Slip and Fall Lawsuits Are Not Always a Slam Dunk for the Plaintiff
Places of business that are open to the public have a legal responsibility to keep the areas where customers go safe from preventable hazards that could cause accidental injury. This is the basis of premises liability law. One of the most common scenarios from which premises liability cases arise are accidents where a customer slips and falls on a wet floor at a retail store, supermarket, restaurant, or other place of business. In cases like these, it is easy to prove the first claim that plaintiffs in premises liability lawsuits must prove, namely that the place of business had a duty of care to maintain a safe environment for customers. It is more of a challenge, however, to show that the business did not use reasonable caution to prevent accidents; in other words, you must prove that the employees could reasonably have been expected to notice the wet surface and to clean it or keep customers away from it until it dried. In personal injury cases, every detail matters, and you can more effectively present airtight arguments with the help of a Jacksonville premises liability lawyer.
Who Has Ever Heard of a Dry Laundromat?
If there is anywhere you can expect to find water, it is at a laundromat. Water drips on the floor when people move their clothes from the washing machine to the dryer and when they move clothes that don’t go in the dryer from the washing machine to their cars. Likewise, water sometimes leaks from washing machines. Unlike in retail stores where employees are constantly on their guard against shoplifting, laundromats typically only have a few employees on duty at a time, even though, at busy times, there may be dozens of customers in the laundromat.
One day in 2011, Justa Delgado went to the same Laundromax laundromat in Miami-Dade County where she usually washed her clothes. After she took about three steps past the front door, she slipped on a puddle of water on the floor. As she fell, she hit her head on a doorknob and suffered injuries severe enough to require hospitalization.
Delgado filed a premises liability lawsuit against the laundromat. The court ruled in favor of the laundromat, though. The judge reasoned that Delgado did not prove that the water spill had been present long enough that the employees of the laundromat should have noticed it and cleaned it. Water spills on the floors of laundromats are so common that it could have been there for just a few seconds and, as a frequent customer of a laundromat, she should have known to look for it. Therefore, she was unable to prove that the accident was the result of the defendant’s negligence.
Contact Douglas & Douglas About Premises Liability Cases
A North Florida personal injury lawyer can help you if you got injured in a slip and fall accident at a laundromat or other place of business. Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.