A Florida law takes effect July 1 that requires slip-and-fall plaintiffs to prove that the business knew or should have known about the substance that caused the fall and failed to clean it up. Prior to this law, plaintiffs only had to prove that an ‘out-of-place’ substance caused the injury.
The St. Petersburg Times reported that a staff analysis of the bill in the House of Representatives predicted that the change would give businesses an advantage, as it requires an extra burden of proof on the plaintiff.
But lawsuits are not likely to decline as a result. Businesses will continue to pay out money long before a jury is involved. Settlements are increasingly common, particularly in slip-and-fall cases where a business cannot prove it took appropriate precautions to prevent an accident.
According to the Times article, Florida is known nationally as an easy place to win slip-and-fall cases. The quality of legal counsel employed may have a dramatic effect on the ultimate settlement amount.