It seems simple enough. If you slip and fall at a business or property in Florida and you were injured, you should be able to make a slip and fall accident claim. But Florida law for slip and fall accidents limits a person’s ability to make a slip and fall claim or slip and fall lawsuit unless you can prove a few critical elements to your claim.
Can You Make a Slip and Fall Accident Claim?
To bring a slip and fall accident claim you must:
- Have slipped at a business or property and become injured;
- Be able to prove that there was a dangerous substance or dangerous condition on the floor that caused you to slip;
- And be able to prove that the business owner either knew about the dangerous substance or dangerous condition before you fell and did nothing to make the area safe before you walked through it.
There are many different scenarios where a person could become injured after a slip and fall, and different laws apply to different properties.
What is Florida’s Law for Slip and Fall Accidents?
If you were injured in a grocery store, restaurant, or business, you will need to know about Florida’s slip and fall statute. However, Florida’s slip and fall statute only applies to falls at “business establishments” caused by a “transitory foreign substance.” Examples of “transitory foreign substances” are water, liquids, and food. The statute says that to make a slip and fall claim in Florida, you MUST be able to prove either 1) the business actually knew the dangerous condition existed, or 2) the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that the business should have known of the condition, otherwise known as “constructive notice”; or 3) the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable. These are difficult things to prove.
Does It Matter What Caused My Fall?
It is rare that you can show a business owner actually knew about a dangerous condition and chose to do nothing about it. Now that many businesses have in-store videotape surveillance, getting the store surveillance is one of the best ways to prove that store employees may have known a dangerous condition existed.
Store surveillance videotape is also the best way to prove that the store “should have known about the dangerous condition.” This can be shown by store employees walking past or being stationed nearby the dangerous condition. If the dangerous condition is a liquid and it is dirty, Florida courts have used this as an example of constructive notice as the liquid would have to be in place for a period of time in order to become dirty. Or if the dangerous condition is a piece of food, Florida courts have looked to see if the food looks dirty or deteriorated in order to determine if it had been in place for a sufficient period of time.
If you fall does not occur at a business establishment or does not occur due to water, liquid or food, your claim would be a normal negligence claim. To prove a claim for negligence you must show that a dangerous condition existed at the property where you fell, that the owner of the property knew about or should have known about, and that the business owner failed to correct or warn people at the property about.
The key to making a successful slip and fall claim is investigating the claim as soon as it happens. For more information about how to make a slip and fall claim, contact the Maus Law Firm.