I fell while visiting a college. Can I sue?

Florida statutes state that in order to sue a business due to a transitory foreign substance (water, food, etc) on the floor, the injured person must prove that the business had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. Constructive notice means showing that the dangerous condition existed on the floor for such a length of time that the business should have known of the hazard, or that the condition was regularly occurring. Many businesses use this definition to avoid responsibility for accidents on its premises by claiming that it had no knowledge of the dangerous condition.

So what about a college campus? Is that a “business” that allows it to avoid responsibility for persons slipping and being injured? According to the case of McCarthy v Broward College, a college is considered a business for purposes of the statute. In that case, Ms. McCarthy was in an elevator at Broward College when she slipped on an unidentified liquid. She sued the college for negligence. The Court said that even though a college is different than a grocery store or other retail outlet, Broward College is still a business establishment where services are rendered for a fee. Based upon this reasoning, the Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim. This does not mean that you cannot sue a college for negligence, but it does imply that the same rules of proof apply to a college as would apply to any other retail establishment.

If you are injured in any slip and fall, consult with the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer, who can evaluate the facts of your claim and determine if there is sufficient evidence to pursue a claim and obtain compensation for your injuries.

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