A Florida office building’s carelessness may cause your injury. If so, the victim may have an injury case against the office building and/or property manager. Many different types of accidents can lead to a case.
You Don’t Need to Be Able to Which Substance Caused You to Slip
If you slip and fall at an office building, you may not need to be able to say specifically which substance caused you to slip and fall.
In Kinney v. R.H.Halt Assocs., Inc., 826 So.2d 328, 330 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002), a man slipped and fell as he walked up the outdoor stairs in the back of his office building. He said that he slipped on a material.
He described the material like a powdery substance that he believed was “plaster board material.” He saw “little seed-like things” on the stairs.
He couldn’t say specifically which substance caused him you to slip. A coworker who came to his aid described the stairs as being covered with drywall.
The coworker said the stairs were very slippery. The appeals court let the case continue towards trial against the building owner, the general contractor and another subcontractor even though the man couldn’t say specifically which substance caused him to fall.
Trip and Falls
There are many situations where an office building tenant or guest may trip and fall. Some of them are:
Uneven or missing pavement in the parking lot.
A tenant of the office building may trip on missing pavement. He or she may also trip on uneven pavement. In the above picture, the parking space is missing asphalt pavement.
A tenant or guest of the building could trip on the broken asphalt. It could happen while they are entering or exiting their car. The tenant or guest may have a case to get damages if he or she is hurt.
The building owner or management company will raise some defenses. They will argue that the tenant or guest should have seen the missing asphalt before he or she tripped.
The building owner or manager will argue that the injury case value should be reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault for not paying attention. The victim has the strongest case if this was his or her first time at the office building.
The injured person may also have a good case if he or she had been to the office building before but did not ever see or use this particular parking space.
Stepping into a Hole Covered with Grass Overgrowth
Office building may have grass on the property. Sometimes employees of businesses in the building have to walk over grass to get to the parking lot.
In the picture above, an arrow points to a hole that was covered with grass overgrowth. This office building is in Doral, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
An employee of a business in the building was walking to his car. The sidewalk came to end. He was “forced” to walk through the grass.
Learn more about Florida parking lot accident claims.
Tripping on Broken or Missing Tile
An office building tenant or guest may have a case if he or she trips on a broken piece of tile in the lobby. The missing tile could be somewhere else in the building as well.
If you trip on broken tile in the office building lobby, take pictures of the broken tile. Also take a good quality close up like the picture below.
Measure the depth of the change in elevation.
Take a picture from far away. The picture below shows that the broken tile cannot be seen from a distance.
In this case, less fault would be placed on the injured person for failing to see the broken tile before the fall.
The above picture would help the injured person argue that the full value of the injury case should not be discounted for the victim’s failure to see the broken tile.
Take another picture about 5-10 feet from the broken tile. The picture below also shows that the broken tile is fairly difficult to see.
Take another picture from very far away to get the big picture. The broken tile is not visible in the picture below.
This case would be worth less if the building tenant or guest previously used the same elevator on the same day.
In that case, the building’s insurer would argue that the missing tile was not a big deal because it did not cause any injury the first time that the victim used the elevator. The building owner would also argue that the injured person should have seen the broken tile if he or she was paying attention.
Tripping on a metal rod sticking out of the asphalt/pavement
An office building parking lot may have a metal rod sticking out of the ground. Take a look at the photo below.
The above rod is in the parking lot of an office building in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida. The property owner and management company have a duty to warn guests of this hazard.
They also have a duty to fix to remove this rod. If a building guest or tenant trips on this rod, he or she may have a case to recover damages.
Slip and Falls
Slip and falls may be the most common accidents at Florida office buildings.
Slipping on Stairs
Many slip and fall accidents happen while a tenant or guest is using the stairs. The office building must keep its stairways safe.
The office building needs to have stairs that are slip resistant. The handrails need to be secure. There are many other codes that apply to Florida office building staircases.
Many slip and fall accidents at Florida office buildings are caused by spilled soda or water. The property manager and building owner have a duty to make the building reasonably safe.
The condo property management should have an employee periodically inspecting the floors of the building. This includes, but is not limited to, inspecting the bathroom floors.
The above picture shows a bathroom in an office building in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida. Soda on the floor.
Since the soda can be seen, the office building’s insurance adjuster will discount the case value for this. The victim can argue that the soda blends in to the floor.
This may help the injured person’s case. There is a shadow beneath the sink. If the shadow extended further and covered the spill, it would help the victim’s case.
The office building’s insurance adjuster may only slightly discount the case value if the shadow went over the spill. This is why it is so important to take pictures.
Lighting may greatly affect a slip or trip and fall payout in a Florida office building injury case.
Actual Florida Slip and Fall in Office Building Restroom Cases
Actual Case (not mine): Bongiorno filed a negligence lawsuit against Americorp (the property owner).
She claimed that injured herself when she entered a restroom of the office building where she worked.
She claimed that she slipped on the unusually slippery floor. Her lawsuit alleged that, as a direct and proximate result of Americorp’s negligence, she was injured.
Americorp argued that Bongiorno was comparatively negligent because her choice to wear four to five-inch high heels contributed to the fall.
Bongiorno informed her treating physicians that she fell while wearing high heels.
A co-worker who was wearing “safer” footwear was able to avoid falling on the slippery bathroom floor. The appeals court said that Americorp failed to sustain its burden of proving that Bongiorno created a foreseeable zone of risk by wearing high-heeled shoes to work.
Basically, the appeals court said that Bongiorno was not at fault just because she wore high heels. The appeals court ruled that Americorp was 100% at fault for the accident.
Therefore, the lady is entitled to recover 100% of any damages that were awarded. The case is Bongiorno v. Americorp., Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2015,
Slipping on a mat inside the entrance of the office building lobby
An office building should use floor mats inside the interior of the lobby. The mat should not move when someone steps on it.
Below is a video of a loose mat inside the entrance of an office building lobby.
Someone may slip while stepping on this mat. If he or she is hurt, there may be a case.
After the fall, the victim should take a video of the loose mat. He or she should take pictures of the bottom of the mat.
It may help the case if the bottom of the mat is:
- cracked or
- worn down.
Above is a picture of the bottom of a mat. The mat is in an office building in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
The mat is a hazard. This mat should be inspected and replaced before a fall happens.
The injured person should take a picture of the top of the mat. Below is a decent picture of the top of the mat.
Accidents in Elevators
There are many different types of accidents that can happen while getting into, occupying or exiting an elevator.
Man Struck By Elevator Tile Gets $30,000 for Future Loss Wages; New Trial on Pain, Suffering and Past Medical Expenses
Actual Case: Kowalski entered an elevator at his workplace, which was located at 420 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida. The building was owned by a company that was not his employer.
The elevator contained granite-tiled walls installed by Fasani. While Kowalski and his co-worker, Harold Salazar, were riding in the elevator, one of the granite tiles separated from the wall and struck Kowalski on his head.
Kowalski sued the building owner. He won a jury verdict. It was appealed.
The appeals court ruled that Kowalski was not entitled to future medical expenses because there was no competent substantial evidence that Kowalski was reasonably certain to incur future medical expenses or to determine the amount of those expenses.
That case is Fasani v. Kowalski, 43 So.3d 805, 809 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010). Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal (DCA) issued its ruling on August 25, 2010.
Florida’s 3rd DCA handles appeals for Miami-Dade and Monroe County, Florida. In Florida, the injured person usually sues in the county where the accident happened.
Miami Beach is in Miami-Dade County, which is why the 3rd DCA was the appeals court. This wasn’t my case.
Is the law the same throughout Florida for office building accident cases?
It is basically the same. There may be slight differences. Someone who is hurt at an office building property in Hialeah, Homestead or Kendall has similar rights to someone injured in Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach or Orlando.
Which insurance companies insure office buildings or office parks?
Some of the insurance companies that insure office parks and office buildings are:
Did an office building’s carelessness cause your injury in Florida? Were you injured in another type of accident?
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