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85%/15% LIABILITY SPLIT Premises liability - Fall down - Trip and fall in pothole - Failure to properly barricade - Injuries to wrist and knee - Multiple surgeries performed - Liability only.

Miami-Dade County, FL

This premises liability action was bifurcated and tried on the issue of liability only. The plaintiff alleged that she tripped and fell in the parking lot of the defendant’s apartment complex as a result of a dangerous pothole. The defendant maintained that the condition was open and obvious and that the plaintiff had a safer alternative route available to her.

The plaintiff was a female, approximately 48 years old at the time of the fall. She testified that she had parked her car in another location and was walking to her apartment located in the defendant’s North Miami apartment complex. The plaintiff testified that she tripped and fell forward as a result of a pothole in the defendant’s parking lot.

The plaintiff claimed that she did not recognize that the pothole was several inches deep before the fall, because it was filled with water. The plaintiff argued that the defendant was performing work in the parking lot and had set up barricades in other areas, which caused the plaintiff to be directed to the area where she fell.

The plaintiff’s engineer testified that the pothole constituted a tripping hazard in the walking area of the parking lot. This expert opined that the defendant’s parking lot was poorly maintained and should have been barricaded or posted with warning signs to keep pedestrians out.

The defendant argued that there was a safer path available to the plaintiff behind the apartment building and the plaintiff was in an area which was not intended for pedestrians.

The jury found the defendant 85% negligent and the plaintiff 15% comparatively negligent. The damages portion of the trial is currently pending.

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