First – remember that just because a trip or slip leads to an injury – does not automatically mean that someone else should pay. In Florida, the injured party has the burden of proving that whoever was responsible for maintaining a safe area, was negligent.
That means you have to prove that the potential slip-and-fall defendant knew or should have known that some unsafe defect existed on their property and that they failed to take appropriate corrective action OR that they took some affirmative action which made their property unsafe. I saw a recent example of business’s actions actually causing the unsafe condition when they elected to cut corners and paint over cracks in their defective floor (using slippery paint that virtually eliminated traction, thus violating coefficient of friction code standards). Another example we recently encountered is when a restaurant-owner failed to dilute their cleaning solutions causing severe chemical burns when our client sat down on the restaurant’s toilet (this doesn’t fall into the slip-and-fall category per se, but under the general rubric of premises liability). Third is when a strip-mall management company removed stairwell railings for repair and failed to replace them.
Examples of typical slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall defendants include: property managers of an office complex, parking lot or common area; a business owner (e.g. Publix, Wal-Mart or a restaurant); or even a city or county (i.e. if you tripped on a rise in the sidewalk).
Defenses to slip/trip and falls include:
Tomorrow’s post will explain what to do immediately after a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident.