A slip and fall (or trip and fall) can be a very serious injury. Falls can result in fractures to the legs, spine, hip, pelvis, ankle, arms, or hands. A serious enough fall could result in a life devastating head injury. These kinds of injuries can permanently reduce your mobility and compromise your ability to live independently. For our seniors, falls are the number one cause of non-fatal injuries and admissions to the hospital. According to the National Safety Council, in 2016 more than 9 million people had to seek treatment in the emergency room due to a fall injury.
In terms of preventing an injury due to a fall in your own home there are many precautions you can take. You can make sure your floors are dry, clean and without clutter. Electrical cords and phone cords can be run along walls, so they are not a tripping hazard. Your furniture can be placed so that there are nice wide open walkways around the house. Your outdoor floodlights can be installed or upgraded so that there is sufficient lighting on outdoor paths.
But we can’t live our lives in our own homes. (Or maybe with all of the new various online delivery services we can, but we should get out and about!) You need to go to the grocery store, the dry cleaners, restaurants, your auto mechanic, your hairdresser, etc, etc. When you go out in public sometimes you may confront a situation that could lead to a fall related injury. The lighting may be too dark. A sidewalk may be broken due to a tree root and create a tripping hazard. A foreign substance may have been spilled on the floor and left there for a customer to slip in.
What does the law in Florida say when a customer is injured in a grocery store, restaurant, or other place of business when the business has allowed there to be a slipping or tripping hazard that can lead to a fall and related personal injury? Who is responsible for these slip and fall injuries?
These kinds of injuries and cases are known as “premises liability” cases. This is because the liability of the business, if any, arises out of his failure to adequately maintain the premises.
When you visit a place of business like a store in order to shop, dine, or otherwise engage in commerce Florida law says that you are an “invitee,” and specifically a “business invitee.” As a business invitee you are entitled to expect that the proprietor will take reasonable care to discover the actual condition of the premises and either make them safe for you or to warn you any dangerous condition. If the business proprietor fails to make the premises safe or warn the invitee, then he may be held liable for resulting personal injuries.
For transitory substances like water, grease, food, or beverages on the floor, Florida has a special statute which provides that:
If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance 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. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:
(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable. Florida Statutes 768.0755
Slip and fall / Trip and fall cases occurring at business establishments can be very complex cases. Proving that the injury resulted as the result of dangerous condition requires investigation and detailed analysis. Anyone suffering an injury from a fall in a store or other business establishment accident should contact an experienced injury attorney to protect their rights.
Injury attorney Todd C. Passman, P.A. handles slip and fall as well as trip and fall cases serving Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida, and surrounding areas.
Tell us about your problem. We can help.
If you, a family member or a friend have suffered a personal injury in an auto accident, or have questions please contact accident attorney Todd C. Passman today, at (772) 465-9806. Someone from our office will contact you right away.