Beginning this week, it will be tougher for those injured in a slip-and-fall accident in Florida at a place of business to win a settlement. According to a www.scrippsnews.com article, Florida statute puts the proof of burden on the injured person to determine that the business knew there was a problem, such as a slippery mess, and then failed to clean it up. Until now, all the injured person had to do was prove they had been injured because of some mishap, or spill, or uneven pavement in a place of business.
Not surprisingly, the new law was supported by the Florida Retail Federation, which believes it introduces fairness and creates a level playing field for businesses.
It is now the responsibility of the injured to gather the evidence they will need to prove their case. When you are injured, your main concern is to get medical attention, not to stop the ambulance and gather evidence, take pictures with your digital camera, and interview witnesses. The new law means the injured victim will most likely go without compensation, unless a place of business admits it had a hazard and did nothing to address it. That is very unlikely.
Since evidence will be cleaned up after a slip-and-fall there is very little chance that the injured will ever have their medical expenses, time lost from work, or ongoing therapy covered by the at-fault party. The goal of this law was to reduce slip-and –fall claims, but the truth is that very few people ever claim they have an injury when they don’t. In fact, most people are reluctant to file any sort of claim, even against a business that has been negligent.
When inviting a person into your place of business, presumably to conduct business, shouldn’t the customer be guaranteed a safe experience? Is that asking too much?