Over the holidays, our South Florida injury lawyers field many calls those hurt in a slip-and-fall accident. It is not always possible to avoid a slip during holidays because so many potential hazards abound. Our hope is that by highlighting them here, we can raise awareness and help people avoid a fall or at least some of the most serious outcomes.
Of course, slip-and-fall accidents can happen at almost any time. However, many suffer a slip during holidays because often their guard is down. Folks are understandably distracted, walking to and from stores, in parking lots, carrying packages, wrangling small children, attending parties and decorating. When a slip during holidays occurs at your own home, there may be little you can do to obtain compensate – unless the fall was owing to a defective ladder or other defective product. However, when you are a guest in someone else’s home or at a hotel or as a customer in a store, you are owed a duty of care by the property owner to make sure you are not put at unreasonable risk of injury due to unforeseen and non-obvious dangers.
From the perspective of a South Florida injury lawyer, it’s important to point out that the fact that you fell isn’t grounds in and of itself to collect damages. Florida slip-and-fall law is codified in F.S. 768.0755. It stipulates that if a person falls on a transitory foreign substance on the floor of a business establishment, that person must prove the business had either actual or constructive knowledge of the condition – and failed to take action to remedy it. Actual knowledge would mean employees knew about that specific hazard. Constructive knowledge means either that the slippery floor either existed for such a length of time that the business should have discovered in the course of using ordinary care OR that it occurred with some regulatory and thus was foreseeable.
Injuries Caused When Patrons Slip During Holidays: Top Hazards
There are many reasons why stores are dangerous places to navigate on foot any time of year, but this is especially true during the holidays. This has to do with the fact that stores are busier, more patrons are moving to-and-from and there is more of a chance something might be spilled and that it might go unnoticed for longer. Some examples include:
- Items crowded on store shelves, at risk of falling. Retail stores tend to keep more stock during the holidays, which can lead to improper stacking and risk of falling. Also, the more customers who are browsing, the more likely they are to put items back on a shelf in a way that is potentially precarious.
- Spills from patrons. The more crowded a store is, not only is there more likely to be a spill, but it’s also more likely the patron won’t alert management. Or if they do, that spill may not be attended to promptly because staffers are busy. Food court areas are especially dangerous, as are grocery stores, though slip-and-falls can happen anywhere really. (ALWAYS tell store management if you caused or even notice a spill. If a store fails to act, the next person who encounters it may have a stronger case for damages because of that notice.)
- Water tracked in from outdoors. Although South Florida injury lawyers know shoppers here don’t face the same risk of ice and snow as those in Northern states – and furthermore this is the dry season – patrons can nonetheless track in water from outdoors, even from malfunctioning or improperly-maintained sprinklers.
Although many people tend to think of a South Florida slip during holidays as something that results in only minor injuries, it’s important to point out these incidents can result in life-altering injuries, particularly when someone suffers blunt force to the head or spine. If you have suffered a holiday slip-and-fall, our dedicated injury lawyers will help you determine your best course of legal action.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Alan Jackson’s son-in-law dies in slip and fall accident in Florida, Sept. 14, 2018, By Howard Cohen, Miami Herald
More Blog Entries:
Orlando Hotel Injury Attorney Explains Duty Owed to Guests, Nov. 5, 2018, South Florida Slip During Holidays Attorney