Proving a Business is at Fault in Slip and Fall Cases

/ / Law Blog
premises liability

We all visit businesses on an almost daily basis. We go to grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations, department stores, and restaurants.  These stores all have items for sale that could cause shoppers to slip and fall if spilled on the floor.

Businesses know about Florida’s laws surrounding slip and fall injuries, and generally try to do what they can to keep their floors safe and clear.  But with so many people perusing aisles, things are going to end up spilled on the floor, or set in the walkway, thereby causing a dangerous situation for shoppers. Inevitably, someone is going to slip and fall and get hurt.  This article will discuss what is needed to prove the business at fault.

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about your own situation, then we welcome you to contact the premises liability attorneys in Stuart, FL at Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Our premises liability attorneys in Stuart, FL are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation.  Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate consult online with our online contact form.

1. What Duty Does a Business Owe to Me?

When someone enters a business establishment they are considered an invitee of that business.  In legal terms, that means that the shopper is afforded the highest standard of care, and precautions have to be taken to make sure they come to no harm.  

Customers, as invitees, can expect that the store managers will keep the store free from any and all defects that could cause injuries to the customers.  If they fail to do so, they can be liable for any resulting injuries.

2. Legislation Protects Businesses

Florida passed legislation in 2013 giving businesses more protection against slip and fall cases. Before this legislation passed, businesses were responsible for dangerous conditions whether they knew of the danger or not.  Injured people were only required to prove that the business failed to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their premises.  But, businesses complained because they were paying for injuries to their customers, and claimed they needed more protection.  Subsequently, the Florida legislature passed a law making it harder to prove the businesses were at fault. 

Currently, the state of the law is that in order to hold the business liable when someone is injured on their property, the business had to know of the danger, or should have known of the dangerous condition.  In addition, the injured person still has to prove that the owner did not maintain their premises properly.

3. Injured Customers Now have More to Prove to Show Fault 

It is up to the customer to prove what the business did not know.  Instead of the business being required to prove to the court they had no way to know there was a substance on the floor, the customer has to prove the business had either actual or constructive knowledge of the substance on the floor.  And that the business should have taken action to correct the danger.  

Proving actual knowledge is clear cut. For example, an injured victim can show to the court that an employee knew the liquid was on the floor.  

The harder one to prove is constructive knowledge. Customers can prove constructive knowledge by proving that:

1. The substance was on the floor long enough that the business should have known about it; and
2. The issue happened on a regular basis and was foreseeable.

As you can imagine, constructive knowledge is more difficult to prove. It takes a skilled and determined attorney to investigate and find the necessary information.  This is where premises liability attorneys in Stuart, FL are helpful. Our attorneys will make the business provide all information they have in order to prove their fault.

4. Prove a Slip and Fall Case with the Help of Premises Liability Attorneys in Stuart, FL

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of premises liability and personal injury law.  You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry. 

Our legal team is passionate about maintaining the high standards of professionalism and legal service that were established and practiced by founding attorneys Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.  Evans Crary Sr. began his law practice in Stuart in 1927 at a time when Martin County was only two years old.  He became a municipal judge at the age of 25 and served as County Attorney for 23 years. 

During his time as County Attorney, he was elected to represent Martin County in the Florida Legislature.  In 1945 he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives.  He served in the House for nine years and even served as Speaker of the House before he went on to become a member of the Florida Senate.  Today, the Crary Buchanan law firm continues to practice the example of integrity, professionalism, energy, and devotion that was clearly illustrated in the lives of both Evans Crary Sr. and Evans Crary Jr.

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations.  Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations.  When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

If you have more questions or want a dedicated premises liability and personal injury attorney in Stuart to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form.  You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust.  Call today.  

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.  You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post.  No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied.  If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.