Compensation for Persons with Disabilities Who Are Injured in Slip or Trip and Falls
South Florida Personal Injury Attorneys Helping the Community
One of the most unfortunate things we’ve seen time and time again
when persons with disabilities have suffered a slip, trip, or fall is
the rush to blame the injured persons for the incident. Whether it’s
insurance adjusters or insurance defense attorneys, the one thing you
can count on is for them to blame the victim whenever they get the chance.
And when it comes to persons with disabilities, the rush to blame the
victim is even more intense than usual.
If you or somebody you know with a disability suffers an injury after a
slip, trip, or fall in Broward, Palm Beach, or anywhere else in Florida,
call our office today to discuss your rights. Our attorneys have decades
of experience representing persons with disabilities in personal injury
cases, and we offer free and confidential consultations via phone, Zoom
video conference, or in person.
What is the Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction?
The Florida Accessibility Code for Building Construction (which we’ll
just call the Florida Accessibility Code going forward) is part of the
Florida Building Code. The purpose of the Florida Accessibility Code is
to establish the standards for accessibility to commercial facilities,
places of public accommodation, state and local government facilities,
private clubs, and residential buildings throughout Florida for persons
with disabilities. The Florida Accessibility Code provides standards that
property owners and managers have to follow in order to ensure that their
premises stay in compliance with Florida law.
The provisions within the Florida Accessibility Code are extensive and
govern all sorts of things like the size of curbs and ramps in parking
lots, the minimum number of drinking fountains required in parks, the
design of stairways in buildings, and a whole lot more.
While certain provisions in the Florida Accessibility Code may seem overly
complicated or exacting to some people, you need to keep in mind that
the very purpose of the code is to protect the rights of persons with
disabilities in Florida. The Florida Accessibility Code’s detailed
provisions play a key role in ensuring that persons with disabilities
continue to have access to the same places that able bodied persons have
access to. For that reason, it’s of the utmost importance that premises
owners and managers ensure that their premises are in full compliance
with the code.
How Can the Florida Accessibility Code Help You with Your Injury Case?
The case ofKrueger v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., 280 So. 3d 518 (Fla. 2d DCA 2019) is an extremely important case for
the rights of persons with disabilities in Florida.
Krueger, the plaintiff, an elderly man with disabilities, fell and was injured
in a strip mall parking lot. Due to his injuries, he filed a negligence
lawsuit against the owner and manager of the strip mall where he fell.
The plaintiff alleged that the defendants negligently maintained the parking
lot by not providing a suitable curb that would have allowed handicapped
persons to have sufficient direct access to and from the handicapped spaces
that were in the parking lot.
At trial, a large part of the plaintiff’s case involved attempting
to establish that the Florida Accessibility Code required a minimal distance
between a handicapped parking space and an accessible entrance to the
building via the shortest accessible route, which the premises was lacking.
The plaintiff hired an expert architect who concluded that the parking
lot was not in compliance with the Florida Accessibility Code. But the
trial judge excluded the expert architect’s testimony because the
judge determined that the relevant provisions in the Florida Accessibility
Code did not address safety for disabled persons, but instead only addressed
accessibility to premises for disabled persons. Without being able to
introduce his expert architect’s testimony, the plaintiff essentially
had no viable claim for negligence, and the trial judge ultimately entered
judgment in favor of the defendants.
The plaintiff appealed the judge’s ruling that took the case out
of the hands of the jury. In its opinion, the Second District Court of
Appeals pointed out the longstanding rule in Florida that violation of
a building code regulation is evidence of negligence. Importantly, the
Second DCA disagreed with the trial judge, and the appellate court held
that the relevant provisions of the Florida Accessibility Code “promote
safety for the disabled” and that the plaintiff’s expert architect
should have been allowed to testify.
The appellate court ultimately reversed the trial court’s entry of
judgment for the defendants and remanded the case because, had the plaintiff
been allowed to introduce the testimony of his architect expert showing
that the parking lot was not in compliance with the Florida Accessibility
Code, then the plaintiff would have presented a sufficient case to be
submitted to a jury.
Despite this important opinion protecting the rights of persons with disabilities
in our state, the Florida Accessibility Code continues to be underutilized
in personal injury cases. In fact, many Florida personal injury lawyers
don’t even know the Florida Accessibility Code exists, much less
that it can help them build a solid case for their clients.
Contact Our Office Today for a Free Consultation
Having a disability does not mean that you are not entitled to a safe and
secure premises when you go to the supermarket, a restaurant, a movie
theater, a shopping mall, or anywhere else in Florida. In fact, one of
the most important things about the Florida Accessibility Code is that
it helps to ensure that premises owners and managers maintain their premises
in a safe condition for
Our office specializes in slip, trip, and fall cases in Florida. Our office
is located in Coral Springs, and we represent clients throughout all of
Florida. We will be happy to discuss your case with you over the phone,
via video conference, or to meet with you in-person at our office.
If you or somebody you know with or without a disability was injured as
a result of a slip, trip, or fall, contact our attorneys today at
(954) 833-1440 for a free consultation.