Recently, an appellate court in Florida reconfirmed the judgment reached which favored warehouse giant, Costco. This was in a slip-and-fall lawsuit that was brought before it by a woman who had broken her knee following a fall inside a Miami store.
The court, in its wisdom, held that the plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence that revealed that staffers of the store were aware of the liquid substance that was on its entrance way floor. This led to the failure of the case.
The provision of the law concerning Florida slip-and-fall case regarding slippery substance on the floor and the store owner’s knowledge of it is outlined in F.S. 768.0755. This provision states that plaintiff must prove actual or constructive knowledge of the slippery substance on the part of the defendant. Actual knowledge describes the condition whereby the store owner or staffers created the condition or have been informed about it earlier. Constructive knowledge is not as direct. It can be proven via circumstantial evidence that reveals that the particular condition has existed long enough for the store owners to have taken notice of it or that the condition happens on a regular basis and therefore should be foreseeable.
This case, as explained by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals, goes thus; the plaintiff had gone to the Costco store for the first time, in the company of a neighbor. While the neighbor went to secure a shopping cart the plaintiff had walked towards the entrance of the store. Suddenly, her leg went out underneath her resulting in her falling on her knee and breaking it.
Consequently, the plaintiff had filed a lawsuit against Costco through her Florida injury attorney, claiming she had fallen on a slippery substance and it was Costco’s responsibility to ensure that the floors were safe enough for invitees not to get hurt.
While filing for summary judgment, Costco had argued that there didn’t exist any legitimate issue of material fact that the company had actual or constructive knowledge of the slippery substance on the floor of the storefront. The trial judge had granted Costco’s motion.
The plaintiff had gone on to appeal, arguing that, firstly, the trial judge gave no insight into why the motion was granted and secondly, that it was wrong for the motion to be granted based solely on the plaintiff’s testimony.
In its ruling, the appeal court had stated that although it was desirable for a trials judge to state the reason behind granting or denying a summary judgment, it was not mandated to do so. Regarding the second contention, the court noted that Costco, which was the defendant in the case, needed to show there was no material fact on any element of the negligent claim. These were;
-Costco was responsible to the plaintiff
-Costco failed in its responsibility to the plaintiff
-There is a correlation between Costco’s failure in responsibility and plaintiff’s injury to the knee
– The damages suffered by the plaintiff were due to the breach
Naturally, it is the responsibility of businesses in Florida to ensure that their environment is safe enough for invitees and should warn invitees of dangers that weren’t too obvious to invitees.
Regarding slip-and-fall cases, the F.S. 768.0755 shifts the burden of proof of constructive knowledge to the plaintiff. All Costco, therefore, needed to do was to prove that there was no genuine dispute regarding its actual or constructive knowledge of the slippery substance on the floor.
The belief of most people is that slip-and-fall cases should be fairly simple and straightforward. But the trust is that it can quickly turn complex quite quickly. This is why you need a Florida Injury Attorney to help defend your claim.