Not surprisingly, slip-and-fall accidents are most common in areas that receive a high volume of foot traffic. Thus, shopping malls, grocery stores, sidewalks, and parking lots are the most common places Florida slip-and-fall accidents occur. Each of these locations presents unique dangers and may implicate multiple defendants. A recent state appellate opinion in a premises liability case illustrates the type of analysis courts engage in when reviewing slip-and-fall claims.
According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant grocery store. Evidently, the plaintiff finished shopping and was returning her car to the corral in the parking lot that holds the carts until an employee can retrieve them. The plaintiff wheeled the cart into the corral without any issue. However, after depositing the cart into the corral, the plaintiff tripped as she exited the corral.
Apparently, the flat, metal crossbar that connected the two sides of the corral that was supposed to lie flat against the ground was slightly raised. According to the defendant, a delivery driver bumped into the corral a few months earlier, causing the frame of the corral to shift, slightly lifting the crossbar off the ground. The defendant grocery store indicated that it knew about the damaged corral, and had called to inquire about getting it fixed, but the repair was not made.
The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the grocery store, arguing that its negligence in allowing the dangerous corral to exist was negligent. The grocery store claimed that the plaintiff should not be permitted to bring a claim because the raised crossbar was an “open and obvious” hazard. The grocery store argued that the plaintiff must have known about the crossbar because she had to wheel the cart across it to return her cart.
The court rejected the defendant’s argument, determining that a jury should hear the plaintiff’s case. The court acknowledged that a plaintiff’s knowledge of the hazard that ultimately caused their injuries would most often defeat a plaintiff’s claim. However, here, the court explained that while the plaintiff knew about the presence of the corral as well as the crossbar, there was no indication that she knew a portion of the crossbar was elevated or the dangers that it presented. The court held that the plaintiff lacked knowledge of the specific hazard that caused her fall, and allowed her case to proceed.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At the South Florida personal injury law firm, Friedman Rodman & Frank, we proudly represent injury victims in claims to recover compensation for the serious injuries they have sustained. To learn more about the services we provide, and how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today. Calling is free, and we will not send you a bill for our services unless we can help you recover for your injuries.