Walmart Prevails in Florida Slip-and-Fall Case
Earlier this year, a woman lost a six-figure personal injury lawsuit as a result of a slip and fall at an Osprey, Florida Walmart. According to the Courtroom View Network (CVN), in 2013 Liliana Ballesteros claimed she slipped and fell at Walmart Store #5264 on a wet spot on the floor due to a roof leak retail store damaging her knee and back. Ballesteros’ complaint alleged, in part, that the store failed to properly maintain its roof or, alternatively, failed to properly warn its customers of hazards. The fall occurred during an October of 2009 during a rainstorm.
According to Walmart’s attorneys, the retail store put forth sufficient evidence that it had contractors regularly inspect and maintain the roof. This was done, they argued to the jury, under the terms of its warranty agreement. Additionally, the attorneys argued that the downpour was hard on the day of Ballesteros’ fall and Walmart employees not only placed a cone near the leak in an effort to divert customers but also placed a mat in the area to absorb the puddle. It took the jury less than five hours to reach its decision that Walmart was not negligent in the incident and, therefore, not liable for Ballesteros’ damages.
Slip and Falls Can Happen Anywhere
The potential for a slip and fall accident to occur is high because virtually any location may contain known or unknown hazards at any time. For this reason, these types of personal injuries can happen indoors, outdoors, or on private or public property and can happen at any time, day or night, or even any season of the year. Likewise, several factors may contribute to the accident. These include, but are not limited to, unsafe or hazardous conditions, such as poor lighting, slippery substances on the ground, cracked, broken or uneven floor surface, or missing/loose handrails or steps can all contribute to an injury.
Generally, slip and fall accidents often occur in the following locations:
- Public spaces – this includes sidewalks and streets. Notably, a personal injury claim against a public entity is a procedural challenge because of the particular requirements for filing suit.
- Workplace – accidents that occur at someone’s place of employment are often covered by workers’ compensation insurance. There are some circumstances, however, where the injured party is required to sue the employer directly.
- Private homes – even though a majority of the monetary compensation will come from the homeowner’s insurance, these cases can be emotional and spark sensitivities, especially if the property owner is a friend or an acquaintance.
- Small businesses – a smaller establishment may not have formal requirements when this type of accident occurs, however, establishing fault and proving liability may still be difficult.
- Grocery stores – proving responsibility (especially in a big box or grocery store) can be complex because, generally, certain procedures are often required to be followed when an incident occurs in order to file a claim.
- Hotels/Resorts – the issues for a victim claiming an injury in a hotel or restaurant are similar to those that occur at a grocery or big box store for the same reasons.
- Leased homes/apartments – when someone slips and falls on leased property, knowing who to sue can be difficult to discern; indeed, the liable party may be the landlord, the tenant, or both depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
Slip and Fall Help in Brandon
Slip and fall cases can be legally complicated and financially stressful. If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property as a result of their negligence, contact a Brandon slip and fall attorney to understand your rights under the law as well as any compensation that may be owed. The Florida attorneys at Reed & Reed have fought hard on behalf of clients in personal injury cases. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.