The Florida Record reports that a personal injury lawsuit was recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against the Carnival Corporation alleging that the company’s negligence caused a woman to be seriously injured when she slipped while aboard one of their cruise ships. According to the lawsuit, the injured plaintiff (i.e. the woman suing) was aboard the Carnival Liberty when she slipped and fell on the ship’s casino dance floor. Allegedly the plaintiff slipped because the dance floor was wet, slippery, and/or made out of a hazardous material. The plaintiff claims that because of this fall she endured physical pain, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, aggravation of a pre-existing condition, and incurred medical expenses.
The injured plaintiff in this case is arguing that the Carnival Corporation should be held responsible for her injuries because they did not equip the dance floor with a non-slip top coat and failed to maintain the dance floor in a clean and dry condition (or to place warning signs around the hazardous portion of the dance floor). Is this argument valid? It is impossible to definitively say one way or the other how a court would rule if this case ends up going to trial, however the plaintiff would only win her case if she is able to prove all of the elements outlined below.
The Elements of a Slip and Fall Case in Florida
When a slip and fall personal injury case goes to trial in Florida the injured plaintiff bears the burden of proving all of the following elements of their case:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Whether or not the slip and fall defendant owed the injured plaintiff a duty of care frequently turns on whether the plaintiff was classified as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser at the time of the accident as Florida law requires property owners to exercise a different level of care towards each class of visitor. For example, property owners in Florida owe invitees (i.e. individuals who enter a property in order to conduct business) a duty to exercise reasonable care in the upkeep of their premises.
- The defendant breached this duty. In order to prove that a slip and fall defendant breached the duty of care owed to an invitee the plaintiff must show that the defendant both acted unreasonably in maintaining their property and that the defendant knew of the dangerous condition that ultimately caused the accident. Florida Statutes section 768.0755.
- The breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Next, the plaintiff must be able to show that their injuries and damages were actually caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. Generally this is demonstrated through the use of a “but-for test” (i.e. but for the defendant’s negligence the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred).
- As a result the plaintiff suffered compensable damages. Lastly, the injured plaintiff must be able to adequately demonstrate the losses that he or she suffered as a result of the slip and fall.
Reach Out to Us for Help
Anyone who has been injured in Florida due to a slip and fall accident should consult with the experienced personal injury lawyers of Piccin & Glynn Lawyers at Law in order to discuss their legal options. Slip and fall accidents frequently result in serious injuries that translate into substantial medical expenses. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence don’t be afraid to fight for the compensation that you are legally entitled to. To schedule a free initial consultation contact our Ocala office today by calling 352-558-8480.