Court Dismisses Slip-and-Fall Case Based on Plaintiff’s Failure to Provide Specific Location of Injury

Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury lawsuit regarding an issue that often arises in Florida slip-and-fall cases. Specifically, the case deals with the quantum of evidence a plaintiff must provide in order to present a legally sufficient case. Here, the court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s lawsuit, finding that the plaintiff did not provide sufficient notice of the location of her injury.

The Facts of the Case

The case stemmed from an accident that the then-79-year-old plaintiff suffered when she was walking and tripped on a crack in the cement. Shortly after her accident, the woman filed a notice of lawsuit with the state’s city council. About two years after her notice of lawsuit, the plaintiff filed a complaint, alleging the city’s negligence for failing to properly maintain its sidewalk. In the lawsuit, she noted the location was “on or near” an off ramp. The city filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the location the plaintiff provided was insufficient to put the city on notice, and since the statute of limitations had passed, the plaintiff should not be granted leave to amend her lawsuit.

Procedural History

In the motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff argued that the city is a “sophisticated entity” and could have found the location of her injury by looking at a map. However, the trial judge granted the motion for summary judgment and agreed that, although the decision was harsh, the plaintiff’s notice was inadequate.

The plaintiff then appealed the decision, arguing that although the location was not exact, it was still adequate because it sufficiently described the defect in the sidewalk.

The Court’s Analysis

The state appellate court first analyzed whether the plaintiff’s amended complaint cured the issue of her geographic inaccuracy. The court found that the plaintiff did not attempt to rectify the issue with the specific location until two years after the initial notice. This was clearly outside the statute of limitations.

Then, the court looked at the notice requirements for personal injury lawsuits filed against local government entities. The court noted that the law requires that a potential plaintiff provide notice regarding the “time, place, and cause of the injury.”

Here, the plaintiff argued that the notice she provided sufficiently narrowed the number of possible locations; however, the court found that the notice was not specific enough. The court held that the city should not need to engage in guesswork to determine the location of the accident. The court ultimately found that the statute is clear and unambiguous, and since the plaintiff’s notice was not sufficient, summary judgment in favor of the city was appropriate.

Florida Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits

Like other states, Florida has a specific statute that outlines how long an individual has to file a lawsuit against a culpable party when they are injured as a result of a slip-and-fall accident. In Florida, a lawsuit must be filed within four years of the accident. If the injured party does not file the lawsuit within that time, it is highly likely that the case will be dismissed.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida slip-and-fall accident, you should contact the South Florida personal injury lawyers at Friedman, Rodman & Frank. You may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained, including amounts for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you have endured. The attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank have decades of collective experience handling all types of Florida personal injury lawsuits. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 877-448-8585.

More Blog Posts:

Verdict in Favor of Patient Reversed by Court Due to Patient’s Failure to Prove Causation, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 19, 2017.

Accident Victims Should Not Be Pressured to Accept Settlement Offers by Pushy Florida Insurance Adjusters, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 5, 2018.

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