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Florida Appellate Court Discusses the Required Elements of a Florida Premises Liability Lawsuit

Earlier this month, a Florida appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that involved a discussion of the required elements of a Florida premises liability lawsuit. In the case, which involved a woman’s slip-and-fall accident that occurred in a bank parking lot, the court ultimately found in favor of the plaintiff. Specifically, the court held that even though the hazard allegedly causing the plaintiff’s fall was obvious, summary judgment in favor of the defendant was improper.

Pin PadThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a customer of the defendant bank. When the plaintiff went to make a deposit through the drive-up window and noticed that the bank was closed, she decided to make her deposit through the Automated Teller Machine (ATM). As the plaintiff approached the ATM, she noticed that the area around the ATM was under construction with a barricade a few feet in front of the ATM.

According to the plaintiff, there was a sign on the barricade with an arrow, instructing patrons to walk around the barricade to reach the ATM. The plaintiff attempted to negotiate her way around the barricade, but stepped in a “pot hole”, causing her to fall. She sustained injuries to her foot, leg, neck, and back.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the bank, as well as against the construction companies that were in charge of the construction project. The trial judge dismissed the plaintiff’s case against the defendants, noting that the pot hole was open and obvious. The plaintiff appealed.

On appeal, the case was reversed. The appellate court considered that the plaintiff’s case contained two claims. The first was based on the bank’s alleged failure to warn her of the hazard. The second was that the bank allegedly failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The court explained that the openness of the hazard may be relevant to the “failure to warn claim”, but not the “failure to maintain claim.”

The court held that there were still issues that needed to be resolved by a jury. For example, one question that must be answered in “failure to maintain” claims is whether the defendant knew or should have known of the existence of the hazard. Here, there was no evidence suggesting the defendant did not know of the hazard. Thus, summary judgment was not appropriate.

Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip-and-Fall?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident and the extent of your injuries, you may be eligible for compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and for any pain and suffering you have endured. The skilled injury advocates at Cohn & Smith have extensive experience handling all types of personal injury matters, including cases arising out of slip-and-fall accidents. Call 954-431-8100 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated South Florida personal injury attorney today.

Related Blog Posts:

Court Determines Gas Station May Be Liable for Delivery Driver’s Injury on Premises, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, February 9, 2017.

Plaintiff Attempts to Use Negligent Entrustment Theory to Hold Employer Liable in Drunk Driving Accident Caused by Employee, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, February 22, 2017.

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