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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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$850,000 Settlement – slip and fall at resort hotel (Orlando, Florida)

Our client, a nurse on vacation in Orlando, slipped and fell on rainwater which covered a painted walkway outside a major resort hotel. The flooring was not non-skid and there were no warning signs or cones out giving her an indication that this was a dangerous area.  The design of the walkway allowed water to pool on it whenever there was extensive rain.  As a result the entire area would become soaked.  Given the flooring surface (painted), it was a slip hazard.  Businesses who have areas where it is expected will become wet have a duty to act reasonably to cover the area with something that reduces the chance for slipping and falls.  In this case, either a different floor surface or a paint that had non-slip properties should have been used.  Our client’s fall caused a fractured patella (kneecap) that required a surgical repair.  Patella fractures are extremely painful and the recovery is extensive.

One of the issues that made the case more complex was the fact that our client had previous injuries and surgeries to the same knee. When a client has a preexisting condition, this becomes an issue in any case. That does not mean the case is bad, worthless or even a problem. Sometimes this enhances the value of a case because under the law, defendants are required to take the victim as they find them.  That is, one who is negligent has no right to demand that a person who is injured because of their fault is in perfect condition.

Often people have injuries or conditions that make them more vulnerable to a trauma than someone who does not have that condition.  In this case our client’s prior injury made the fall that much worse. What was a previously surgically repaired knee now required much more extensive reconstruction and the likelihood of a total knee replacement in the future.  Although she had the prior condition, there was no reason to assume she would have required these treatments but for the negligent condition that caused her fall.

John Elliott Leighton proved that the resort failed to use a non-skid paint or incorporated an additive into the pain that covered the surface.  Industry standards would require such an additive or a different floor surface given the wet conditions. The case was litigated and depositions were taken that proved the resort should have incorporated non-skid additives or paint. We also proved that they had a “rainy day” policy whereby cones were place din the hotel lobby, but nothing was done for the walkway, leaving guests to figure this out for themselves.  Visitors with no familiarity of the facility, or for the effects of the water on this walkway, had no idea that was they walked they were effectively in the middle of a “slip-and-slide” at the hotel.  By the time they realized how wet and slippery the surface was, it was too late.  In this case it was further compounded by the fact that the walkway had a slop so as someone walked out of the hotel the ramp was already sloping down. With the addition of the water to make the surface slick, they had an additional hazard to walk on.

A slip and fall injury is one where someone slips (or trips) because of a condition on the premises.  That may be a slippery floor from a substance, an obstruction that is not obvious, or another defect or condition that causes someone to lose their balance and hit the ground.  Falling is not just an embarrassment (though most people feel that way when they first fall).  For many it is life threatening.  This is particularly true for people as they age.  Fractured hips are very common among older people, and when they fall from a negligent condition – or a slip and fall – that can have catastrophic consequences.

When people go on vacation, or even if they are away for business, they are almost always unfamiliar with the premises at which they are staying.  Combining the unfamiliar property with weather conditions and a poor choice for flooring surfacing, can turn any trip into a medical disaster.

Mr. Leighton secured a confidential settlement of $850,000 for this client, who has been able to return to work. She had been trained and worked as a nurse for years.

Many times people wonder “what is my slip and fall case worth?” This case is an example of some of the factors that go into determining the value of a slip and fall case.  Every case is different: the facts, conditions, injuries and treatments.  At Leighton Law, we treat every case as unique, working with our clients, experts and our client’s treating health care providers to obtain the very best recovery possible.

Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.

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