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.
The 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.
The trial court denied the store’s motion, and the store appealed to a higher court. On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision and found that the plaintiff’s evidence was indeed insufficient.
The court explained that, under Florida Statute section 768.0755, slip-and-fall cases involving a “transitory foreign substance” require the plaintiff to show that the “establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.” The statute further elaborated that constructive knowledge can be proven by establishing the amount of time the substance had been present or showing that the condition occurred frequently enough that the establishment should be on notice of its possible presence.
The court explained that under these facts, the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that the store employees knew or should have known that the liquid was present. The court took the plaintiff’s own testimony into account, noting that no store employees were nearby at the time of her fall. Additionally, there was no evidence suggesting how long the liquid had been present or that it occurred with some frequency. As a result, the plaintiff will not be permitted to pursue her claim for compensation against the store.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling a wide range of Florida injury cases, including slip-and-fall cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Reverses Jury’s Verdict Based on Lack of Evidence Showing the Defendant Knew about Hazard that Caused Plaintiff’s Fall, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 27, 2017.
Student’s Premises Liability Case Against School Dismissed Based on Lack of Causation, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 5, 2017.