Just because you slip and fall at a Florida store, does not automatically mean you are entitled to compensation. Generally, in Florida, landowners have a duty to maintain their land in a reasonably safe condition and to warn of hidden defects that they knew about or should have known about if they had performed a reasonable inspection. In Florida, there are additional laws that have been put into place for slip and falls that occur at businesses. Regardless of where your slip and fall occurred, if you sustained injuries, it is generally a good idea to hire a Florida slip and fall attorney as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected and to get the compensation you deserve.
Transitory Foreign Substance Florida
If you are at a Florida business and you slip and fall on a substance, item, or object that should not have been there, your claim would likely be subject to the Transitory Foreign Substance Act. Some examples of transitory foreign substances, items, and objects that commonly cause people to fall and suffer serious injuries include the following:
- A clear, dirty liquid on the ground of an aisle of a store;
- A PVC pipe in the middle of a sidewalk;
- A smushed grape on the ground of the produce section a grocery store;
- A puddle of oil in the aisle of a store;
- Slippery soup on the ground near a soup station.
The Transitory Foreign Substance Act provides a list of items or “elements” that a slip and fall plaintiff must show. Essentially, the Transitory Foreign Substance Act requires an injured person to prove the following:
- The slip and fall occurred at a business;
- The injured person slipped and fell on a liquid or solid substance, item, or object that was in an area where it did not belong;
- The business knew or should have known that the substance, item, or object was on the ground;
- The business should have cleaned up or removed the substance, item, or object; and
- The business did not clean up or remove the substance, item, or object.
The big issues here are obvious. Did the business leave something dangerous on the floor that somebody should have cleaned up or removed? Did someone fall and get seriously hurt because they didn’t clean it up or move it? If the answer to each of these questions is “yes,” then there’s a good chance the injured person has a solid negligence claim.
The Landowner’s Knowledge and Why It Matters in a Slip and Fall in Store Lawsuit
Even if the business did not actually know that the substance, item, or object was on the ground at the time of a slip and fall, an injured person can alternatively prove that a business had constructive knowledge, or should have known about the substance, item, or object had they performed a reasonable inspection.
An injured person can prove constructive knowledge in the following ways. First, by showing that the substance, item, or object existed on the ground for such a length of time that the business should have known about it. For example, if you looked down and saw a fresh, yellow banana peel with no footprints or shoeprints on it, you might assume it has not been on the ground for very long. However, if you saw a brown, gooey banana peel with shoeprints all over it, you could likely assume that the banana peel has been there for quite some time.
The second way to show constructive knowledge is by showing that the condition occurred so regularly that it was foreseeable. For example, if a store has a leaky ice machine that constantly leaves a puddle of water around the machine, and if this has been going on for quite some time and if the store’s employees knew about it, you might say that the store had constructive knowledge of that water puddle.
In summary, a business owner has a duty to anticipate reasonably foreseeable hazards and make sure they are taken care of. If the owner does not and if a person slips and falls in the store as a result, the injured person will likely have a viable claim against the owner for negligence and premises liability.
What if I’m Injured as a Result of a Slip and Fall Accident in a Store?
Any object or substance that could cause a person to fall if left on the floor of a store likely has caused a person to fall. Although many falls don’t cause serious injuries. Sometimes, a fall happens in such a way that the person suffers serious injuries and even needs surgery. Other times, the individual that slips on the substance is particularly vulnerable to broken bones or torn ligaments, and thus the fall hurts them more than a very healthy person.
Unfortunately, many people slip and fall at Florida stores every year and must go through surgery and rehabilitation as a result. Luckily, there’s typically an insurance policy in place when a person suffers serious injuries at a business. Whereas the other motorists on the road may not carry sufficient insurance to cover an injured person’s medical expenses, businesses typically carry big insurance policies to cover incidents on the property. In other words, like the big trucking companies that carry big commercial policies to cover injuries on our roads, businesses also carry big insurance policies. That’s why business owners pay insurance premiums every month. Nevertheless, the insurance company wants to hold onto as much money as possible, and they will fight to minimize your claims. For that reason, it’s a good idea to consult with a Florida slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible to make sure your rights are protected.
Compensation from a Slip and Fall in Store Lawsuit
Injuries cause people to miss work and incur thousands of dollars in medical bills. In addition to disrupting the injured person’s life, an injury can also be a tremendous burden on the injured person’s family members, who often must skip work to help the family member that got injured in the slip and fall. Moreover, people who get seriously injured in a slip and fall accident often suffer tremendous amounts of pain and suffering due to the injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation process. Nobody should have to bear this burden because of another person’s negligence. The burden should fall on the negligent person or business, or more appropriately, the insurance company covering the premises. For these reasons, a person who has suffered injuries due to a slip and fall in a store may be entitled to compensation.