Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

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Earlier this month, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard an appeal from a slip-and-fall case that arose out of the Southern District of Florida. In the case of Sorrels v. NCL, the plaintiff was injured in a slip-and-fall accident as a customer aboard the defendant’s cruise liner. The plaintiff and her husband sued the cruise line for negligence in failing to maintain safe conditions aboard the boat.

oceana-of-p-o-cruises-1538245The Facts at Trial

At trial, the evidence showed that the plaintiff slipped on the deck of the cruise ship after it had rained. As she slipped, she put her wrist down to lessen the blow to her body and ended up fracturing her wrist. To help prove their case of negligence against the cruise line, the plaintiffs called an expert witness to testify regarding the coefficient of friction (COF) on the ship deck. A COF is a scientific term used to measure how slippery a surface is:  the higher the number, the less slippery the surface.

The expert conducted some tests on the very same deck the plaintiff slipped on, although the tests were not performed until roughly a year and a half after the accident. However, to mimic the exact conditions of the deck on the day of the accident, the expert did conduct the tests after a rainfall.

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elevatorEvery 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.

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courtProcedural rules in the legal system are intended to make the process fair and to give each party enough notice to handle certain things. As such, lawyers are to treat each other with courtesy and follow certain rules pertaining to every aspect of litigation, including disclosures. Courts typically disfavor tactics that unfairly surprise one side. The Second District recently decided a case in which one side tried to use a clerical error to his advantage.

In Andreaus v. Impact Pest Management, Inc., the plaintiff sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident. Specifically, the plaintiff fell when she exited an elevator and slipped on the ground because of spilled pesticide. The victim and her husband filed a lawsuit against the condominium association as well as the pest control company, claiming that the latter had carelessly sprayed pesticide on the floor in the area right outside the elevator.

The plaintiff’s medical records contained statements that she had slipped on water, although the sources of the statements were unknown. The plaintiff claimed she did not make such claims, and no one could figure out the source of the statements. The plaintiff moved to exclude the statements as hearsay. The court granted the motions, and the plaintiff’s attorney redacted the statements from the medical records.

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social mediaWith the rise of social media, questions of whether information from social media accounts is permitted in litigation have been a recurring question in a variety of contexts. Defendants often seek discovery of a plaintiff’s social media content, including posts, pictures, comments, and other things, hoping to disprove liability or at least decrease damages. This issue was recently dealt with by a Florida court when a woman sued Target after allegedly falling at the store and sustaining injuries.

In Nucci v. Target Corp., a Target customer claimed she slipped and fell while at the store and sustained physical injuries. She filed a lawsuit against Target to seek compensation for her injuries. During a deposition, Target asked for access to the plaintiff’s Facebook page for the reason of obtaining photographs. The corporation believed that the pictures were relevant to the lawsuit because they demonstrated the plaintiff’s physical and mental condition at the time.

Shortly after the plaintiff’s objection to releasing the pictures from her Facebook page, approximately 36 photographs disappeared from the profile page. The court subsequently granted Target’s motion to compel and ordered the plaintiff to produce the photographs she had posted and shared since the slip and fall, as well as photographs posted during the two years preceding the incident in question. Continue reading →

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commercial floorWhen you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be able to pursue a type of medical payment often referred to as “med pay.” While available in some auto accident cases, med pay policies are most often present at condominiums, community and homeowner associations, and retail outlets.

When it comes to premises liability cases, med pay generally refers to a contractual provision within an insurance policy that covers accidents occurring on the insured’s property. “Med pay” is typically available to anyone who is injured in the areas under the control of a business or home. Med pay is not a mandatory coverage but is often found in residential and commercial properties as a “good will” provision to insure people who may be injured on the property.

In most cases, policies simply require proof that the injury occurred and not any information regarding who was at fault. In other words, the plaintiff only needs to show causation:  that the injury resulted from an incident on the property. Once this is established, the injured individual is entitled to obtain money to pay for his or her medical bills up to a certain amount. Continue reading →

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condoUnder Florida law, property owners may be liable for injuries caused on their premises as a result of defective or faulty property conditions. The law, however, gives property owners a defense for dangerous conditions on the property that are “open and obvious.” This is because if a condition is open and obvious, the tenant or visitor can avoid it and prevent injury to himself or herself.

In Wieder v. King Cole Condominium Association, the plaintiff was walking in a common area of her condominium building when she tripped over an area of the carpet that had buckled. The carpet had just been cleaned by the building’s cleaning staff and was still wet at the time of the accident. As a result of the fall, she sustained injuries to her arm, hand, and neck.

According to the plaintiff, she and other tenants had sent numerous complaints to the condominium’s management alerting them to the potentially dangerous condition of the carpet. Even so, the carpet had not yet been repaired. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the condominium building under the theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a defendant fails to take reasonable care when doing something that results in an injury to another person. Here, the plaintiff alleged that the condo association had violated its duty to keep the common area safe for tenants. Continue reading →

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slip and fallIf you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may have a premises liability claim. It is best to seek counsel immediately to find out about your rights and options. A typical slip and fall case is one in which an individual falls and injures himself due to an unsafe condition on the premises. A slip and fall claim can be filed against the property owner if the owner had a duty to remedy the unsafe condition.

Throughout the years, Florida slip and fall law has changed. The burden of proof on the victim is now greater than it was previously.

Previous slip and fall law

In Owens v. Publix Supermarket, a 2001 Florida Supreme Court case, the court held an unsafe condition created the presumption that the property owner failed to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Prior to the ruling in Owens, the plaintiff had to show that the property owner knew about the unsafe condition and had failed to remedy it. Therefore, Owens eased the standard of proof for the victim.

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