With the freezing temperatures that have been common in North America recently, it is normal to see highways and sidewalks leading to businesses ‘completely’ filled with snow. This is not the case for those living in Orlando, FL. Florida is a state known for its normally warm weather and the freezing temperatures occurring in the country has only resulted in light snow in some places such as Orlando.
This obstruction of walkways, happening in other places, may cause harm to individuals who are leaving and entering buildings. Who is to blame if a customer falls and suffers personal injury due to this accumulation of snow in front of a store? This, in legal circles, is called a “Premises Liability” claim. This claim implies that property owners need to make sure that their building premises is safe for others, or must warn others of potential situations that can lead to their peril.
Courts in some parts of the country have a law called the “Continuing Storm Doctrine.” This simply means that business owners are not entitled to clear sidewalks leading to their business for the duration of the bad weather. Therefore, if a person falls due to ice, the owner of the establishment cannot be asked to pay damages.
It is interesting to note that in Florida, the Continuing Storm Doctrine does not hold because such cases are not often seen. Due to a temperature increase in Florida, it is rare for snow to pile up and even if this occurs, it usually does not stay for long.
Facts of the case
The case occurred at a place where the continuing storm doctrine is followed. A shuttle driver slipped on ice caused by light, freezing rainfall at a gas station, which was still ongoing and suffered some serious injuries that prevented him from going to work. So he got a personal injury lawyer and sued the owner of the property and demanded that damages be paid because the property was not in good condition.
The gas station owner stated that according to the continuing storm doctrine, he is not under obligation to perform any clearing because the freezing rain was still ongoing. The court agreed with him. The bus driver then appealed that the station should not have been open in the first place under the circumstances, and with that not being the case, he was entitled to damages. He further argued that the doctrine should only be considered if the storm was heavy.
The Supreme Court disagreed and maintained the lower court’s decision. The law was upheld. The Premises Liability claim in Florida will still change as it is still a hotly debated topic.
If you have suffered an injury, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Orlando. The personal injury lawyer in Orlando will help you claim damages for your injury.