Florida court awards default judgment in slip-and-fall case

If you’re involved in an accident and have to file a lawsuit, you may not be quite sure who to file it against. In that case, you and your attorney may file it against the most likely owner or party that is believed to own a property. What happens if that’s not the right person? Usually, that person will defend him or herself and have the case against him or her dropped with evidence.

Here’s an interesting thought about lawsuits, though: What happens if the other party doesn’t respond? Can you ever get compensated, or will the lawsuit just hang in court forever? A news report from March 24 discusses this issue, as the Florida Supreme Court has awarded a victim of a slip-and-fall accident over a million dollars in a judgment. Why? The company being sued didn’t defend itself, and when it decided it was going to, there was not enough evidence to get the decision made by the court overturned.

The company’s defense would have had to have responded in a timely manner. On top of that, it needed to show due diligence in requesting relief in discovering the problem with its property and also provide proof to excuse the neglect of the property.

The victim in this case was a tenant of Hialeah Gardens. The victim filed the lawsuit against the company, and after several years of litigation, a default judgment was placed. Initially, the company stated that it was only an investor, not the owner of the property, but without defending itself, the default judgment still went into place and cost it the case.

Source: Daily Business Review, “Step 1: Answer the Lawsuit, Even If You Think It Doesn’t Have a Chance,” Samantha Joseph, March 24, 2016