Florida has a New Fall Down Statute
Last month, Gov. Crist signed HB 689 into law. This resulted in a new Florida Statute Section 768.0755, effective July 1, 2010, which requires that a person who slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, to prove that the establishment had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence which shows that (1) the dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that the business establishment should have known about it; or (2) the condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable by the business establishment. A transitory foreign substance could be something like melted ice cream, water, oil, ice, etc. Typically, the business establishment, such as a supermarket store, will defend the case by taking the position that (1) the store had no notice that the substance was on the floor (ex. “Another customer must have just spilled the water, because we inspected and cleaned our floors 10 minutes before the fall.”) and (2) the person who fell should have seen the substance on the floor and was therefore was negligent for not looking where he or she were walking.