Florida business owners have a duty to keep their patrons safe in their establishments. That means if conditions become hazardous, as with cracked floors or liquid spills, management must take action to restore the affected area to a safe state. But in the event you do slip and fall in a place of business, how is negligence on the part of the business established? Florida law provides some guidance.

According to Florida Statute 768.0755, in the event a person slips and falls on what the law calls a “transitory foreign substance,” to prove negligence, it should be established that the place of business had possessed knowledge of a dangerous situation. The hazard, in other words, was clearly known to business ownership or management. Alternatively, negligence can be established if the business possessed constructive knowledge of the hazard.

Florida law explains how a place of business would have constructive knowledge of a dangerous situation. Although a business might not know directly about a hazard on the property, the hazard would have existed for so long a period of time that business management should have discovered the hazard before an accident occurred. Alternatively, the hazard was something that happened with regularity, an occurrence that could be predicted and therefore prevented by the business staff.

Negligence, as described here, is not the only method to determine whether a business is at fault for an accident. The statute makes it clear that defining negligence does not affect what is known as common law duty of care. Duty of care simply means that a person or a business owner owes a duty to others that takes their well being into account and acts accordingly. A deficiency of this care could also result in a finding of fault.

Because personal injury accidents happen in many different ways, only read this article as general information. It is not a substitute for the legal counsel of a personal injury attorney.