Florida firefighter suffered injuries on the job, sues homeowner

A firefighter filed a lawsuit after suffering injuries while responding to a fire at a home in St. Petersburg, Florida. What is interesting is that he did not suffer the injuries from the fire or smoke but from slipping on a porch.

The fire broke out when the homeowner fell asleep after lighting two burners to cook a meal. The owner woke up choking on the smoke and ran outside as the fire consumed the home. The firefighters arrived at the scene, but as they attempted to extinguish the fire, one of the firefighters stepped on a slippery tile on the front stairs of the home. The slip-and-fall accident sent him to a hospital. As a result, he has missed work and is still experiencing pain.

The firefighter subsequently filed a lawsuit against the homeowner. It stated that the owner’s negligence to maintain the property resulted in pain and emotional distress, as well medical expenses and legal fees.

In a similar case, a police officer at a home where a child fell into a swimming pool broke her kneecap after slipping on a puddle in a hallway. Although insurance paid her medical bills and she was paid while recovering, she sued the owners of the home. The lawsuit sparked public outrage and she dropped the case, but was still terminated from her job.

Although it rarely happens, emergency responders across the state can file cases of neglect against homeowners for injuries they suffer while answering an emergency call. In 1990, Florida legislators granted responders, including firefighters who are guests on an owner’s property while doing their job, the right to sue a negligent property owner. The rules apply on a case-by case basis. The success of any premises liability lawsuit depends on whether of the property owner was negligent.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “South Pasadena Firefighter Sues Homeowner After Responding to Blaze, Slipping on Porch,” Weston Phippen, Nov. 21, 2013

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