I was injured when I tripped over a dangerous defect, which was open and obvious. Is there a case?
When someone is injured in the State of Florida in a trip or slip and fall due to a negligent and dangerous condition, many times that at fault party will claim that the accident was the victim’s fault because they should have seen the object that caused them to fall. It is true that if you should have seen the dangerous condition, your recovery may be reduced by your percentage of negligence in not observing and avoiding the dangerous condition. But the open and obvious nature of the condition does not necessarily preclude you from recovering from your injuries.
The law in Florida is that the owner of the property has a duty to exercise reasonable care for the protection of people invited onto the property. When the injured party is able to establish that there was a hazard, there is a question of whether the owner of the property should have anticipated whether the condition was dangerous, even if there hazard was apparent. An example of this would be a situation where the owner of property allows ice to remain on a stairway. Even though a person using the stairs might be able to observe the ice, he or she would have no option but to use the stairs, risking falling due to the dangerous condition.
Courts have also held that items such as parking bumpers that are improperly marked or placed in inappropriate locations can create a hazardous condition for which the property owner is liable, even if the parking bumper was in plain view. Our office has successfully handled cases such as when an elderly woman at an assisted living facility tripped over a clear acrylic side table in a card room. The defense argued that the table was open and obvious to our client and asked the Court to dismiss the case; however, we were able to establish that the clear nature of the table created a hazard and did not prevent our client from proceeding with her claim.
If you were injured in a fall down accident, certainly whether or not you should have seen the danger is an important factor, but it does not necessarily keep you from making a claim for damages. If you have a question about a situation such as this, give the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer a call and we will be happy to answer your questions.