Court Addresses Defendant’s Duty to Warn Visitors of Hazardous Conditions in Recent Florida Slip and Fall Case

Recently, a plaintiff appealed a court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Dollar General in a Florida slip and fall case. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged the defendant was liable for injuries that he suffered after falling on a patch of laundry detergent in the store. The plaintiff appealed after the trial court’s judgment in favor of the defendant, arguing that the defendant failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition. Further, the plaintiff argued that genuine issues of material fact remained as to whether the defendant was negligent in its failure to warn of the danger.

According to the opinion, a customer dropped a detergent bottle near the checkout counter at the store. A manager and employee were working behind the counter when the spill occurred. In response, the manager left the employee to continue checking out customers, while he went to get supplies to clean up the spill. Neither party notified any other employee of the spill. Less than a minute after the spill, the plaintiff entered the store and slipped on the detergent. About thirty seconds later, the manager returned with materials to clean up the spill.

In Florida, slip and fall plaintiffs must establish that the defendant owed them duty and that their breach resulted in the plaintiff’s damages. Defendants who move for summary judgment must prove that they did not owe a duty or that they did not breach a duty. Florida business owners owe their customers the duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. They must warn the customer of concealed dangers that the business knows or should have known about, which the customer could not have discovered.

In this case, the appellate court agreed that the defendant did not breach its duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. The court reasoned that the defendant did not have enough time to remedy the spill between the time they noticed the condition and went to retrieve supplies to clean it up. However, the court acknowledged that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding the manager’s duty to warn other employees of the spill. During testimony, the manager conceded that he should have notified other employees about the spill, so that they could have warned any incoming customers and blocked off the area. As such, the court reversed the trial court’s summary judgment motion and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Slip and Fall?

If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries or death after a Florida slip and fall, contact the attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank & Estrada. The South Florida injury attorneys at our law firm have almost 100 years of combined experience representing injury victims. Our law firm routinely recovers significant compensation on behalf of our clients, including payments for medical bills, ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys can help you pursue a claim to hold the negligent parties accountable for your injuries. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our attorneys, call 877-448-8585 today.

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