for situations to arise in grocery stores that increase the risk of slip and fall accidents, but in many instances, stores will not be held accountable for injuries sustained in a fall unless the injured party can prove the store had notice. If you were hurt in a fall, you should speak to an attorney about your rights. The assertive Florida slip and fall accident lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A., are adept at proving negligent parties should be held accountable, and we will fight diligently to help you pursue the best outcome possible in your case. You can contact us through our form online or at 800-283-7442 to set up a conference.