Slip and Fall Injury – Premises Liability
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Slip and Fall Injury – Premises Liability

| Nov 11, 2020 | Legal Questions/Issues

In many instances, a slip and fall injury could have been prevented if the property owners had kept their property safe.  Under Florida Law, all property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe condition and may be liable for accidents that happen on their property.[1] However, Florida law places some burdens on the injured party to prove certain elements before they can recover for a slip and fall, especially if they slip and fall on a transitory foreign substance.

Transitory Foreign Substances

A transient foreign substance is a liquid or solid substance located where it does not belong.[2] If someone slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance, particularly in a business establishment, “the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”[3]

Constructive knowledge can be proven by showing that the unsafe condition existed for a period of time where a reasonable premises owner should have known of the condition and should have taken action to remove or fix the unsafe condition.[4]

For example, if someone slips and falls in a grocery store, they have to prove the substance or condition that caused them to slip was present long enough that the property owner knew, or should have known, about it. If someone slips and falls on a substance or condition that was only present for a few moments before the fall, it is more difficult to prove the property owner has constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.

Safety Considerations

When a property owner has actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition, they are obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure invitees (people invited onto the property either expressly or implied) are safe.[5]            

Safety considerations that reasonable property owners should take to mitigate unsafe conditions on their property include: putting up a warning sign when the floor is wet due to cleaning or a spill; temporarily closing off the area of the property where the unsafe condition is present; and having sufficient lighting on the premises to avoid people getting hurt because they could not see the dangerous condition.

The absence of these safety precautions can support the claim that the property owner breached their duty to maintain their property in safe conditions.

Common Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and falls do not affect everyone the same way. There are various injuries that can result from a slip and fall, which include:

  • Head Injuries
  • Broken arms or legs
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Hip Fractures
  • Shoulder Injuries
  • Sprains
  • Torn ligaments and tendons

The results of these injuries can include expensive medical bills, long term effects on your body and health, and pain and suffering.

If you have been injured due to a slip and fall accident or a trip and fall, please contact Michael P. Bonner, Esq. at [email protected] or call us at 305-676-8800 for a free consultation.  Mr. Bonner is an attorney with thirty years of experience handling personal injury claims.

[1] Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 802 So. 2d 315, 330 (Fla. 2001).

[2] Id. at 329; see Black’s Law Dictionary 660 (7th ed. 1999).

[3] Fla. Stat. § 768.0755 (emphasis added)

[4] Owens, 802 So.2d at 320.

[5] See generally Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. King, 592 So.2d 705 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991);  see also Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Marcotte, 553 So.2d 213 (Fla. 5th DCA 1989).