Slip and fall injuries account for more than 1.2 million visits to hospital emergency room every year, while stores are one of the most common places where such accidents occur in Florida.
Florida’s premises liability laws oblige store owners and all other owners of property to ensure a safe environment for their visitors and customers. Unfortunately, many property owners are negligent and fail to maintain safe conditions, putting visitors and shoppers at risk of slip and fall accidents.
But when a slip and fall accident occurs, it only makes sense that the store owner must comply with your request to show surveillance footage as proof of the accident and to establish other elements of a premises liability claim. However, that is not what happens in 100 percent of such cases, as many property owners are reluctant to show you that footage.
But is that illegal for property owners to refuse to show a recording of a slip and fall accident? That is the question we asked our North Miami slip and fall accident attorney at the Dante Law Firm, P.A..
Not long ago, a woman sustained injuries in an Oldsmar Walmart Store in Florida after she slipped and fell on a wet substance on the floor. The woman hired a slip and fall accident lawyer to request surveillance footage of that slip and fall accident in order to be able to establish elements of a premises liability claim.
Much to her and her lawyer’s surprise, Walmart refused to show the video, explaining that showing the footage would give the woman an upper hand. Walmart argued that she would be able to adapt and alter her claims depending on what would be seen on that video. But Walmart, which allegedly agreed to show the video only AFTER the injured woman’s deposition, failed to give any specific facts to back its argument.
Our North Miami slip and fall accident lawyer explains that property owners have to comply with requests to show surveillance footage of accidents unless they have a reason to believe that showing that footage would give the requesting party an unfair advantage during litigation, and there are solid facts to prove that.
Given that Walmart failed to present any evidence to support its argument, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ordered Walmart to provide the injured woman’s lawyer with the footage.
But why is surveillance footage even important for a premises liability case after a slip and fall accident? The importance of having footage of the accident and the cause of the accident (how the dangerous condition was created and when) cannot be underestimated, as this video can help you establish all three elements of a premises liability claim:
The property owner owed you a duty of care. The video clearly shows that you entered the property legally and had a right to be there (as a customer, shopper, visitors, etc.), which means the property owner had a legal duty to maintain safe conditions for you and other visitors.
The duty of care was breached. The surveillance footage of the slip and fall accident can prove that the property owner failed to maintain a safe environment, breaching the duty of care. The video can help your North Miami slip and fall accident attorney to determine not only what caused the dangerous condition, but also how long the dangerous condition existed prior to the accident and if the property owner had an adequate amount of time to fix this condition and prevent the injury.
The breach of duty caused your injuries. It is not enough to establish just two of the above-mentioned elements of a premises liability case in Florida, as you also have to prove that you suffered damages as a result of that particular slip and fall accident. The footage of the accident can show that you were badly hurt by the slip and fall, and that the extent of your injuries is not exaggerated.
By establishing these three elements, you get to recover compensation for your injuries and damages resulting from a slip and fall accident. Seek legal help of our experienced attorneys at the Dante Law Firm, P.A. in order to request surveillance footage and use it properly to document your injuries, establish damages and causation, determine liability, and recover damages.