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Establishing Liability in Florida Slip-and-Fall Cases

When someone slips and falls on the property of another party, they may be entitled to recover compensation for the injuries they sustained as a result of the fall through a South Florida premises liability lawsuit. In order to prove a slip-and-fall case in Florida, certain elements must be met, or the court can dismiss the case upon the defendant landowner’s motion.

Wet Floor SignPremises liability cases are based on the theory of negligence, which allows an accident victim to recover damages from the defendant if they can establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, which was violated by some act or omission of the defendant. Furthermore, the plaintiff must establish that it was the defendant’s alleged negligence that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

In regard to the “breach” element, Florida lawmakers have enacted a statute to assist courts in determining if a defendant landowner breached a duty they owed to a visitor. Florida statute 768.0755 applies to cases in which a plaintiff is injured after slipping on a “transitory foreign substance,” and it requires the plaintiff to establish that the landowner have “actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”

Actual knowledge can be proven through physical evidence, such as cleaning logs, or through witness testimony. For example, a store maintenance worker may testify that they were aware of the hazard and had just not gotten around to cleaning it up.

Constructive knowledge is more difficult to determine, since it relies on circumstantial evidence that the landowner should have been aware of the hazard. The statute clarifies that constructive knowledge can be shown by evidence indicating the amount of time the substance was present or the frequency with which the hazardous condition occurred, such that the landowner should have reasonably anticipated the hazard.

Thus, under Florida law, a slip-and-fall plaintiff does not necessarily need to prove that the landowner had knowledge of the hazard causing their fall, only that the landowner should have known about the hazard. However, establishing constructive knowledge can be difficult, since a slip-and-fall victim is not often in a position to know how long the substance was on the floor or the frequency with which the hazard had occurred in the past. That being said, through a diligent investigation, a Florida injury attorney may be able to establish these facts.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana have extensive experience handling a wide range of injury cases, including those involving slip-and-fall accidents. We represent clients across South Florida, and we have conveniently located offices in Plantation, Coral Gables, West Palm Beach, and Hollywood. Call 800-753-5529 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case today.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiff’s Slip-and-Fall Accident in Doctor’s Examination Room Deemed Not To Be “Medical Malpractice” Lawsuit, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 28, 2017.

Florida Crash Highlights Lack of Enforcement of Agricultural Transportation Laws, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 11, 2017.

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