Spills are common in warehouse stores that sell a variety of goods, including food. Unfortunately, in many instances, spills lead to slip and fall accidents. In some cases, a person hurt in a fall may be able to recover damages from the store owner for the harm suffered. Generally, however, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant property owner had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition to demonstrate liability. A plaintiff’s burden of proof in a slip and fall case was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a matter in which the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims was granted. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated Florida premises liability lawyer to determine your rights.
The Plaintiff’s Harm
It is reported that the plaintiff was shopping in the defendant’s store when she slipped and fell on water that was near a bay of freezers. She admitted that she did not see the water prior to the fall and did not know how long it had been on the floor. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging it was negligent for allowing the dangerous condition that led to her fall to exist. After discovery was completed, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff could not prove that it knew or should have known that the water was on the floor prior to her fall. Upon review, the court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.
Proving Fault for a Slip and Fall Accident
Under Florida law, a plaintiff asserting a negligence claim must prove that the defendant had a legal duty to protect the plaintiff from certain harm, the defendant breached the duty, and the plaintiff suffered injuries that were actually and proximately caused by the breach. Further, a plaintiff alleging negligence based on a transitory substance in a business must also demonstrate that the defendant had constructive or actual knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken measures to remedy it.
A plaintiff can prove constructive knowledge by showing that the condition was present for such a length of time that, had the defendant exercised ordinary care, it would have learned of the condition or that the condition was one that occurred regularly at the defendant’s establishment, and therefore, was foreseeable. Here, the court found that the plaintiff failed to show how long the spill was present prior to her fall, or that such spills regularly occurred in the store. Thus, the court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
Meet with a Knowledgeable Florida Attorney
Slip and fall accidents often cause painful injuries that are debilitating and costly to treat. If you were injured in a fall in a store, you may be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney to assess your potential claims. The knowledgeable Florida premises liability attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are adept at helping people hurt by the negligence of others in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will diligently pursue the best legal result possible in your case. You can reach us via our online form or at 800-283-7442 to schedule a conference.