It Was Right Under Their Nose

In a recent case, JB Law was able to secure a significant settlement for a client (“Jackie Doe”) who tripped and fell on the floor at a well-known resort.  The incident occurred on the granite floor in the lobby and there was nothing on the ground that caused the accident.  How can granite floor be considered dangerous if there was nothing there to cause her to trip?  Keep reading and we will explain.

As JB Law has previously outlined (slip and fall), in recent years, the Florida Legislature has passed several laws to make it more difficult for injured people to bring successful claims against premises owners for negligence in a slip or trip and fall case.  Now, people injured in slip or trip and fall cases must establish (a) that there was a hazardous condition on the floor that caused them to fall; and (b) that the premises owner either knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to correct it.

In Jackie Doe’s case, she was merely walking through a resort when she tripped and fell which caused her to fracture her hand which required a surgery.  JB Law was referred this case by another attorney who knows JB Law is not afraid of a difficult case and will find every piece of evidence to help a client recover the money they deserve.

When Jackie first sat down with JB, she said she tripped over the floor, and that it felt like the floor was not even.  One could not help but question the assertion that a world-class resort had indoor granite floors that were uneven.  However, the client made a great appearance and sustained a significant injury, so JB decided to investigate the case.  What he found was certainly interesting.

After JB reached out to the insurance company for the resort to let them know he was representing Jackie, he was told by the insurance company that “the floor was fine” and that we should not expect much in the way of an offer.  Well, we know that insurance companies don’t typically do the right thing unless they are made to do the right thing. So, JB took that assertion with a grain of salt and continued to investigate the case like he does all premises cases.

The first thing that JB typically does in a premises case is visit the site of the client’s fall. The vast majority of these locations are open to the public so an attorney is allowed to visit the site without worrying about trespassing.  Upon JB’s visit to the site in this case, he took a seat about 20 feet from the location of the floor where Jackie alleged the floor was uneven.  Within the first 10 minutes of JB watching the area (which is on the way from the resort’s lobby to the guest rooms), a female guest who had just checked into the hotel actually tripped and nearly fell on the same exact spot as Jackie.  Immediately thereafter, the female guest turned to her friend and said, “watch out for that spot, it is not even.”  You could not make this up.

While this interaction observed by JB would not be admissible in Court, it did show that Jackie was onto something when she said the ground was not even.  It also showed that it was unlikely that Jackie was the first person to trip over this spot in the floor.  Immediately after the other guest tripped and almost fell, JB went into the gift shop adjacent to the spot of Jackie’s fall and asked the clerk if she had ever seen anyone fall in that spot.  She said, “Yes, I have.  The ground ramps up a little in that spot for some reason and people trip a lot.  Heck, I have tripped over that spot!”  JB got that clerk’s first and last name, took some photographs of the spot that showed the slight ramp and went back to his office and waited.

When Jackie was done with her medical treatment, JB sent a Demand Package to the insurance company for the resort.  As we have discussed, there are two phases of a lawsuit, pre-suit and litigation.  This case was still in pre-suit which was why we sent a Demand Package.  Within the Demand Package, JB Law picked apart every single argument that the resort could make about the safety of the spot where Jackie tripped with evidence gained during JB’s site visit.  The Demand referenced the statements from the clerk as well as the photographs that showed the floor ramped up in the exact spot where Jackie fell and became injured.  All of Jackie’s medical records and bills along with an update on her pain and suffering was included.   Not surprisingly, after reviewing the Demand Package, the insurance company paid significantly more money for Jackie’s case than they had planned to at the beginning of the case where they claimed the floor was “fine.”

JB is steadfast in his commitment to investigating and pursuing cases on behalf of his injured clients.  The mere existence of a question regarding fault does not dissuade us from looking into claims that have merit.  As he did in this case, JB looks for every conceivable avenue to protect the interests of his clients.