Slip and fall injuries are often caused by walking on a wet surface. This begs the question: In Florida, are businesses required to warn you with a sign saying that that the floor may be wet?
The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. Wet floor signs, regardless of the law, play a big role in slip and fall cases. But if you want a straight answer about the state of Florida requiring wet floor signs, the answer is no. No law like that exists.
Here is what you need to know about the slip and fall laws in Florida, plus how you can bring a successful slip and fall case regardless of the presence of a wet floor sign.
Slip and Fall Laws in Florida
Slip and fall cases in Florida are governed by something called general negligence theory. What that means is that the owner of the premises where you had your slip and fall owed you a legal responsibility to keep you safe, and they failed to do that, which then resulted in an injury for which you can be compensated.
Premises liability laws in the state work to protect those who are injured on the property of another person. Both public and private properties have a legal duty to keep the premises safe and free from hazards. If they are aware of hazards, then they must make them known to those on the property.
In slip and fall cases, the burden of proof is on the injured party. They must show in cases where you slipped due to a wet floor at an establishment that the owner had knowledge of the conditions and should have taken action to resolve it.
The property owner must have had constructive knowledge that the conditions existed, which is often established by presenting evidence such as:
- The condition occurred frequently, so it was foreseeable
- The condition existed for a long time, and it should have been discovered through ordinary care of the property
What If a Wet Floor Sign Was Posted?
So, does it help or hurt your case if the place where you suffered a slip and fall injury had a sign out warning you of the wet conditions on the floor? Not really.
Wet floor signs on their own will not be the deciding factor in a slip and fall case in Florida, but they can have an impact. Warning signs of hazards do not provide total protection to the property owner, especially if the dangerous condition wasn’t resolved in a timely manner.
Additionally, a wet floor sign in the area where you sustained your slip and fall injury makes it more difficult for the property owner to say they weren’t aware of the hazard that existed.
Conversely, an area that is clearly marked with a wet floor sign can add credence to the argument that you were warned or that, at a minimum, you are not entitled to as many damages because of it.
After all, Florida does operate under the comparative negligence law, which can reduce the damages an injured person receives by assigning them fault in the case. If you were found to be 40 percent at fault for your injuries, then you would receive only 60 percent of the damages awarded.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.