Articles Posted in Slip & Falls

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Resorts and cruise ships departing from Miami offer recreation, relaxation, and excitement, but negligence by staff and management in designing or maintaining the premises can lead to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.  While an injured tourist might have the right to pursue a lawsuit against a resort, travelers should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer because these legal claims can pose special challenges.  Large resorts typically have guests sign contracts that contain provisions severely limiting their rights.

In this blog, our Florida slip and fall accident attorneys focus on an appellate court decision that limited the option of a seriously injured plaintiff to litigating the case in a foreign country.  The plaintiff in Feggestad v. Kerzner International Bahamas, LTD, et al. was injured when he slipped and fell on a sidewalk on the resort premises.  He sought damages for his injuries while his wife sought compensation for loss of consortium.  Continue reading →

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Falls in grocery stores, restaurants, malls, and other types of businesses can have a devastating impact on victims.  Customers shopping in a grocery store probably assume they will receive compensation if they fall and suffer injury.  However, litigation of slip and fall accidents in Florida poses special challenges that make it important to seek legal representation from an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer.  In this article, our attorneys review a recent case that demonstrates the special obstacles to proving liability in a Florida business.

The task of establishing the liability of a business for a fall involving a customer became more difficult because of changes in Florida law when F.S. 768.0755 was enacted.  The law included the requirement that a plaintiff in a lawsuit involving a fall on a transitory foreign substance must prove the owner of the property/business had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition and that the owner/business failed to take adequate remedial action to protect the injury victim.  Actual knowledge is self-explanatory, such as when the business/owner observes the hazard or receives a report from an employee.  Constructive knowledge involves a more complicated factual analysis.  The circumstances and facts must support a finding that the owner/business would have been aware of the hazard with the exercise of reasonable care.  The most common way to prove constructive notice is to establish that the hazard has been present long enough that ordinary care should have led to its discovery or that the situation is so common the hazard was foreseeable. Continue reading →

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Our personal injury lawyers frequently represent shoppers who trip and fall when visiting shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses or commercial properties held open to the public.  Owners and parties in possession of business property held open to the public have a legal duty to keep the premises in reasonably safe condition for “invitees,” which includes customers, suppliers, maintenance people, and others engaged in business purposes.  This duty is accompanied by a duty to warn “invitees” of latent (non-obvious) hazards that the owner or party in possession knows or should know exist that are not open and obvious.  Even if the hazard is open and obvious, Florida appellate courts have not excused the duty to mainain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.  Knowledge of the hazard includes actual knowledge or constructive knowledge based on factors that should have given notice with the exercise of reasonable care.  An important factor is the duration of time the hazard has been present.

A recent decision from the Florida 3rd DCA in which an invitee slipped on rebar in the parking lot of a shopping mall provides a primer on these basic principles of Florida trip and fall law.  In Grimes v. Family Dollar Stores of Florida, Inc., the injury victim attempted to use a short cut through a landscaped island that used re-bar as ties downs.  Maintenance of these areas was performed by an outside company hired by the owner and commercial tenant.  The trip and fall victim suffered injury when taking the shortcut where he tripped on re-bar that was not tied to any of the vegetation.  When the plaintiff filed her lawsuit for injuries suffered to her knee, she alleged the owner and commercial tenant failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition, warn of the latent hazard, and remedy the hazardous condition.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants relying on an earlier decision involving a fall after cutting through a parking lot.  In the prior case, the injury victim tripped over a root when cutting through a landscaped area of the parking lot. Continue reading →

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Florida businesses have a duty to protect the public against injury. Our experienced slip and fall attorneys know that the most common injury people suffer in businesses are slip and fall injuries.  In Florida slip and fall accidents, the injured party must demonstrate that the company was negligent, causing the person to fall and suffer injuries. Slip and falls can cause severe injuries. People injured in slip and fall accidents generally suffer injuries ranging from broken bones, especially broken hips, wrists, and collarbones. Also, injured people experience spinal injuries such as disc herniation, while others who fall and strike their heads can suffer from traumatic brain injury and concussions.

The duty of Florida businesses is clear. Companies must warn of dangers that are either known to the business owner yet unknown to the public, that the public cannot know about even if the people are careful. Also, business owners have a duty to warn their invitees about hazards of which the business owner should be aware. Florida law imposes a duty on business owners to make regular inspections of their premises so that they can learn of any dangers to the public and then take reasonable measures to fix the hazard or warn the public about the danger. However, the business owner has no duty to warn the public about dangers that are open and obvious. If the hazard is open and obvious, then the business owner can rely on people’s common sense to avoid getting hurt.  Continue reading →

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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 →

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Our personal injury attorneys are finding the use of video surveillance as evidence in civil personal injury suit has gained more prominence as more sophisticated and easily-concealable video surveillance technologies become available. Ensuring the availability of this evidence is of particular importance in certain injury cases such as slip-and-fall claims inside commercial establishments where such video surveillance is regularly employed. For plaintiffs, in-store videos can become a crucial source of evidence for proving that the defendant’s negligence in maintaining the premises caused injuries and damages. Defendants must produce video surveillance footage and cannot unreasonably withhold such evidence.

One case illustrates this point well. In Target Corp. v. Vogel, the plaintiff, filed an injury suit against the company for a slip-and-fall accident she suffered in one of its Florida stores. During discovery, the plaintiff requested Target to produce a security video that showed the slip-and-fall taking place. Target refused to provide the footage, and therefore, the plaintiff filed a motion with the trial court to compel production. During a hearing on the motion, Target maintained that it was allowed to require the plaintiff’s deposition first before production of the video. Target claimed that the plaintiff did not portray the accident accurately in her medical records, which indicated that she told the doctor she fell on her back. However, Target argued that the video surveillance refuted this account. In response, the plaintiff argued that she should be allowed to use the video surveillance footage to refresh her recollection of events. The trial court ordered Target to produce the video. Target appealed. Continue reading →

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Our Miami personal injury attorneys report that Rapper Rick Ross recently found himself in additional legal trouble.  A man who visited their family home in Miami Gardens is suing Ross and his mother.  The visitor allegedly tripped on the rail of the property’s iron gate back in 2011.  He claims to have suffered tremendous pain and suffering when he fell, according to his lawsuit filed in Broward County. Ross and his mother have stated they were not on the property at the time of the fall and in fact, the property was then being rented to tenants.  The slip and fall victim is requesting $15,000 in damages.

Florida Slip and Fall Law Basics

The term slip and fall covers an array of accidents.  Generally, slip and fall refers to anytime someone loses their footing, falls, and sustains injuries while on the property of another. There are several types of slip and fall accidents, including:

  • Slip and fall—when a slippery liquid or object causes someone to fall
  • Trip and fall—when a person trips on an object in their way or on an uneven surface
  • Step and fall—falls caused by holes or low spots on the pavement

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When the decision is made to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted care facility (ALF), it involves much contemplation and investigation in order to ensure that the new home is safe and secure and meets all of the physical and emotional needs of the person who will be living there. When the negligence of the facility administration or staff leads to a terrible accident, the physical and psychological consequences to your loved one is traumatic.

Unfortunately, accidents where residents fall in South Florida nursing homes are all-too-common. The dedicated and knowledgeable Miami premises liability attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 120 years of collective experience in understanding how to gather the necessary information to show whose negligence was responsible for the harm suffered by your loved one. We have represented hundreds of slip and fall victims, trip and fall victims and those who have fallen at nursing homes who did not follow established fall prevention protocols.. We have recovered millions of dollars for these victims.

In a nursing home, there are many different hazards that can lead to a slip and fall injury, including:
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South Florida has some of the most interesting and enticing malls in the country. However, what happens when a person goes to visit a mall and falls in one of the common areas or store fronts? Unfortunately, this situation happens every day and some of the injuries are so severe that they may irreversibly change a person’s life.

When a person has been injured in a slip and fall accident at a mall, there are many questions about who was responsible and who is liable for the harm that the fall victim experienced. The skilled and hardworking South Florida premises liability attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have spent more than 120 years, collectively, getting justice for victims of fall accidents. To compensate these victims for the harm that they suffered, our firm has negotiated settlements and won jury awards totaling tens of millions of dollars.

There are three categories that apply to people who are present on the premises of a person or business:

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Slip and fall accidents in grocery stores, restaurants, bars, malls and on other commercial, public and residential premises are among the most misunderstood types of personal injury claims. Media sources and the insurance industry often minimize the seriousness of a slip and fall accident as more damaging to the ego than the human body. Many such depictions even suggest that fall victims’ injury claims are exaggerated or fabricated. The reality is that slip and fall accidents can cause devastating life-altering injuries. With the average age of the U.S. population growing, the high risk of permanent injury to seniors from falls caused by the failure of property owners to clean up or warrn of slippery floors poses a significant cause for concern as trip and fall hazards.

A cursory review of the data from the National Safety Council on slip and fall accidents nationally reveals that falls involving seniors are both common and serious. One in three people age 65 or older suffers a fall each year across the country. These falls cause the death of over 18,000 elderly victims annually, which is four times greater than any other age group. In addition to the high number of fatalities in slip/trip and fall accidents involving seniors, there are many more seniors who suffer debilitating injuries like hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that cause permanent impaired physical and mental functioning, as well as a premature loss of independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries nationally involving those 65 and above.

Slip and fall accidents involving the elderly often occur because property owners fail to maintain their property, clean up spills or repair uneven sidewalks and driveways. Generally, commercial, public and even residential property owners (depending on the circumstances) have a duty to either clear hazards that may cause a fall or provide adequate warnings. Property management companies, landlords, tenants and others may also be liable for negligence in keeping the premises safe or warning visitors about the potential hazard.

However, slip and fall cases are fact intensive. Therefore, our Miami personal injury lawyers carefully investigates slip and fall accidents so that we can identify key facts which may include:

• Length of time hazard was present • Nature of the hazard • Efforts to clean up the substance • Employee knowledge of the presence of the unsafe condition • Prior accidents on the property related to a similar hazard • Building and safety code violations • Adequacy of lighting • Accident report • Statements of witnesses • Nature of the property commercial, residential or public • Video surveillance footage • Prior reports by patrons regarding the hazard Continue reading →

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