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Slip-and-fall injuries: When are Florida businesses liable?

When it comes to slip-and-fall injuries, even a relatively minor accident may have devastating consequences. In addition to the potential for broken bones and head trauma, a recent study by the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine found that slipping or tripping at ground level is the most common cause of fall-induced spinal cord damage.

It is important to know that Florida businesses have a legal responsibility to maintain a certain standard of safety for their customers. When owner negligence leads to injury, the injured party may be able to seek compensation for both medical costs and pain and suffering.

Tallahassee woman receives nearly $2 million after convenience store accident

Take the case of one Florida woman who sustained severe injuries while picking up soda at a Tallahassee convenience store in 2016. The woman slipped in a pool of water that had formed in front of the store’s coolers, falling on her outstretched hand and tailbone. When her husband took her to the ER that evening, staff found that she had suffered a complete rotator cuff tear, two herniated discs, a lumbar spine injury and nerve damage in her right wrist. Since the accident, the woman has undergone spinal injections and two surgeries, as well as years of pain management and physical therapy.

During court proceedings, the owner admitted that the company was aware that the coolers had the potential to cause pooling water. In fact, another customer had fallen in the same spot nearly a year earlier. Despite this, the business had not taken appropriate safety measures to prevent further accidents. While the store denied responsibility for the injuries, the jury found the company entirely liable and awarded the woman almost $2 million.

From emergency medical care and expensive surgical procedures to ongoing treatments and the potential for permanent disability, the economic and non-economic costs of a simple accident can easily overwhelm. Those facing mounting bills should know that they may be able to receive needed compensation if a business owner’s negligence is the cause.