Slip and fall tips
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
Slip and falls occur for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes a store has a leaky roof or refrigerator that has not been repaired, thus allowing fluid to accumulate on the floor. Other times a customer in the store accidentally spills a slippery substance onto the floor and does not clean it up themselves. Whatever the reason, a slippery floor can become a very dangerous condition which can cause serious injury to a person. One should always know their rights after becoming injured because of store’s negligence.
Collect evidence of the dangerous condition
After falling and becoming injured, the last thought on a person’s mind is to collect evidence. When a person is in pain, they are not thinking about photographing a puddle or finding out the names of witnesses. Though it is not typically the first thought that comes to mind, collecting evidence is probably the most important act after alerting store employees and calling 911. The reason why gathering evidence is important is because it is not easy to prove a store is negligent in the state of Florida.
Slip and falls in Florida
In order to prove a store is negligent in Florida, one must show that the store either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and did nothing to warn the customer or rectify the problem. Placing warning signs in the area is the most common way for a store to show that they attempted to warn a customer. If a person slips and falls in an area where a warning sign is placed, it will be very difficult to show that the store did not try and warn the customer of the dangerous condition. Also, a store will be able to affirmatively show that they were not negligent simply because a warning sign was placed in the area. This is why it is very important to collect evidence on the scene of the fall. An employee can always bring a wet floor sign to the area where a person falls and claims it was there the whole time.
Did a store have knowledge of the dangerous condition?
A person who becomes injured in a slip and fall must prove that the store either had knowledge of the dangerous condition or should have known about the condition. This is obviously very difficult to prove. How does a person who just got hurt know whether the store was aware of the condition? This is why it is important to look for witnesses. A witness may have seen the dangerous condition earlier in the day. They may have watched an unattended child drop a bottle of water on the floor 30 minutes before the person fell. In this case, the witness could prove that the store should have known of the spill. At the very least, the witness could show how long the spill was there. The point is that you never know what other people have seen or what they know until you speak with them. Getting the names and phone numbers of any witnesses is the easiest way to learn what they know.
A picture is worth a thousand words. There is no better way to show the condition of an area than to have a photo showing exactly what the scene looked like at the time. Many people have smart phones on them at all times. The cameras on most smart phones are very good cameras and would work perfectly to capture a scene. It is important to do what you can to preserve your claim and while taking photos is not the first thing that typically comes to mind when a person is hurt, it will certainly prove to be well worth it when a slip and fall claim is put into question by the defense.