Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

Before most Florida personal injury cases reach trial, the court hears a motion for summary judgment from at least one of the parties. A motion for summary judgment asks the court to consider all of the uncontested evidence presented by both sides and make a legal ruling in favor of the moving party. Importantly, summary judgment motions can save an immense amount of time if properly filed and litigated. However, it is important to keep in mind that when there is a material issue of contested fact involved in a case, a motion for summary judgment is not appropriate.

Fast FoodA recent case illustrated a court’s unwillingness to grant summary judgment to the defendant in a premises liability case when there was a question whether the defendant had knowledge of the dangerous condition causing the plaintiff’s injury.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was visiting the defendant fast-food restaurant with some family members. After placing his order, the defendant began to walk back to the area of the restaurant where the tables were. As he was walking, he thought he heard a restaurant employee call his name. The plaintiff turned around and tripped on the leg of a high chair that was protruding out into the walkway. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant, arguing that the restaurant’s negligent placement of the high chair resulted in him tripping, falling, and sustaining serious bodily injuries.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida premises liability lawsuit involving a plaintiff who slipped and fell as she was entering the defendant store. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s case should be dismissed because there was no evidence showing that the business owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard causing the plaintiff’s fall.

Wet FloorThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was accompanying a neighbor to a nearby big-box retail store. As the two arrived, they went to get a shopping cart under the awning immediately outside the store’s entrance. As the plaintiff started to walk toward the store’s entrance, she felt her right leg give out from under her, and she fell on her left knee. The plaintiff was then taken to the hospital and subsequently filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store.

The plaintiff later testified that she did not see the liquid before she fell, that there were no store employees around the liquid at the time of the fall, and that she was not sure what the liquid was or how long it had been there. The store filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to find that it had knowledge of the liquid.

Continue reading →

As a general rule, Florida landowners have a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to ensure that the property is reasonably safe for their visitors. While the specific level of the duty owed depends on the relationship between the parties as well as the purpose of the visit, in general, landowners must remedy known dangers and warn visitors of those dangers that cannot be fixed.

GravelWhen a visitor is injured on another party’s property, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries through a South Florida premises liability lawsuit. In order to be successful, a plaintiff must establish that the landowner owed them a duty of care that was breached somehow by the landowner’s conduct, or by the landowner’s failure to take remedial actions. Additionally, a plaintiff must establish a causal link between the landowner’s alleged negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries. A recent case illustrates the type of analysis that courts conduct when viewing premises liability lawsuits.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff dropped a trailer off at the defendant tire shop with her brother. The two entered the building, arranged for the repairs, and left without incident. However, upon returning later that afternoon, the plaintiff fell outside the shop as she stepped off the pavement and onto a slightly sloped strip of gravel that ran alongside the edge of the shop. The gravel was placed alongside the building to allow water to drain away from the shop. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff broke a bone in her leg.

Continue reading →

Florida landowners are responsible to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for those whom they invite onto the premises. This includes not just individuals, but also businesses and government entities. However, not all slip-and-fall accidents will result in the landowner being liable for the injuries of the person who was injured. In order to succeed in a Florida premises liability case, the plaintiff must be able to establish, among other things, that the defendant landowner knew about the hazard that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.

Parking GarageIn a recent slip-and-fall case arising out of neighboring Georgia, the court had the opportunity to discuss premises liability law as it pertained to a case involving a man who fell on a patch of black ice after exiting his car in a hospital parking garage. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden of showing that the defendant knew about the black ice. As a result, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was dropping his wife off at the defendant hospital for a minor medical procedure. After the plaintiff dropped off his wife, he proceeded to the uncovered top level of the hospital’s parking garage.

Continue reading →

In most Florida personal injury cases, the judge’s role is to determine which evidence is admissible at trial, rule on any objections that are made during the course of the trial, and ultimately instruct the jury on the relevant law after the parties have rested. Judges also are responsible for hearing any post-trial motions and ruling on these motions.

Slip and Fall In most cases, once a jury returns a verdict in a Florida personal injury case, that decision is final. However, there are a few exceptions to that general rule. First, either party may be able to appeal a legal decision made by the judge during the course of the trial. For example, if one party believes that the court unfairly kept evidence from the jury’s consideration, they may appeal that ruling to a higher court.

Another example of this is when the trial judge determines that the jury’s verdict is against the manifest weight of the evidence. This is usually argued in a post-trial motion brought by the side that did not prevail at trial, arguing that the jury was wrong in its determination based on the evidence presented. In order to succeed in this type of claim, a party must show that the jury based its decision on evidence that did not exist or was not admitted. A recent case illustrates the courts’ general reluctance to override a jury’s verdict.

Continue reading →

When someone is injured due to the negligence of a Florida government employee or entity, they may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Florida personal injury lawsuit. However, lawsuits that are filed against government defendants in Florida have certain additional requirements that must be met, or the accident victim risks the court dismissing their case before it is heard.

Drain CoverIn Florida, accident victims must file a pre-suit notice to the government agency that they are naming as a defendant. According to Florida Statutes section 768.28, state and local governments in Florida must be served with a pre-suit notice of a claim within three years of the accident. This notice must contain information about the accident, such as where it occurred, who was involved, the alleged acts of negligence, and what is being requested. If a pre-suit notice is not filed or is insufficient, a court may dismiss any subsequent lawsuit. A recent appellate court opinion out of Georgia details one plaintiff’s experience with an inaccurately drafted pre-suit notice.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when he stepped in an uncovered manhole while walking on a paved street in the defendant city. Initially, the plaintiff reported the hazard to the police department and provided the department with the address of 425 Chappell Road. The plaintiff explained to the police that the uncovered manhole was at the intersection of Chappell Road and Mayson Turner Road.

Continue reading →

Florida premises liability lawsuits often hinge on the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendants. This is because any duty that a landowner may owe to a plaintiff depends on the relationship between the parties and the reason why the plaintiff is on the defendant’s property. A recent appellate decision from nearby Georgia illustrates how a plaintiff’s inability to prove that a certain relationship exists between herself and the defendants may be fatal to her claim.

Dangerous StairsThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff rented a condo in the defendant’s condominium complex from the condo’s owner. However, the plaintiff did not enter into a formal written lease with the owner of the condo. Instead, the two had an oral agreement.

While the plaintiff was living in the condo, she was bothered by the fact that the staircase leading up to her unit was poorly lit and did not have a handrail. She informed the condominium association that she believed the condition of the stairs was dangerous and requested that the association take action to make the stairs safer. However, the association did nothing.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an interesting opinion in a slip-and-fall case that presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the res ipsa loquitur doctrine. The case involved somewhat bare allegations made by the plaintiff that were unsupported by any other evidence. As a result, the court determined that the doctrine did not apply and that the lower court was proper not to infer that the defendant was negligent.

StaircaseThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff slipped and fell through a set of wooden stairs at the home where she was living with the defendant. At the time, the defendant was the sole owner of the home. Several years after her fall, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit, seeking compensation for the injuries she sustained in the fall.

The plaintiff claimed that the stairs were rotted due to an insect infestation and that the defendant should have been aware of the problem and warned her of the potential danger. However, since the plaintiff had no evidence that the defendant knew of the stairs’ condition, she asked the court to apply the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur to infer that the defendant was negligent.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a man who tripped and fell while practicing on-stage with a church band. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the “assumption of the risk doctrine” and when it is appropriate for a court to prevent a plaintiff’s case from proceeding by determining that the plaintiff assumed the risks involved with the activity that led to his injuries.

On StageAssumption of the Risk

In some cases in which a person is injured while engaging in an activity that he or she knew to be dangerous, courts may prevent that person from holding other parties responsible for their injuries, based on the theory that the plaintiff assumed the risk of the dangerous activity. Generally, in order to establish an assumption of the risk defense, a defendant must be able to show that the injured party knew that the activity was dangerous and willingly participated in the activity despite knowledge of the risks. Assumption of the risk defenses are common in cases involving contact sports or other high-risk activities.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a member of the defendant church and also played in the church band. One day during rehearsals, the plaintiff tripped and fell on an unsecured cord that ran across the stage to power the electric bass guitar. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the church, arguing that the church failed to safely maintain the stage area.

Continue reading →

Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case against a water company after a woman tripped on a valve owned by the company. The court ultimately determined that the water company may be held liable not just for the maintenance of the valve itself but also for the area surrounding the valve.

Cracked PavementThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was walking on a public street when she tripped on a water valve cover. According to the plaintiff, the valve cover had become separated from the surrounding asphalt and had risen slightly above ground level, creating a tripping hazard. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against both the city as well as the water company.

Three months after the plaintiff’s injury, the water company fixed the asphalt around the valve cover. The case proceeded toward trial, and in a pre-trial motion, the water company was successful in excluding evidence of the asphalt repairs it had made from the jury’s consideration. After that, the water company argued that the evidence presented was insufficient to show that it was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries because it was not responsible for maintaining the area around the valve cover. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of the water company.

Continue reading →

Contact Information