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Slippery Slope: Premises Liability for Slip & Fall Accidents in Florida

The world of torts can generally be broken up into two categories: intentional and unintentional.  Intentional torts are those that occur when the offender intends to inflict a specific type of harm on their victim. A common example of an intentional tort is battery, which is the physical striking of another person. Unintentional torts are just the opposite: harm that is inflicted upon a victim when there was no harm intended by the offender. The most common type of unintentional tort, by far, is negligence. Simply put, negligence is failing to abide by appropriate conduct, which results in injury to another person.

The Slip and Fall

Most of us are at least anecdotally familiar with the ‘slip and fall,’ whether we realize it or not. Generally speaking, a slip and fall suit occurs when someone is on another person or company’s property and has a ‘slip’ that results in a ‘fall’ in which they are injured. A common example is when a grocery store patron slips on a spilled liquid and is injured when they fall.

Quite often, others exclaim that it is the shopper’s fault for not seeing the slippery surface, or that it is their fault for not being aware of their surroundings. While this may seem like a good explanation to some people, that the shopper is clumsy and their suit is a silly attempt to blame others, the truth of the matter is that this can, and does, happen to anyone.

Expectation and Duty

A common misconception made by many people is that they are immune to having a slip and fall. Well, think about this: how do you know when a floor is wet? It would likely be safe to say that your local grocery store has clean floors, most likely a flat and uncarpeted surface. These floors are likely to be shiny, a result from (hopefully) regular cleaning. So how do you know the difference between a floor that is shiny because it is clean and a floor that is shiny because it is dangerously wet and slippery? Unfortunately, the answer is that sometimes you can’t.

Most often, we rely on visual cues such as wet floor signs to indicate to us that a surface might be dangerously slippery. It is something that most of us give little thought, but these signs have become a pervasive indicator of danger in modern society. But why the widespread use? The answer, which almost seems circular, is because of the possibility of danger that can result in something like slips and falls. No one expects danger to be lurking around every corner in their local grocery store, therefore the store is under a duty to warn of these dangers by using indicators such as these signs.

Premises Liability

Florida law outlines a basic legal principle by codifying premises liability. Specifically, the law states that a business may be liable for the injuries of a person who slips and falls on a foreign substance in their establishment when the business knew, or should have known, of the dangerous condition. Wet floors, ice (even here in Florida), or other conditions that cause unsafe conditions for patrons can all trigger liability under Florida negligence statutes. The law imputes responsibility on those businesses and individuals who open their doors to customers to make their environment safe for those who accept the invitation. As such, the slip and fall is an important cornerstone in American business by allowing us, as consumers, to travel freely within the various shops and stores of our country without fear of unforeseen dangers that may be lurking around every corner.

Don’t Be Shy: Get Help

Most of us identify the idea of a grocery store with large multi-national chains that can have storefronts from coast to coast. With the resources available to these national giants, it is safe to say that they have robust and talented legal teams who focus solely on limiting the conglomerate’s liability from just these types of situations. If you experience a slip and fall, don’t try to go it alone. Get the experienced and talented legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact the skilled Tallahassee based attorneys at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks today to help you with your slip and fall.

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