As an Orlando slip & fall attorney, I’ve said before that slip & fall cases are complicated. So the outcome always depends on intricate details about what caused the fall. Sometimes people slip and fall in businesses, or grocery stores, due to wet floors. In those cases, the businesses are required to have visible wet floor signs in the area where the person fell.
In one prior Florida slip and fall case, the court said (in simplified terms):
The plaintiff alleged poor maintenance of the business premises. He claimed that the employees created a dangerous wet condition while they were cleaning the floor, causing him to slip, fall, and suffer personal injuries.
After depositions, the defendant filed a motion saying that “wet floor” signs had been placed in plain view, warning the plaintiff of the wet condition of the floor. Also, despite this warning, the plaintiff proceeded onto the wet area of the floor, slipped, and injured himself. So, according to the defendant, he did nothing wrong.
However, the plaintiff’s witness argued back that there were no “wet floor” signs nearby. He said the plaintiff was not warned of the wet floor conditions. He basically said the defense witness was lying about the wet floor signs.
Plain English Version Of How The Court Ruled
In that case, the parties did not agree about whether there had been visible wet floor signs when the person slipped and fell. So the court said the case had to go to trial. In other words, if there was no wet floor sign, then you have a stronger case.
Lessons Learned About Wet Floor & Slip & Fall Cases
This case demonstrates several important aspects of wet floor slip and fall cases. First, all legal cases turn on complicated arguments. That means you need a lawyer who listens to details and understands complicated law. Second, slip and fall cases often require your injury attorney to reply to written motions. The defense attorney can file these. If the judge grants them, then your case goes away forever, without a trial. So slip and fall cases require an attorney who will listen to details, and know what to do with them.
There Must Be A Wet Floor Warning IF The Owner Caused The Floor To Be Wet
In wet floor slip and fall cases, there must be a visible wet floor sign where the injured person fell, but only in cases where the business owner caused the floor to be wet, such as through mopping.
In addition to wet floor signs, for all business slip and fall cases, the owner must have had some reason to know about the substance on the ground, before the fall. (The rules are slightly different in residential cases.)
This can get very tricky.
For example, the owner would have reason to know the floor was wet if they had just mopped the floor. However, the owner may or may not have reason to know the floor was wet if you tripped on a wet floor caused by leaking equipment. And the owner usually wouldn’t have reason to know the floor was wet if you tripped on a random wet spot or spill on the floor.
To make matters even more confusing, even the random wet spot cases have exceptions. For example, if you tripped on a wet spot that looked like it had been there for a long time, let’s say a dirty spot, or a wet spot with grocery car track marks running through it. In those situations, the dirtiness of the wet spot might prove the owner should have known it was there (because the dirt suggests the water had been sitting for a long enough that the store owner should have noticed). But a fresh, clean wet spot, of unknown origin, usually will not be enough to move forward with a Florida slip and fall case.
Proving the owner knew about a random wet spot can be done creatively. For example, we can use things like smudge marks, footprints, thawing of frozen material, a large sized spill, widely scattered debris, dirt in the spilled substance, cart or other track marks, dirty floor or trash littering the area, crushed & broken debris, and the like. This can also be done by showing that this type of spill happened often, so the owner should have known. For example, if you slipped on oil in a parking lot, surrounded by lots of other oil spills, that might work.
My Questions For Potential Clients In Slip & Fall Cases
I will need to know exactly where you fell and what caused you to slip and fall. I will need to know who owns the home or business were you fell, what material that caused your fall, the type of shoes you were wearing, who else was with you, what else was on the floor, the exact size and look of the substance that caused you to fall, and many similar questions. Also, sometimes I cannot accept a slip and fall case without photographs.
This website has a TON more information about slip and fall cases. You can learn about slip and fall settlements and verdicts throughout Florida here, and many other slip and fall requirements here.
Unfortunately Sometimes Slip & Fall Cases Are Not Good
As I said, slip and fall cases can be complicated and have many potential pitfalls. Sometimes Orlando personal injury attorneys must decline slip and fall cases right away if the business owner probably didn’t know about the substance. But there are some creative ways of proving slip and fall cases. So you should call an Orlando slip and fall attorney who will learn the facts, and explore creative arguments to prove your case.
If you have a question about your Florida slip and fall case, I’m always available for free consultations. Be aware of calling or hiring settlement mill firms. I handle cases throughout Florida & Georgia. If you are located in another state, I might be able to help you find another attorney in a catastrophic accident case, such as one leading to paralysis, amputation, severe burns over most of the body, or death.