Every year, a number of people in Florida are injured in slip and fall accidents. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a slip and fall, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. These cases can be complicated to handle, which is why it is best to seek the help of a qualified injury attorney who can assess the merits of your case.
In McCarthy v. Broward, the plaintiff filed a personal injury claim against Broward College after she slipped and fell on an unidentified liquid in an elevator on campus. The plaintiff alleged that Broward College knew or, in the exercise of ordinary care, should have known about the existence of the liquid.
Broward College sought summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff did not prove that the college had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition, as mandated under Florida Statutes, Section 768.0755.
The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, reasoning that the college was a “business establishment” under the law, and the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that the college had actual notice of the condition that caused the plaintiff’s fall. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that Section 768.0755 is inapplicable to Broward College.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals (DCA) disagreed. The court determined that the college was indeed a business establishment. The court used the definition of “business establishment” set forth in Publix Supermarkets, Inc. v. Santos – “a location where business is conducted, goods are made or stored or processed or where services are rendered.” The court essentially looked at the plain meaning of the statute. In that sense, the court decided that a college accepting money to provide services fit neatly within the definition. The Fourth DCA also noted that Section 768.0755 had previously been applied to a government-owned Florida airport.
Under the statute, an individual injured in a business establishment must demonstrate that the establishment had either actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition that caused the injury.
Here, the plaintiff was unable to tell the court what the liquid was, establish how long it had been in the elevator, or show that the college had notice of the liquid’s presence. The plaintiff’s unverifiable belief that the mystery substance was rainwater was not sufficient. Additionally, no information was provided by the plaintiff as to whether the condition occurred frequently and was therefore foreseeable. For these reasons, Broward College’s summary judgment was granted.
At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami premises liability attorneys represent people throughout South Florida. We understand that slip and fall accidents can have serious and long-term consequences, which is why we vigorously fight to get our clients the compensation they deserve for their harm. If you have been hurt in this type of accident, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that you don’t miss your chance to file a legal claim. To learn more, do not hesitate to contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878).
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