In a recent ruling, a Florida court upheld a verdict in favor of a man who was injured when he slipped and fell in his shower. The plaintiff’s claim was based on the landlord’s failure to properly fix the shower drain. Evidently, the defendant landlord had been notified about the issue on multiple occasions, but maintenance workers were unable to fix the problem. One day, the plaintiff slipped in the shower and landed on a ceramic soap tray. His injury required 30 stitches, and continuous therapy. The man later sued his landlord claiming that his injury was the result of the landlord’s negligence.
Florida law states that residential landlords have a general duty to repair dangerous, defective conditions when the landlord becomes aware of their existence. If the landlord fails to correct a known hazard, they may be held liable for injuries that occur as a result of the dangerous or defective condition. In this appeal, the defendant landlord asked the court to reverse the trial court’s decision in favor of the plaintiff. However, the court refused to disturb the trial court’s decision because it found enough evidence to support the verdict.
The key issue here was proximate cause. Proximate cause is the legal concept used to determine whether a harm caused to the plaintiff was the reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. In order to find that a defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of an injury, the judge or jury must conclude that the injury was a natural and ordinary consequence of the defendant’s negligence. Therefore, a plaintiff must present facts that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that their injury was the foreseeable result of the defendant’s wrongful actions in order to successfully recover on a negligence claim.
The appellate court’s decision was based on its determination that there was enough evidence for the trier of fact to determine that the landlord’s negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. In reaching this conclusion, the court specifically highlighted the fact that the tub became slippery because of the drainage issue that the landlord failed to fix. In short, the fact that the tub filled with soapy water up to the plaintiff’s ankles could lead a reasonable person to find that the drainage issue was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
The court made sure to distinguish this case from a similar slip and fall case with a different result. In that case, the plaintiff slipped and injured herself when turning around in the shower. However, the court ruled against her when she sued her landlord for negligence. The difference was that there was no evidence to show how or why the shower became slippery. In other words, there was not enough evidence to show that the landlord’s negligence caused her to slip.
Contact A South Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a South Florida slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At the dedicated injury law firm of Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, we have significant experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including premises liability cases, car accident claims and instances of medical malpractice. Our attorneys only get paid if your case is successful. Call us at 877-448-8585 or contact us through our website to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.