Florida Court Discusses Constructive Notice in Slip and Fall Cases

Spills are common at gas stations, and unfortunately, are often the cause of slip and fall accidents. While people hurt in falls at Florida businesses can often recover compensation, merely because a fall occurred does not necessarily mean that the property owner will be deemed liable. Instead, as shown in a recent Florida ruling, the injured party must show that the property owner either knew or should have known that the condition that caused the spill existed but failed to remediate it. If you were hurt in a fall at a business in Florida, it is smart to contact a Florida slip and fall attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Injury

It is alleged that the plaintiff stopped at the defendant’s gas station to put fuel in her car. She parked and went inside the station to pay for her gas. Surveillance footage showed that when she was inside, a car drove by and left a puddle of liquid. The plaintiff exited the station and slipped and fell in the puddle. She suffered multiple fractures in the fall, which required surgical repair.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligence led to her fall and subsequent harm. The case proceeded to trial, and following the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant moved for a directed verdict. The court denied the motion, and the jury issued a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her substantial damages. The defendant appealed.

Proving Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident in Florida

On appeal, the defendant argued that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of the puddle, and therefore, the defendant should not be deemed liable. Under Florida law, in premises liability cases involving transitory foreign substances in business establishments, the injured party must show that the business possessed actual or constructive notice of the substance and should have taken steps to remedy it.

The court elaborated that constructive notice can be established by showing that the condition existed for such a long time that the defendant knew or should have known of its presence, or that it was a condition that occurred with such regularity at the business that it should have been reasonably foreseeable. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to introduce evidence demonstrating constructive notice. As such, it ruled the trial court erred in not granting the defendant’s motion for a directed verdict.

Meet with a Trusted Florida Attorney

Business owners have a duty to ensure their premises are safe for visitors, and if they fail to do so and a person suffers harm as a result, they can be held accountable. If you were hurt in a slip and fall incident, you should meet with an attorney to assess your potential claims. The trusted Florida premises liability lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are proficient at handling cases arising out of slip and fall accidents, and if you hire us, we will work diligently on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling 800-283-7442 to set up a confidential meeting.





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