Articles Tagged with slip-and-fall

If you suffer a Florida slip-and-fall injury, compensation requires more than proving you were hurt on someone else’s property. In fact, these cases are quite a bit more complicated than many people assume. A key element in a Florida slip-and-fall case is something called “constructive notice.” This is outlined in F.S. 768.0755, and was recently explained in a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (the federal court with jurisdiction over Florida). Florida slip-and-fall injury

The law requires those in slip-and-fall cases to prove the defendant property owner/manager had actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. Actual knowledge would be proof that they knew about that particular spill or hazard and hadn’t taken reasonable steps to rectify it. This is often tough or impossible to prove. Constructive knowledge, however, can be established by showing that either:

  • The condition existed for such a period of time that the business should have learned about it if they were using ordinary care.
  • The condition occurred so regularly and it was foreseeable.

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Florida slip-and-fall claims have an undeserved reputation of being exaggerated or a means to make an easy buck with an injury lawsuit . The truth of the matter is falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths nationally. Falls can occur at home, in health care settings, at work and in business locations (i.e., restaurants, hotels, retail stores, amusement parks, etc.). Work-related falls will most likely be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Falls involving patients in nursing homes or hospitals may be actionable if there is evidence of negligent care or supervision. Those injured in a fall while patronizing a business may have a cause of action if it can be proven the business breached a duty of care to its customers. That’s no minor hurdle. slip and fall attorney

In 2010, Florida lawmakers passed F.S. 768.0755, which makes it more difficult for those injured in a slip-and-fall involving a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment to obtain compensation. One must prove the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy it. Actual knowledge would involve a situation where employees either created the hazard or were put on notice of that particular spill. Constructive knowledge involves circumstantial evidence showing the dangerous condition existed long enough the business should have discovered it in using ordinary care or that the condition occurred regularly so was foreseeable.

Although Florida slip-and-fall lawsuits can motivate businesses to be proactive, these incidents nonetheless still occur. A recent CNA Slip and Fall Study Report found that inadequate flooring was the primary culprit in most of these cases. Of the thousands of sites analyzed, the insurance and risk management services provider found that roughly half failed in the dynamic coefficient of friction level (which per the American National Standards Institute is 0.42).  Continue reading

Injuries that occur in hospitals are mostly matters of medical malpractice, meaning they stem from substandard care provided by medical professionals. However, some hospital injuries are the result of general negligence (often due to unsafe conditions on the premises). Although hospitals are providers of care, they are also owners of property, with a duty of reasonable care under premises liability law to the general public who enter. medical malpractice

This distinction is clear in some cases. For example, a visitor slips-and-falls in a just-mopped hospital lobby that isn’t marked with a sign. Clearly, that incident isn’t a matter of medical malpractice; the visitor wasn’t even being treated. However, when it comes to patients – current, prospective or leaving – the waters can get muddied.

It’s an important distinction to make because the proof burden for these two types of cases is very different. For general negligence cases, one must simply prove defendant owed a duty of care, that duty was breached and the breach resulted in an accident that caused injuries. However, Florida medical malpractice cases, per F.S. 766.102, require claimants to prove by the greater weight of evidence that alleged actions of health care provider(s) breached the prevailing professional standard of care for that health provider. This considers whether the level of care, skill and treatment in light of all surrounding circumstances is deemed acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers. In order to do this, one must present a qualified expert medical witness testimony – and that’s long before one ever gets to the trial phase. There is also the matter of the statute of limitations (the time in which one has to file a case). In Florida, general negligence claims can be filed within four years. Medical malpractice claims have to be filed within two years.  Continue reading

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