Leesburg-Villages personal injury lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, discusses the number 1 element you have to show in a Florida slip and fall claim.
You were injured when you fell on a slippery floor in a supermarket and you've been having a difficult time finding a lawyer to help you or maybe your lawyer withdrew from your case after a couple of months –why is that? Well in 2010, Florida's slip and fall law changed in cases involving transitory foreign substances or objects – “like a wet floor.” Now to be successful in these claims you have to show that the store had actual knowledge (notice) or constructive knowledge (notice) that the substance was on the floor.
The difficulty with the notice requirement
The difficulty with the notice requirement in Florida slip and fall cases is two-fold. First, most folks who fall are so embarrassed and do not think they are hurt so they do not spend the time to investigate the surrounds or speak to people who may have witnessed the event. Second, most people do not know that they have to show the store had actual or constructive notice of the problem.
How do we show actual knowledge (notice)?
I will give you an example of actual notice from a case I recently handled. It was about 15 minutes before a supermarket opened and the workers were front the shelves. Making sure all the products are moved to the front of the shelves. A worker dropped a bottle of olive oil. He cleaned up the area but there was still oil residue on the floor.
A few minutes after the store opened, my client walked down the aisle and his foot slipped out from underneath him, causing him to fall and injured his knee. The store's employee had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition because he caused the condition.
How do we show constructive knowledge (notice)?
The main way to show constructive notice is that you need evidence to establish that the product was on the floor a long enough period of time that if the store and its employees were diligent it would have discovered the dangerous condition. In the past we used to use sweep logs and clean sweep logs but most store have done away with these.
In order to show constructive notice we need the keen observation of the client or witness to the fall. For instance, if there was juice on the floor and the floor was very sticky or there were tracks from carts going through the product and tracking further down the aisle, one can show that the product was on the floor long enough so the store should have found the issue and cleaned it up.
This is why it is very important for the injured person or somebody from their party to actually take a look at the area and try to remember what the product looked like. If you cannot provide this type of information to your lawyer, you will not be able to prove your case.
Florida slip and fall law is tough. It requires the injured person to gather and/or identify evidence at the scene of the fall. Without that information, a slip and fall claim will not be successful.
If you have any questions about a Florida slip and fall claim, you can call me directly on my cell at(352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right side of the screen.