Because of Florida’s mild weather, it is unsurprising that many people choose to spend their winter holiday enjoying the state’s beaches and sunshine. While out and about this holiday season, it is still important to be cautious of your surroundings and environment, especially with crowds. When near water, there are often sharp rocks, poorly maintained infrastructure, or areas particularly prone to accidents or injuries taking place. To best protect yourself and your loved ones, it is crucial to stay vigilant this holiday season.
In a recent District Court of Appeal decision, the court had to consider a negligence action resulting from a slip and fall that took place on a Florida seawall dock. In the case in question, the plaintiff alleged breaches of duty by the defendant stemming from the defendant’s failure to safely maintain its premises and their failure to warn the plaintiff of the seawall’s dangerous condition. The plaintiff was using a specific part of the dock for the first time when he tripped and fell because of a divot. In response, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s negligence was the sole cause of the accident and that they did not owe a duty to warn the plaintiff because the cracked seawall from which the plaintiff was injured was open and obvious, so the plaintiff’s knowledge was equal to or greater than the defendant’s.
The trial court granted a motion for summary judgment, stating that the divot on which the plaintiff tripped was clearly visible and should have been obvious to the plaintiff. Although the defendant technically owed a duty to warn the plaintiff and to maintain its premises safely, the open and obvious nature of the condition precluded a finding of breached duty from the defendant.