If you slip and fall on an object that is in plain sight, is it still your fault? Who is responsible for a slip and fall in the state of Florida? The court case Brookie vs. Winn Dixie, which took place in April 2017, explored this issue. The conclusion was that if there is an obstacle that is in plain sight, and you slip and fall on it, you are responsible, not the business owner.
Read on for more details on this case and to learn about the justification of who is responsible for a slip and fall.
Brookie vs. Winn Dixie Background
The plaintiff was visiting a local Winn Dixie to get empty boxes, as well as to make a purchase. He went in and out of the store four times during his visit. During this same time, a delivery of beer was being dropped off by the doors that the plaintiff was using. This delivery consisted of many boxes that were approximately five feet high, resting on pallets. For context, pallets are wooden slabs used for shipping large quantities and look like this:
During the third time exiting the store, the plaintiff noticed an empty pallet by the exit, but still tripped over it anyway. As a result, he suffered injuries and sued Winn Dixie. The justification was that a dangerous situation was created, customers were not warned, and the sidewalk was unsafe to cross because of the delivery and the pallet.
Additionally, the plantiff said that he did not notice the pallet until his third visit out of the store (when he tripped), and that he actually tripped on prongs protruding from the pallet, rather than the pallet itself.
Brookie vs. Winn Dixie Ruling
After hearing the case, the court sided with Winn Dixie (the defendant). The court ruled that there was no obligation to warn customers of such danger when it was open and obvious. Rather, the defendant’s knowledge of the situation was not superior to the plaintiff’s knowledge.
There are frequent times in every day life where danger is present, but exercising personal caution prevents individuals from becoming injured. In this case, the court agreed that the pallets on the ground were considered a relatively innocuous, common situation. Consequently, in this case, the land owner is not liable for damage. Rather, the responsibility to stay safe belongs to the individual.
If you are unsure of who is responsible for a slip and fall and you have suffered an injury in Florida, contact us for help.