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Fall Down Accidents

Dangerous Slip and Fall Conditions

Businesses are legally responsible for paying a claim where they have actual knowledge of the dangerous condition, such as when they are told by a customer that there is a spilled liquid on the floor. Once a store employee has actual knowledge that some liquid, food or other substance is on the floor they must act quickly to have it cleaned BEFORE someone falls. Many times I have had cases where the store personnel are warned of something on the floor and rather than stand next to it and send another employee for help, they have gone to get a mop or towel to clean, resulting in a person falling.

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Businesses are legally responsible for dangerous conditions such as spilled liquids which they have constructive knowledge of, meaning the condition existed long enough that the store should have realized it was there if they were being reasonably careful. For example, water that is clear was probably not on the floor long. Water that is dirty with many footprints in different directions and cart tracks running through it was probably there for a long time. It is important to understand that businesses are judged by the Reasonable Man Standard. They are not insurers or guarantors of the safety of every person that enters their establishment. They only have to be reasonably careful. Personal Injury Attorneys and insurance adjusters decide the value of a slip and fall injury case by judging whether the store or business was on Notice of the dangerous condition and how strong the actual or constructive notice was. In Florida the Legislature passed a law which shifts the burden to the store to prove they were not negligent for a slip and fall accident where there was a “transient substance” such as water on the floor. This makes it easier for the person who falls to prove the store had notice of the spill.

Types of Dangerous Conditions

It is important to understand that Florida follows the Common Law developed in England. The law is set forth in prior personal injury cases that experienced lawyers have read and continuously read to understand how the story their client tells them about how an accident happened fits into the law. That allows an attorney to decide how strong a case is and what amount of money damages a person is entitled to. In my twenty six years I have worked on thousands of slip and fall cases. Some examples of dangerous conditions that cause slip or trip and fall accidents which businesses should be preventing are as follows:

  • Water leaking from freezers and refrigerators in stores.
  • Water leaking from roofs that are not properly maintained or repaired.
  • Water inside front doors following rain where there is no mat to dry off.
  • Water inside front doors following rain where the mat is so wet and the floor is not mopped up.
  • Broken bottles on the floor.
  • Magazine order cards that fall out of the magazines.
  • Water dripping from ice that customers have in their carts. (Ice should be near the exit doors to prevent this)
  • Employees that push carts into customers.
  • Parking lots with broken bumper stops for cars with re-bar sticking out.
  • Oil not cleaned up which drips from cars.
  • Potholes that are not filled in.
  • Handrails that are missing from stair cases or that end before the stairs end.
  • Speed bumps that are not painted a color like yellow.
  • Sidewalks that were not brushed when the cement was wet causing them to be too slippery.
  • Stair cases that do not have non slip strips.
  • Paper towel dispensers in bathroom that are not next to the sink.

and many other conditions that vary from case to case. My point is that you need to seek out personal injury attorneys who has experience in these cases anytime you are the victim of an accident whether there was some carelessness on someone else that caused you to fall.