How Do I Prove That a Property Owner Was Negligent?

§768.0755 – Premises Liability in a Business Establishment

In the state of Florida, it is every property owner’s responsibility to provide a reasonably safe environment for their visitors—whether they are a homeowner or the manager of a retail store. More specifically, however, Florida Code §768.0755 holds business establishments liable in the event of a preventable slip and fall. This statute, “premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment,” explains that the victim must be able to prove that the owner and/or manager of the establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous conditions prior to the incident. If this can be proven, it would be reasonable to assume that they should have taken action to remedy it—which ultimately means that they were negligent in upholding their duty of care.

Proving the Owner had Actual or Constructive Knowledge

According to the law, the victim of a slip and fall must be able to prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous conditions before the accident took place. Since most property owners will deny culpability, it may be up to the victim to prove this through circumstantial evidence. As stated in Florida Code §768.0755, one could make a valid argument in this regard based on the fact that:

#1: The condition existed for an extended period of time

If you were involved in a slip and fall accident because a slippery substance was left on the floor, for example, you may be able to prove that the property owner had acted negligently by failing to clean it up in a timely manner. “In the exercise of ordinary care,” a business establishment should conduct routine checks of the premises.

#2: The condition occurred on the premises regularly

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident because a dangerous condition had routinely existed on the premises, you may be able to argue that such an accident was foreseeable. It would give your argument credibility to be able to show that the property owner had regularly failed to maintain a safe environment for visitors.

#3: The owner / manager admitted knowledge of the condition

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident and the owner and/or an employee of the business establishment admitted to knowing about the hazardous condition beforehand, you would not need circumstantial evidence to make your case. An admittance of knowledge would be enough to make a valid argument.

Taking Your Own Carelessness into Consideration

Many times, the responsible party will attempt to prove that the victim’s own carelessness had contributed to their injuries. Since Florida upholds a system of “comparative negligence,” this would be one way for a business establishment to avoid complete liability. Comparative negligence laws have been put into place as a way to reduce the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover if their own negligence had played a role in the accident. If, for example, it was determined that the victim was 30% responsible for causing their own harm, they would only be entitled to 70% of the subsequent award. For this reason, it is important that you protect yourself from counter-accusations of negligence by enlisting the help of a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident.

Contact Our West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney

Were you recently involved in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s negligently maintained property? If so, it is important that you act quickly to enlist the help of a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney from The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo, P.A. Not only will you need to preserve evidence and collect witness testimony, but you will need an experienced professional by your side to guide you through the process of dealing with insurance adjusters and handling negotiations.

When you enlist the help of our firm, these legal complexities can be managed on your behalf. For this reason, we encourage you to place your trust in AV® Rated Attorney Casey D. Shomo. To get started, simply pick up the phone and contact our firm at (800) 690-7868 for a free initial consultation. If you would prefer to contact us online, however, you can also submit a case evaluation form directly from our website. Either way you choose to get in touch, we just ask that you do so quickly.