Florida Leads Way in Slip and Fall Legislation


Florida Leads Way in Slip and Fall Legislation

This is a very big deal. Slip and Fall lawsuits cost operators and owners dearly and of course, they go for the deep pockets – so suddenly installers worry about gates, manufacturers must raise prices to cover insurance, and the entire industry gets beat up. I know of cases where a person walked down a ramp, where signage plainly demanded that it was not a walkway and dangerous. They were hit by a gate. Now who was sued? Of course the facility owner, operator, installing company of the gate, manufacturer of the gate, and probably the architect who designed the layout.

This new legislation puts the burden of proof on the person who was injured. It is so important that I picked up the entire story from the news service of Florida. Is it time for other states to take this type of action?


Gov. Charlie Crist quietly signed into law Wednesday a major priority of retailers that was opposed by trial lawyers, shifting the burden of proof in negligence cases, in so-called slip-and-fall scenarios.

Since a 2002 court ruling the burden of proving the safety of a business’ premises has been on the business, a situation that had retailers complaining that they were essentially guilty of having a dangerous shop until they could show otherwise. They also claimed that liability costs increased after the 2002 ruling, in Owen v. Publix.

Crist on Wednesday signed a bill (HB 689) restoring the burden of proof to a person who is injured in a slip and fall case. They now will have to prove the business had knowledge of a dangerous condition and didn’t fix it.

The tort reform measure was seen as a big priority for Republicans as well, and puts the governor in line with them on one of the GOP’s pet issues – lawsuit rules. That may be in contrast to a couple other areas that have dominated the capital’s attention – a school merit pay measure where Crist is openly considering a veto that would put him in opposition to his own party and a campaign finance bill he rejected that was sought by Republican legislative leadership.

The slip and fall bill was one of two tort bills the governor signed on Wednesday. The other limits cases in which the attorney general can hire outside lawyers to work on a contingency fee basis to sue deep pocketed defendants. Trial attorneys who seek to win big payouts at what many Republicans say is the expense of business to an unfair degree have been one of the GOP’s biggest targets over the last decade or so.

Similarly, the trial bar has been a big constituency of Democrats, who say efforts to curb lawsuit abuses have gone over the top into a vendetta against the legal profession and deny the injured and cheated a chance at justice.

Crist signed the measure with no comment, unlike the other bill that limits the attorney general’s ability to hire outside counsel on contingency, which Crist touted at a news conference with Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum, a chief backer of that legislation (HB 437).

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Only show results from:

Recent Posts

A Note from a Friend

I received this from John Clancy. Now retired, John worked in the technology side of the industry for decades. I don’t think this needs any

Read More »

Look out the Window

If there is any advice I can give it’s concerning the passing scene. “Look out the window.” Rather than listen to CNN or the New

Read More »


Send message to

    We use cookies to monitor our website and support our customers. View our Privacy Policy