Florida slip and fall accidents are a common source of injuries, especially among the elderly. For business owners, slip and fall accidents also pose a serious risk of lawsuits. Many businesses have plenty of foot traffic. Stores and offices, for example, may serve dozens or even hundreds of visitors and customers daily. If one of these customers slips and falls, a common result is a Florida premises liability claim. Slip and fall accidents can cause broken bones, Florida brain injuries, back injuries, and other serious injuries. For business owners lawsuits from premises liability claims can result in increased insurance costs as well as expensive litigation.
Many Florida slip and fall accidents are caused when solid or liquid substances find their way to the floors. In restaurants and grocery stores, for example, a common hazard is spilled food. Even in cases where food is spilled by a customer, the business owner may be held liable if another customer slips and falls due to the spill. This is because for the purposes of the law, it is understood that the business owner invites customers onto the property in order to conduct business. Therefore, the business owner has a legal obligation to protect this “invitee” from dangers.
In general, a business owner may be found liable for personal injury on a business property if:
1) it can be shown that the business owner should reasonably know or does know of a dangerous condition which might be a risk to invitees;
2) it can be shown that the business owner should know that invitees will not be able to notice the hazard or will not guard against the hazard;
3) it can be shown that the business owner did not take reasonable precautions to protect invitees.
Under new Florida laws, the plaintiff is responsible for proving that a business owner knew of a hazard on the property. However, it is still assumed that business owners will take reasonable care in Florida to keep their premises safe. There are many ways that business owners can keep their premises safe from lawsuits and keep their customers safe from injuries:
1) Run regular checks of the premises. In many cases, businesses can protect themselves by running regular checks of their premises specifically to check for dangers. Keeping the outcomes of these checks in writing helps provide an additional layer of protection, as it shows that a business owner is serious about keeping the premises safe. Another option is to have a formal complaint system in place, so that if a customer complains about a possible issue, it can be resolve quickly, before an injury takes place.
2) Take precautions against common dangers. In many cases, accidents are predictable. If there is a swimming pool on a business premises, for example, the possibility of swimming pool accidents is present. If a business owner serves food or drink, there is the possibility of spills. Noting common dangers and creating formal, written policies to help guard against these dangers is a savvy move for business owners. For example, business owners running a bar or café may wish to schedule regular clean-ups of the floor or have a formal policy in place for employees to check and clean up any spills.
3) Post warning signs where needed. In some cases, removing hazards is just not viable. For example, many Florida slip and fall accidents are caused by stairs and uneveneness in floor surfaces. Due to structural design, removing these dangers may not be possible or viable. If this is the case, business owners will want to post clearly visible warning signs, alerting customers of the danger.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a Florida slip and fall accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The Flaxman Law Group has offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood as well as a track record of thousands of cases successfully completed in the South Florida area. Call today to get experienced and compassionate legal help.