Articles Posted in Slip & Falls

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Some people do not understand the difficult challenges injury victims must overcome when injured in a slip and fall on the premises of a business.  While premises liability law authorizes an individual injured in a fall to pursue a legal claim for financial compensation against the owner of a business or commercial property, Florida law makes the task of proving negligence challenging.  The difficult burden of establishing the appropriate knowledge by the business owner makes it important to seek prompt legal advice from an experienced Miami slip and fall lawyer.  In this blog post, we examine a recent federal court decision that reveals these evidentiary obstacles.

In Piotrowski v. Meanrd, Inc, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision for the defense in a trip and fall case.  The plaintiff tripped on rocks in a parking lot next to and operated by a large chain hardware store.  The complaint filed by the plaintiff indicated she tripped on rocks in the lot located close to the store exit.  The plaintiff also alleged that the rocks resembled or were identical to rocks sold by the hardware store.  The store, which sold the stones as decorative river rock, also used the rocks in a decorative planter positioned close to the site of the trip and fall accident.  The plaintiff suffered serious injuries that included multiple broken bones and torn ligaments.  Her injuries necessitated multiple surgeries and periods of hospitalization. Continue reading →

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Although the Walt Disney World slogan is that the amusement park is “the happiest place on earth,” dense crowds, darkness, and visual distractions create an atmosphere that increases the risk of a serious fall.  Guests of the “Magic Kingdom” or other Florida amusement parks can suffer severe injury when falling because of improper maintenance of walkways, sidewalks, and parking lots.  Our amusement park accident lawyers recognize that visitors injured in falls while touring theme parks or other major tourist attractions in Florida frequently face an uphill battle.  In this blog, we review a case where a plaintiff effectively used evidence provided by the theme park’s own expert to withstand summary judgment.

The plaintiff seriously injured her knee when she slipped while stepping off a curb on Main Street inside the park.  Her complaint alleged that Walt Disney World Hospitality & Recreation Corporation failed to warn guests (legally considered “invitees”) of unsafe conditions and to maintain the property in reasonably safe condition for patrons.  Because of this failure, the plaintiff alleged she slipped on unsafe caulking while stepping off the curb.  During her deposition, the plaintiff testified that she was paying attention and looking down at the curb as she stepped off.  She did not see what caused her to fall but noticed a broken off section of sidewalk caulking made of rubber that was bent after she fell.  Because she did not observe any other obstacle that could have caused her to slip, she assumed that the folded over caulking triggered her fall. Continue reading →

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While you might have visited a grocery store hundreds of times without incident, you have probably seen spilled liquids, fruit smeared on the floor, and other hazards that could easily cause a fall resulting in severe injury.  If the management and ownership of a grocery store design and implement adequate safety and maintenance practices, grocery store slip and fall accidents often can be prevented.  Whether a hazard is caused by failure to schedule maintenance routines, lack of response to shopper reports of a spill, insufficient lighting, or sloppy cleanup of a foreign substance on the floor, careless or inattentive employees and management can spell disaster.  Even when a supermarket fails to properly clean up a spill or banana peel, litigation of a grocery store slip and fall accident can be complicated.  In this blog, our Miami personal injury lawyers review a case demonstrating the importance of having an experienced legal representative in your corner.

In a case several months ago, Edwards v. Hyvee, Inc., the plaintiff filed a lawsuit after slipping and falling on a piece of watermelon that spilled on the supermarket floor.  The grocery store was offering samples of the watermelon in a busy area within the market.  The grocery store owner did not dispute the allegation that the plaintiff’s fall was caused by watermelon on the floor.  While this might appear like a situation where the store was clearly at fault, this lawsuit reveals why assuming you do not need an experienced proven grocery store slip and fall attorney can be a mistake. Continue reading →

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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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