Business owners have a duty to maintain safe premises for their customers. Generally speaking, this means making sure that any area that customers can access is free of dangerous conditions that could cause an injury. When a business is lax in this duty, and a person is injured while on a business owner’s property, they may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries they sustained.
To be eligible for compensation after a slip-and-fall accident, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant business was negligent. This can be done in a number of ways. Most often, this is proven through showing either that the defendant caused the dangerous condition to arise or that the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition that gave rise to the plaintiff’s accident. A recent case illustrates these two methods of establishing liability.
Edwards v. Hy-Vee: The Facts
Edwards was a shopper at a grocery store owned by Hy-Vee. On her way out of the store, she slipped and fell, injuring herself. When she got up, she saw remnants of watermelon, as well as a watermelon seed stuck to the bottom of her shoe. She also noticed that an employee was handing out samples about six feet away. She filed a premises liability case against Hy-Vee, seeking compensation for her injuries.
Edwards made two arguments in favor of finding Hy-Vee liable. First, she claimed that by handing out samples, Hy-Vee caused the dangerous condition. The court did not accept this argument because there was no indication that the store employee actually dropped the melon. That being the case, the court was unwilling to find that the store “caused” the dangerous condition by handing out the samples.
Edwards’ second argument was that the grocer should be held liable because it had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition (the watermelon on the floor) but failed to do anything to remedy it. However, the court noted that there was no evidence that any of the employees had actual knowledge of the melon on the floor. Furthermore, there was insufficient evidence to prove constructive knowledge. Constructive knowledge is a legal concept under which a court imputes knowledge to a defendant because they “should have known” about a dangerous condition. However, here, there was no evidence presented indicating how long the watermelon was on the floor, so the court found in favor of the defendant.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Cohn & Smith have years of experience handling all kinds of personal injury cases on behalf of their injured clients, including those arising from slip-and-fall accidents. Call 954-431-8100 to set up a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Related Blog Posts:
Insurance Company’s Failure to Settle Case in a Timely Manner Results in Large Plaintiff’s Verdict, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, August 17, 2016.
Slip-and-Fall Case Arising From City Sidewalk Allowed to Proceed Despite City’s Claim of Immunity, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, August 4, 2016.