Although a property owner or occupier of the premises can be liable for a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, the process of pursuing a settlement or judgment can be challenging because of the fact-intensive nature of fall-related litigation. Successful resolution of a trip and fall claim requires careful investigation of the premises, circumstances, identity of owners and occupiers, and other legal and factual considerations. The complex inquiry required to prevail in a case involving a fall caused by unsafe premises of another makes it imperative that clients be represented by an experienced slip and fall lawyer.
A recent case involving a trip and fall accident in the parking lot of a Florida discount store provides a primer for our South Florida trip and fall lawyers to explain the complexities of cases involving falls on the premises of a business. Generally, property owners and occupiers of commercial property owe two duties to the public: (1) warn customers, suppliers, and others visiting for similar purposes of latent (non-obvious) hazardous conditions that are or should be known to the owner or occupier but not known or obvious to the invitee, and (2) keep the premises in reasonably safe condition. The property owner does not necessarily have a duty to warn invitees about obvious and open hazards. However, the obvious nature of the hazard does not relieve the owner or occupier of a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. To establish constructive notice of an owner or occupier of an unsafe condition, the court will consider factors like the duration of time the hazard has existed, as well as whether it occurred naturally or because of conduct by the property owner/occupier. Continue reading →