Florida Court Discusses Damages in Slip and Fall Cases

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.

As to the damages for pain and suffering, though, the court deemed the jury’s award to be inappropriate. Specifically, the court noted that relevant Florida rulings dictated that where a jury finds that a plaintiff suffered injuries that required treatment, which is evidenced by past medical expenses, a verdict devoid of damages for pain and suffering is inappropriate as a matter of law. Thus, the court reversed the jury’s verdict as to damages for pain and suffering and remanded for further proceedings.

Confer with a Seasoned Florida Attorney

Business owners have a duty to maintain their properties in a safe condition, and if they do not, and people suffer harm as a result, they may be held civilly liable. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, it is advisable to speak to a lawyer regarding your rights. The seasoned Florida attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are adept at helping injured parties pursue damages, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our online form or at 800-283-7442 to set up a conference.

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