Articles Posted in Premises Liability

In every negligence lawsuit in Florida, there are four basic elements plaintiffs need to prove: Defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care, defendant breached that duty, the breach caused plaintiff’s injuries and plaintiff suffered monetary damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) as a result. Slip-and-fall lawsuits in Florida, however, are a bit trickier, thanks to a 2010 legislative update that enacted F.S. 768.055. This provision refers specifically to premises liability cases wherein there is a “transitory foreign substance” (something slippery that isn’t normally there) on the floor of a business establishment. slip-and-fall

This statute modifies the business’s duties when invitees are hurt by transitory foreign substances. It shifts the burden of proof in constructive knowledge negligence actions fully on the plaintiff. More specifically, the proof of the “breach” element here is statutorily constrained to those cases wherein plaintiffs can prove either actual or constructive knowledge on the part of the business owner.

What does this mean? Essentially, it is not enough that you were invited onto the site for the benefit of the business and encountered a dangerous condition that resulted in an injury. What you are also responsible to prove is that the store either had “actual knowledge” (the business/ its agents created the dangerous condition or was specifically informed about it) or “constructive knowledge.” Constructive knowledge is a bit trickier. It means the business knew or should have known about the condition because either it existed for a certain period of time during which the business – in the course of using ordinary care – should have discovered it OR it was a condition that occurred with regularity so the business should have foreseen it.  Continue reading

Florida consistently has one of the highest percentages of properties with pools and hot tubs, with the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals reporting nearly 335,700 hot tubs in the state as of 2015, with an additional 9,400 being added annually. Many of these are prominent features at resorts, hotels, condominium complexes and other locations frequented by Florida tourists, snowbirds and residents.injury attorney

Swimming pool injuries and hot tub injuries can run the gamut, whether due to unreasonably slippery surfaces or lack of gates or barriers or improper construction or poor maintenance. Determining who was at-fault and whether you have a claim to pursue compensation for your injuries will depend on exactly how and why the injury happened. For example, if a residential pool owner fails to ensure an appropriate barrier, alarm or other protection feature is in place, as required by F.S. 515.29, they could be held liable for child drownings or other injuries proximately caused by that.

In a recent case out of Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay Times reports a man was awarded $7.5 million in a South Florida personal injury lawsuit verdict stemming from a fall inside a hot tub at a resort where the spa was partially drained and unlit back in 2008. It’s being deemed one of the largest injury verdicts ever in that county’s civil court. According to news reports, the man suffered permanent back and neck injuries after the fall. Continue reading

The question of what degree of care property owners owe patrons in Florida depends on numerous factors, including the visitors’ purpose on site, how the dangerous condition arose and whether the risk was foreseeable to the owner/ occupier.injury attorney

Although we generally think of Florida premises liability cases to involve things like slippery floors, broken stairs, elevator/ escalator accidents or even dog bites.

But another common dangerous condition on property involves failure to protect against third-party assault or violent criminal conduct. Businesses in some cases do have a responsibility to protect customers or visitors from these types of incidents, typically by providing adequate security. However, a good  Tampa personal injury lawyer knows claimants in these instances must usually establish a historical pattern of the same or similar crimes at that particular location, nearby or at the same type of businesses. Continue reading

The family of Juan Carlos Rivera has settled their Coral Gables wrongful death lawsuit with the Miami-Dade School Board. A fellow student fatally stabbed Rivera in 2009.

Rivera and another student, Andy Rodriguez, reportedly bumped elbows and that was when the two Coral Gables Senior High students got into a fistfight. Rodriguez then stabbed Rivera numerous times, including one jab to the heart. According to prosecutors, the brawl was over a girl.

Rivera’s family had accused the high school of negligence, including poor supervision, inadequate security, and failing to properly determine which students were troubled. Meantime, Rodriguez has been found guilty of second-degree murder with a weapon. He will be sentenced later this month.

A woman who says she was injured in a Hollywood, Florida slip and fall accident at a local gas station is suing RaceTrac for Broward County personal injury. Isaura Velez is seeking damages for injuries she sustained last year. Velez says she was entering the RaceTrac store at S. Pine Island Road when she slipped and fell because no one told her that the floor was wet.

RaceTrac is a petroleum conglomerate. This is at least the second South Florida injury lawsuit filed against RaceTrac in the last few months.

Susan and Richard Gold filed their Pompano Beach slip and fall lawsuit over his injuries that they contend he sustained when he slipped on gas that overflowed from their motor vehicle’s gas tank. The Golds believe that the pump was defective, which is why it kept pouring gas even though the tank was already full.

Richard and Susan Gold are suing a RaceTrac filling station for Pompano Beach personal injury. They claim that a faulty pump at the station maimed Richard in March 2009.

In their Broward County slip and fall complaint, the couple contends that because the gas pump was defective, it didn’t stop the gas from flowing after their vehicle’s tank was full. Instead, the gas began “spewing” into the air, onto the ground, and around his vehicle. Richard, who was the one pumping gas, says that he tried to regain control of the nozzle right away because he was afraid of the fire hazard the gasoline posed to him and those around him. The Golds say that this is when his Pompano Beach slip and fall accident happened.

Richard believes that if the pump hadn’t malfunctioned, he wouldn’t have slipped and fallen. He also says that the Pompano Beach fall accident caused him to sustain injuries to his neck, head, back, arms, and legs, and he likely has other injuries that have yet to be diagnosed.

A Florida jury has awarded a $1.8 million Miami-Dade premises liability verdict to Francisca Vente, the woman who was assaulted by suspected killer Michael Davis in her apartment. Vente claimed the inadequate security at Bay Winds apartment, a Cornerstone complex, made it possible for Davis to get on the grounds and enter her unit.

At the time of the 2009, Davis was fleeing from police who wanted him for questioning in the strangulation death of an 18-year-old man. When he knocked on her door, Vente let him in thinking that he was the air conditioner repairman. Davis came in and choked her until she lost consciousness. When Vente came to, she escaped him by jumping out the window of her third floor unit. Police later shot Davis on the complex grounds.

Vente, who broker her spine, pelvis, and wrists during the fall, spent three months in the hospital and a month in rehab. The former condo cleaning woman cannot bend down or walk for extended periods of time and is on disability. In addition to her physical injuries, Vente says she suffered emotional injuries from what happened and still has nightmares about it.

The ex-husband of a woman who suffered a fatal fall from Roxy’s Pub in filed a West Palm Beach wrongful death complaint alleging Florida premises liability. Jessica Harris, 39, died last December after she fell two stories.

While some witnesses have said that the Lantana woman jumped after an argument with a man at the downtown tavern, others said she stepped over the security rail and said something to the effect of “look what I can do.” Brian Harris is contending that if the railing had been adequate, Harris wouldn’t have been able to fall. He is filing his Palm Beach County wrongful death complaint on behalf of her children, ages 7 and 10.

Roof Falls

The family of John Van Hoy Jr. has filed a Miami-Dade wrongful death complaint against Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort. Van Hoy died after getting caught in a Jacuzzi suction drain at the Bahamian resort on December 28, 2010. Other plaintiffs include Sandal Resort International, Unique, Hayward Industries, and other companies involved with the manufacture of the hot tub and its parts.

Several resort guests, including Van Hoy’s fiancé Nicole Cleaveland, reportedly tried to help free him, but by the time they were able to pull the 33-year-old away from the drain it may have been too late. The whirlpool reportedly lacked an emergency shut-off button.

In their Miami-Dade drowning accident complaint, the plaintiffs accuse hotel staff of ignoring Van Hoy and either being unwilling or lacking the training to perform CPR during the 45 minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive. The workers at the resort then allegedly tried to prevent Cleaveland from communicating with family, friends, or others and subjected her to an “interrogation” while suggesting that she or Van Hoy were “somehow at fault for the death.”

14-year-old Katie Ewing was injured lat week when she fell nearly three stories down a freight-elevator shaft at the Millennium Mall on Hollywood Boulevard. The Broward County elevator fall accident happened last Monday while Ewing and several friends were playing tag at the mall, which has been closed for a number of years.

Following the Hollywood, Florida injury accident, Ewing was admitted to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital as a trauma alert patient. In the SunSentinel, Hollywood Fire Rescue Division Chief Mark Steele is quoted as saying that Ewing fell 30 feet during the accident, but that she is out of the ICU and appears to be recovering nicely.

According to police, the teenagers scaled a wall to enter the mall through an open door. The mall owner has complied with city codes so that trespassers stay out.

Elevator Falls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that around 10,000 people are involved in elevator accidents each year. Common causes of elevator accidents:

• Falls through exposed elevator shafts
• Elevator malfunction
• Improper leveling, which prevents an elevator from lining up with the floor
• Electrocution from faulty wiring
• Getting stuck between the side wall and the elevator
• Asphyxiation from being trapped in an elevator for too long

Premise owners or service companies responsible for maintaining an elevator are among the parties that could be held liable for injuries from a South Florida elevator accident.

Teen survives fall down elevator shaft at shuttered mall in Hollywood, SunSentinel, April 5, 2011
Teen girl injured at shuttered mall, Miami Herald, April 5, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Elevator Accidents, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Proving Fault in Accidents on Dangerous or Defective Property, Nolo

More Blog Posts:
Inadequate Security Alleged in Broward County Injury Lawsuit of Teen Left with Brain Damage After Beating at Deerfield School, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, January 27, 2011
$500K West Palm Beach Slip and Fall Verdict Awarded in Lawsuit Against Lake Worth Lawsuit Against CVS, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, January 24, 2011
Miami-Dade County Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Accident in Hialeah Hotel Room Kills 5 Teenagers, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2010 Continue reading