FL Slip-and-Fall Lawsuits: New law makes it harder to prove cases for victims

07/01/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Tallahassee, FL—On July 1, 2010, a new Florida law that will make slip-and-fall cases harder on the plaintiff to litigate will take effect. The new statute will require the injured person to prove that the business knew of should have known about the substance that caused the person to fall, and failed to clean it up, as reported by the St. Petersburg Times.

Prior to House Bill 689 taking effect, the injured person had to show evidence that an out-of-place substance caused the accident. For example, in April 2009, Tyrin Cherry, then 14, slipped and fell on a piece of chicken as he left Kentucky Fried Chicken. His mother filed a lawsuit as a result, which cost the fast food chain $20,000.

Samantha Hunter Padgett, deputy general counsel for the Florida Retail Federation, supports the new legislation saying, “The law reintroduces fairness and creates a level playing field for business and customers.”

But not everyone agrees with the statute. Paul Jess, general counsel of the Florida Justice Association stated, “A victim usually is too busy caring for injuries to gather evidence. At that point, your only interest is getting to the emergency room, getting pain medications and getting patched up. You’re not in a good position to know how long the banana peel was on the floor.”

Jess claims the existing law gave business owners the incentive to take pictures and conduct interviews concerning the accident; but now there is little drive to conduct such investigations and a slim chance for the injured victim to prove a case.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Florida personal injury attorneys.

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