Slip and Fall Accidents in Florida
For twenty six years I have been helping people who were injured in accidents where they have fallen and suffered injuries. Your slip and fall accident should be handled by an experienced personal injury attorney. Accidents where people fall can result in serious injuries requiring surgeries or even death. It is wise for you to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for an accident where you or a loved one has fallen due to someone's negligence. There are many dangerous conditions that can result in not only slip and fall accidents but many types of accidents on a business premises
. I will explain this in more detail later in this article. You need to be aware that businesses are responsible for keeping their premises safe by inspecting them and conducting repairs and generally taking precautions to safeguard people who enter the premises against injuries.
It is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover money damages for a fall resulting from a businesses negligence. Evidence should be preserved quickly
. Photos of the scene and injuries are important
and in some cases an expert engineer should go to the scene to check the area for violations of the building code that directly resulted in the accident. Lighting studies may need to be conducted with a light meter. A human factors expert may be needed to prove why a walkway is dangerous without a warning sign of a drop off. Witnesses may need to be located by our investigators and their sworn statements obtained while their memories are fresh. Evidence such as a chair that broke should be obtained. I have had many cases where the moment a business was on notice of a dangerous condition they fixed it before photos could be obtained. Florida law prohibits evidence of remedial repairs to prove there was a dangerous condition. The law wants people to make a dangerous condition safe without worrying that doing so will be used against them in a case. Businesses in
Miami, North Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Hialeah, and other Florida Cities that invite the public in, have a legal duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition to prevent people from falling and from being injured
. This includes stores such as supermarket food stores that should conduct reasonable inspections of the aisles to check for spilled substances and food on the floors
. Businesses that sell food and liquids where people fall such as Publix, Winn Dixie, Walmart, 7-11, Sedano's, Kmart, BJ'S , Costco or CVS, should inspect their aisles very frequently. In the vegetable and fruit section, pieces of vegetables, and fruit typically fall onto the floor causing an unreasonably dangerous condition
. Many people fall in fast food businesses, Bottles often spill in these businesses and soda or ice are on the floor. The store management is aware of this danger and must have continuous inspections of the floors at short intervals of time to identify spills and foreign substances on their floors and to clean them up.
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.
Businesses in Miami, North Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Hialeah, and other Florida Cities 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. 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:
and many other conditions that vary from case to case
- 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.
. My point is that you need to call a personal injury lawyer who has experience in these cases anytime you are the victim of an accident where you fall whether in Miami, North Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Hialeah, or any Florida City to determine whether there was some carelessness on someone else that caused you to fall.