In Florida, if an individual falls on a trip hazard that was in plain sight and there for anyone to see, is the property owner at fault for the injuries they suffered? The answer is yes!
We have taken on department stores, housing complexes, and countless other properly owners to get compensation for people who have fallen on dangerous conditions such as slippery floors, holes, torn and bunched carpets and other hazards.
Property Owner Liability for Obvious Conditions
In a recent court case in Florida, an apartment resident tripped and fell down in the hallway on a buckled piece of carpet. It was well known to the residents and to management that the carpet was bunched up. The carpeting was particularly bunched after it was shampooed.
One day, a resident was seriously hurt in a fall after they had been cleaned. The resident sued the apartment owner for not keeping the carpet in a safe condition.
In a courtroom, something that can be easily seen by anyone is referred to as an “open and obvious” condition. The apartment owner argued they should not be held responsible because the buckled carpet was a known, “open and obvious” condition which the resident should have seen and avoided. They argued the fall and any injuries were the resident’s fault. The court disagreed and ruled the property owner must keep the property reasonably safe even if the condition is “open and obvious” to the resident. A property owner can’t neglect to repair the danger and then blame the person who fell over it, even if the injured person was aware it was there.
This ruling makes sense. While we all have a responsibility to be mindful of our surroundings and avoid dangers, this doesn’t erase the responsibility of property owners to keep their premises safe. In other words, it wouldn’t be fair for the person who created the danger to refuse to fix the problem and then refuse to compensate someone who is injured by that same danger.
The liability is not absolutely on the property owner. The property owner may still argue the resident shares some of the blame and ask a jury to consider what portion of responsibility the injured resident may have for his or her own injuries.
Learn How to Protect Your Rights
Jim has used his decades of experience to write a free, no obligation consumer guide, Dangerous Trips to Avoid in Your Fall Case, to help victims of slip and fall accidents better understand their legal rights. Request your copy today. You’ll be glad you did.
For more immediate questions about a slip and fall injury, contact us. We are happy to consult with you, free of charge.