Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

As 'slip and fall' lawsuits blossom, basic items become dangerous hazards

Consumers beware: Hand sanitizer, fried potatoes, champagne, napkins, urine and a host of other everyday substances are lurking to land you on your keister.

At least that's what it feels like plowing through a pile of "slip and fall" lawsuits filed in Hillsborough and Pinellas courts. In these filings, everyday items become hazards blamed for causing people across Tampa Bay to slip, fall and suffer injuries in places ranging from an Outback Steakhouse restaurant and Target store to a museum and skateboard park.

The lawsuits claim owner negligence.

No doubt the recent recession aggravated things. Businesses pressed by hard times grew less vigilant about cleaning floors or warning customers of hazards. On the flip side, financially struggling patrons smelled opportunity in slippery floor mishaps.

But, come on, people. Reading some of these lawsuits, it's a wonder any of us make it through the day without contemplating litigation against somebody for something.

"Slip and fall" lawsuits is a loaded phrase. It reeks of too many TV-hyped lawyers seeking plaintiffs to sue over basic accidents. But let's be fair: Not all such legal claims are undeserving.

Frivolous or legit? You can get a sense from this sampling of recent cases:

• Angelina Nepa says she slipped on hand sanitizer and fell while at the Glazer Children's Museum this summer. She says she "neither saw the hand sanitizer nor any cautionary signs before she fell."

• Shopper Khaduah Nashagh says she was at a Tampa Walmart when she slipped and fell on a "fried potato" near the cash register. Nashagh says she sustained permanent injuries and a reduced ability to lead a normal life or earn money.

• Nearing his 76th birthday, Palmetto resident Carl Miller joined his family for dinner at an Outback Steakhouse in Plant City. Waiting for a table at the bar, Miller reached for his beverage when his bar stool allegedly slipped on a floor covered with grease. He fell backward and broke his neck. He died two weeks later.

• Nancijane McHenry says she was at a Target in Brandon when she slipped on what she thought was urine and fell. She allegedly suffered hospitalization, medical expenses, and a loss of earnings.

• Randy McAdoo says he was skateboarding at the SkatePark of Tampa when an unnamed employee began spraying champagne. McAdoo alleges he was seriously injured when he slipped and fell on the bubbly brew.

• Rocio Doherty was at the Acropolis in Riverview when its staff began dancing and "negligently and dangerously" tossing napkins into the air, as they do at all of the Greek restaurant chain's locations. While the staff typically sweeps up afterward, Doherty later slipped on a stray napkin and suffered "severe" injuries, including a fractured kneecap that required two surgeries.

Proving negligence is no slam dunk. Did the owner fail to clean up a slippery floor in a timely manner or was there simply insufficient time to do so before the fall? Could a reasonable customer see a floor hazard and be more responsible to avoid slipping?

Sometimes it really boils down to being more careful out there.

See you in court.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Published: 06/21/18
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Published: 06/21/18
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Published: 06/21/18
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Published: 06/21/18
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Published: 06/21/18
Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impact...
Published: 06/21/18