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Last Update: 5/26/18

Evaluating Whether Or Not A Victim Has A Claim For Damages

Quick Help: What to do immediately after a restaurant slip and fall:

  1. If you are able, try to take immediate notice of what caused you to fall.
  2. If possible, take pictures of where you fell and what caused you to fall. If not, have someone else take pictures of the scene.
  3. Gather the name and contact information of any witnesses (if any), including employees.
  4. Request that an incident report be prepared and that a copy be provided to you.
  5. Take an ambulance to the hospital if your injuries are significant enough. Otherwise, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
  6. Give an accurate history of what occurred to any health care provider you see.
  7. Provide an accurate account of any medical history to any health care provider, including whether or not you had previous problems in the area(s) of the body you injured in the fall

South Florida is known around the globe for its fine dining and world-class restaurants. Part of the fun in vacationing in Miami is to visit our restaurants and to take in our multiculturalism.  Our restaurants are busy with locals and visitors looking for fun and good food.

Which means, with all of these people walking around our restaurants there is an increased risk that someone is going to slip and fall and get hurt in a Florida restaurant accident.

Do you have an injury claim if you slip and fall on a greasy restaurant floor?

Under Florida law, a slip and fall victim has a legal claim against a restaurant if they can show that the restaurant was negligent in its business operations and that this negligence was what caused the slip and fall to occur.

However, the fact of falling in a restaurant alone, even one with a greasy restaurant floor, is not enough to pursue a slip and fall injury claim. Falling is a necessary fact in your case, but you also need to prove an unsafe condition and knowledge by the restaurant of the dangerous condition.

Is there an Unsafe Condition?

If the floor was slippery because grease was spilled on it, that shows that there was an unsafe condition. An unsafe condition is an important fact in being able to pursue an injury claim, but did the restaurant know of the condition or should it have known?

Falling is a necessary fact in your case, but you also need to prove an unsafe condition and knowledge by the restaurant of the dangerous conditions.

Did the Restaurant Have Knowledge?

An injury victim, (in this case, someone who has fallen on a greasy floor in a Florida restaurant), also has to show that the defendant restaurant knew about that unsafe condition or reasonably should have known about the grease on their floor and did not act timely or adequately to correct or warn of the condition.

It is only when you can provide evidence establishing that the grease was on the restaurant floor and that the restaurant breached its duty by failing to fix or warn of that dangerous condition that someone can be awarded damages and injury compensation.

To prevail, an injury lawyer will have to establish or determine things like:

  • How much grease was on the floor? A little, or a lot? Lots of grease can be a problem for a defendant.
  • How long was the grease on the floor? The longer it was there, the better your argument that the restaurant was negligent.
  • Did you know that the grease was there before you fell? If you knew, then the defendant will argue that you contributed in large part to the accident.
  • Did you tell someone or file a report that you slipped on grease at the time it happened? If you don’t say anything about seeing grease on the floor, or if you don’t have it on your shoes or pants’ leg at the time of the accident, then it might be harder to prove that grease caused the fall.

Read: Proving A Restaurant Had Actual Or Constructive Knowledge Of A Dangerous Condition

Was There a Warning Sign?

The restaurant has a duty to clean their floors, and/or it has a duty to place a warning sign of an unsafe condition as soon as the defendant knows that the grease is on the floor.

Timing is key here.

If, for example, a waiter drops a tray and grease gets on the floor and you slip and fall before the waiter has a reasonable amount of time to get back and clean the area or place a warning cone, then the fact that there is not a warning sign when you fell does not automatically mean the restaurant is legally liable.

However, if that waiter dropped the tray and spilled grease on the floor and then you slipped in that grease 30 minutes later — and no one has bothered to place a warning sign during that half-hour, then the failure to place that warning sign is evidence that the restaurant breached its duty and evidence of their negligence.

Obviously, as with every slip and fall case, the particular circumstances of a situation, including the ability to prove facts, are key to whether or not a viable legal injury claim can be brought under Florida law.

Lastly, Did the Restaurant Fail to Take Reasonable Care?

One of the key elements in a slip and fall case is whether or not a jury will find that the restaurant failed to take reasonable care of its floors, and the greasy condition of that floor, at or before the slip and fall occurred. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate this issue based upon the facts (video surveillance, witness testimony, pictures, reports, etc…), and estimate the amount of damages someone may be entitled to under Florida negligence law.

From Florida Statutes 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.

Why Type of Damages Can a Victim Recover in a Restaurant Slip and Fall?

In Florida, if a victim is able to prove negligence and prove the negligence was the cause of the slip and fall, the victim can potentially recover economic (monetary) damages, and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are monetary losses a victim may have incurred, such as:

  • Medical bills,
  • EMS bills,
  • Out of pocket expenses,
  • Lost wages

Non-economic damages include:

For a list of slip and fall cases successfully settled or won by Alan Sackrin, see: Sample Case Verdicts and Settlements

What Should You Do?

A good piece of advice if you have been harmed by a slip and fall at a restaurant, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.



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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