While Florida is known as the sunshine state, it does experience inclement weather on occasion. Although it does not frequently rain in Florida, business owners nonetheless must take measures to protect their customers from slip and fall accidents caused by rain puddles within their premises, and if they do not, they may be held accountable. Recently, a Florida court discussed what a plaintiff injured in a slip and fall accident at a Florida business must prove to recover damages. If you were hurt in a fall, it is in your best interest to talk to a Florida premises liability lawyer regarding your rights.
The Plaintiff’s Fall
It is alleged that the plaintiff visited a post office owned and operated on a rainy day in May 2018. She entered the lobby, slipped, and fell. She suffered knee injuries in the fall. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing its negligence caused her fall and injuries. The case proceeded to a bench trial, during which the court heard testimony from the plaintiff and from the defendant’s employees regarding their inspection and maintenance process and their placement of wet floor signage on the day of the fall.
Proving Liability for Slip and Fall Accidents in Florida
The court ultimately found that the plaintiff met her burden of proof with regard to her negligence claim and awarded judgment in her favor. The court explained that under Florida law, to prove negligence, a plaintiff must show a duty of care imposed on the defendant, a breach of the duty, a causal link between the breach and the plaintiff’s injury, and actual losses sustained by the plaintiff.
Whether a duty exists is a question of law. With regard to property owners, they have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn invitees of concealed or latent dangers that they know or should know of but of which the invitee is unaware. If the plaintiff fell due to a transitory substance, like water, they bear the added burden of proving that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the transitory substance prior to the plaintiff’s fall. A plaintiff can establish constructive notice by showing that the dangerous condition existed for long enough that the defendant should have discovered it or that it was a condition that arose regularly and therefore was foreseeable.
In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff both established that her fall was caused by a dangerous condition that existed on the defendant’s premises and that the defendant had actual or constructive notice of the condition. Thus, it entered judgment in her favor.
Meet with an Experienced Florida Attorney
Slip and fall accidents can cause lasting harm, but fortunately, many people hurt in falls can recover from damages. If you sustained injuries in a fall on another person’s property, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The experienced Florida slip and fall attorneys of Cardoso Law, PLLC, are adept at proving liability in slip and fall cases, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at (850) 466-2073 to set up a conference.