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Last Update: 10/14/21

Florida Premises Liability Law Controls Your Claim – Specifically, Florida Statute 768.0755.

Florida is a fun place to be — those that live here know it, and people coming here for family vacations or winter living (snowbirds) know it, too. We have sun and sand and friendly people. And, we also have a whole lot of fun parks here, Theme Parks and Amusement Parks – Busch Gardens (Tampa); SeaWorld (Orlando); Universal Studios (Orlando); Gatorland (Orlando); and, of course, Walt Disney World.

 

Busch Gardens, Busch Gardens Africa, public domain image

Busch Gardens Skyride at Florida amusement park Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Florida.

What Duty Do Theme Parks Have To Their Visitors When it Comes to Water, Slime or Other Transitory Substances?

In all of these places throughout the State of Florida, people come to have a good time — and these businesses invite them to come for a fun experience as part of their for-profit operations. Accordingly, Florida law places upon these businesses a duty to protect and keep safe those that have been invited to come and spend their time and money at their business establishment.

The definition of that duty depends upon the operations on the premises. Alligator gardens need to be safe from wet or slimy sidewalks and, of course, from any contact between man and beast. Water parks have a duty to monitor water on sidewalks, trolley tracks, and all sorts of places where slippery surfaces could cause harm.

The standard of care a theme park must use when it comes to water or other slimy or transitory substance on the floor depends on the location.  Meaning, the precautions they have to take at the restroom can be very different than those in the loading and unloading zones of a ride.

Refreshment stands and restaurants at all of these places must protect their customers from fallen food items or other messes that might cause a patron to slip and fall and hurt themselves. Bars, the same safety measures should be in place.

Public restrooms must be kept clean and safe, too. Floors near toilets and sinks are notorious for causing a slip and fall accident where someone is hurt as they slip and fall on hard tile, linoleum, or concrete bathroom floors.

Related: How to Prove a Slip and Fall Claim at Disney World in 2021

What Do The Numbers Say?

Most wet floor slip and fall injuries are minor: a child slips near the water slide and suffers a bloodied knee, ankle sprain or a stubbed toe, for example. However, theme park slip and falls can result in serious and severe injuries for amusement park visitors, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken ankles, wrists, hips, and broken shoulders where there may be lifelong complications.

It’s been reported that 50% of the injuries that happen at Florida theme parks are caused by slip and fall accidents. Therefore, slip and fall injury victims from an accident at Disney or another Florida theme park need to be aware that these amusement park businesses are prepared for slip and fall claims and ready to deal with defending themselves against a demand for compensation (including pain and suffering and lost wages).

Florida Law for Theme Park Slip and Falls on Transitory Substances – Florida Statute 768.0755

Plaintiffs have legal remedies against a Florida theme park or Florida amusement park for an injury under the same Florida Statute (768.0755) and case law that applies to slip and fall injuries at grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, and resorts. Florida premises liability law protects people who have been hurt in a slip and fall accident at a Florida theme park – whether they were hurt on a ride, in a restaurant, near the water slide, or in the restrooms.  The 2021 version of 768.0755 states:

768.0755 Premises liability for transitory foreign substances in a business establishment.

(1) If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:

(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
(2) This section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises.
History.s. 1, ch. 2010-8.

 

Interestingly, under this statute, there is a lot of case law relating to the business owner’s knowledge of the dangerous condition, the sufficiency of the evidence of the dangerous condition, and summary judgments.  Why does it matter that there is a lot of case law around these issues because those cases can be very helpful to proving and winning a case (they give a victim a window into how the law has been applied in other cases)?

 

Can You Get A Settlement?

If you’ve had a wet floor slip and fall at a Florida theme park, you may well have a viable claim against the amusement company or theme park corporation for damages. However, will the theme park settle? Maybe. The Orlando Sentinel’s investigation into slip and falls at theme park found that there were lots of confidential settlement agreements entered into based upon these claims (this is our experience too).

Will they deny responsibility? Maybe. The same investigation also revealed that the defense lawyers for these theme parks and amusement parks will fight hard against a plaintiff’s claims (More than two-thirds of the cases filed against a theme park remained active in court for at least a year. Some cases were active for at least 5 years).

Related: Slip and Falls in Hotel Bathrooms

What Should You Do?

A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in a slip and fall caused by water or other transitory substance, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has spent over 35 years evaluating accident facts, applying the law, and effectively asking juries to render a favorable verdict. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in-person) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 
 
 
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