We are Miami Beach Personal Injury Lawyers and handle slip and fall or trip and fall cases against local businesses. A slip and fall negligence case against a property owner is a “premises liabilty” case. In such a case, the owner’s liabilty stems from his, her, or its ownership of the “premises” and the negligence that caused an injury to a prospective Plaintiff. Essentially, the landowner or renter is being held responsible for something wrong they did in maintaining a property which caused an injury to someone.
Slip and falls commonly happen in supermarkets, stores, businesses, offices, and other places. People injured in slip and fall accidents complain about back, knee, shoulder, wrist, and other injuries that range from ligament and tendon tears to fractures and broken bones.
But to be held liable, one must first show that the person, company, or business that was in possession of the property had a duty toward the injured Plaintiff. This “duty” means a requirement on the part of the premises owner / possessor to do something or refrain from and not do something.
In the case of a slip and fall, such a duty could include the need to clean up water or a slippery object or substance of any kind including grapes, strawberries, soap, soda, detergent, oil, grease, gasoline, fuel, or any other slippery substance. The duty could also include the requirement to warn of the existence of such a slippery substance. The duty to warn usually would apply when the premises owner or possessor had more knowledge of the slippery substance.
To confirm that a defendant had a duty, your Miami Beach lawyer will look into who owned or possessed the property at the time the slip and fall happened. To show a breach of that duty, your lawyer’s job is to identify the way in which the property owner or possessor did something wrong and caused the accident.
Recently, the Florida Legislature changed the law on when a premises owner has a duty to clean up or warn of a slippery substance that is “transitory” or moveable like grapes, plastic, glass, strawberries, soap, soda, detergent, oil, grease, gasoline, fuel, or any other slippery substance. This law specifically applies to slip and falls that occur in business establishments.
The law on slip and falls in businesses is Florida Statute 768.0755. This law applies to premises liability slip and fall cases that occur in business establishments as a result of a “transitory object”. The law 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.” Click on this link to see the whole law:
So, you see that a Plaintiff and his or her lawyer has to show that the business actually or constructively knew about the slippery substance and should have taken action to fix it. Thus, a Plaintiff must show that the Defendant knew about the substance and didn’t clean it up in time. One way this can be shown by a Plaintiff is by a statement made at the scene by one of the Defendant’s employees. Surprisingly, Defendants’ employees are, at times, candid and have admitted that they saw the slippery substance and/or knew about it and did not clean it up. Another way notice can be shown is by circumstantial evidence which is also admissible evidence. Such circumstantial evidence includes the size of the slippery substance, any tracks or footprints through the substance, or any other factor that shows the substance was there long enough that the store’s employees should have seen it.
The most helpful way to show such things is by photographic evidence. Also, a Plaintiff can testify as to any statement made by an employee of a store. And, the store employees can similarly testify as to statements made by the Plaintiff at the scene of a slip and fall accident.
Whether or not you can show such notice as required by Florida law has everything to do with whether or not you win or lose your slip and fall case. The other thing that has everything to do with whether or not you win or lose your slip and fall case is whether you know or a witness can testify that the slippery substance caused you to fall. Think about it – would it be fair to hold a business responsible for your fall if nobody knows why you fell and the business didn’t have a chance to fix the problem? Common sense and fairness says no.
If you are in a Miami Beach slip and fall accident and were injured and are looking for a Miami Beach attorney, call or email us through the contact form on this page. You can also email Jonah Wolfson, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org.