An Examination of Florida’s Laws Related to Slip And Fall Liability
Last month, a Florida woman faked a fall in a grocery store in Monticello. The surveillance video showed her getting up after her “fall”, looking around, and then sitting down again as soon as employees came back to attend to her. She was later charged with two counts of insurance fraud.
The rise of fraudulent slip and fall claims have resulted in more restrictive laws being passed nationwide, and consequently, it is increasingly difficult to win these cases. Florida, which used to have the most lenient legislation in the country (and coincidentally, the highest percentage of slip and fall cases), modified its laws on July 1, 2010 in an effort to end frivolous slip and fall cases, and protect business owners from having to settle in order to avoid the costs of litigation.
The 2010 legislative changes shifted the burden of proof from the defendant business owners to the plaintiffs, and made it far more difficult for plaintiffs to prove their case. Florida law now requires that that you prove that the owner of the premises had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused your fall, and that the owner should have taken action to remedy it. Proving constructive knowledge on the owner of the premises means that there is evidence of the following:
- The dangerous condition existed for a long enough period of time that the owner should have known about it; or
- The condition occurred on a regular basis and was therefore foreseeable.
The common-law standard of care still applies, which requires that owners maintain safe conditions on their premises. However, if you have been injured, you have the burden of proving that the owner of the business or premises knew about the unsafe condition that caused your fall, and that they failed to remedy it in time to protect you from being injured.