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Florida Appeals Court Finds Evidence of Constructive Notice in Plasma Center Slip and Fall Case

In a recent case before a Florida appeals court, the court considered whether there was sufficient evidence the business had constructive notice of water on the floor in a Florida slip and fall case. In that case, the plaintiff fell when he was at a plasma donation center. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff went to donate plasma, and after he arrived, he completed paperwork and sat down in the waiting room. After about 45 minutes had passed, the plaintiff went to the men’s bathroom. He took a couple of steps inside and fell, suffering injuries that included a broken orbital bone.

The plaintiff filed a negligence claim against the center. He alleged that when he fell, he slipped and was pushed forward onto the floor. He testified that he saw about a cup of dirty water on the floor, a couple of muddy footprints, and a skid mark. He testified that some of the liquid got onto the side of his shirt. He said it appeared that somebody had slipped previously, and that there were at least two footprints that looked “like muddy footprints.” A medical supervisor at the facility wrote up an incident report that day, indicating that he checked the bathroom floor for liquid and did not find any. Still, it was not clear at what time he wrote the report, and the supervisor did not remember what he did when he entered the bathroom to investigate. According to the evidence, it was also possible that a janitor had already come and cleaned the bathroom.

Under Florida law, a business owner has a duty to invitees to take reasonable care to keep its premises reasonably safe, to warn of dangers it knew of or should have known of and which the invitee could not discover. Under section 768.0755 of Florida Statutes, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the foreign substance. Under that statute, a plaintiff must prove that the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have “taken action to remedy it.” The statute provides that constructive knowledge can be proven by showing that the condition existed for a length of time that the business should have known about the condition if it had exercised ordinary care, or the condition was foreseeable because it occurred regularly.

Here, the appeals court held that the evidence of dirty water near the sink, muddy footprints, and the skid mark, as well as the lack of evidence that the bathroom was inspected on the day of the incident, was sufficient to deny summary judgment. Thus, the court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant. The evidence supported the plaintiff’s contention that there was a substance on the bathroom floor that existed long enough that the business should have known of it in the exercise of ordinary care.

Contact a South Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in a Florida slip and fall accident, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer today to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The South Florida law firm of Friedman, Rodman, & Frank has significant experience handling all types of injury cases. We firm handles cases on a contingency basis, which means that we only get paid if your case is successful. Call us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or contact them online to set up a free, confidential consultation.

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