Common Types of Accidents and Injuries that Fall Under Premises Liability
Many different types of accidents and injuries fall under the category of premises liability, but how fault and damages are determined can depend on a number of factors, specific to Florida law.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal term that refers to the responsibility a landowner or property owner has for any accidents or injuries that occur on his or her property. It is the responsibility of homeowners, business owners, and other property owners to keep their property safe for visitors and guests.
To successfully win a premises liability case in Florida, the injured plaintiff must show that the property owner or business owner was negligent with respect to how he or she maintained the property. This negligent behavior normally means failing to use reasonable care with respect to the property or a specific hazard on the property that caused the injury to occur.
However, just because someone is hurt while visiting a business or on another person’s property does not mean that the property owner was negligent. The key is showing the property owner knew or should have known that the premises was kept in an unsafe condition but yet, failed to take necessary steps to remedy that condition.
What Is the Property Owner’s Duty of Care?
Most states require that a property owner exercise reasonable care when it comes to ownership and maintenance of the property and individuals who enter the property. The property owner’s duty of care depends largely on the category under which the person entering the property falls. The category of invitees include people who are invited onto the property, provide a material benefit to the landowner, are there for some type of business transaction or are employees of the property owner.
A landowner owes invitees a reasonable duty of care to protect them from dangers that are known or would have been known by a careful inspection. Licensees are people who come onto the property with the permission of the landowner. This permission can be explicit or implied, whether they are there for enjoyment or some type of social reason. Think of social guests or someone coming onto the property for some other permissible reason. The duty owed to them is to not intentionally harm and to fix known dangers or at least warn them of their existence.
Trespassers are the third category and are all entrants who have not been given explicit or implicit permission to enter the property. Under Florida law, trespassers are not owed a duty of care from the landowner, which means that the owner is only refrained from intentionally trying to harm that person.
What Are Common Types of Premises Liability Cases?
- Slip and Fall: One of the most common types of premises liability cases involves slip and falls, where someone comes onto another person’s property and slips, trips or falls on that property. These conditions include wet or oily floors, hidden extension cords, defective staircases, loose or broken floorboards, crooked sidewalks, or any other hazard that should have been known to the property owner and remedied.
- Negligent Security: Another type of premises liability involves property where the owner is not maintaining quality or adequate security for the premises. These type incidents often occur in parking lots.
- Restaurant Injuries: Another type of liability involves property owners who run restaurants where the public regularly comes to the property for the purposes of consuming food. Not only must the property be maintained in terms of infrastructure, but the owner needs to ensure that certain hazards, such as the oven or stove, are properly maintained to avoid any hazards, such as fires or gas leaks.
- Inadequate Maintenance: Owners are expected to keep the property maintained to the point that it is safe to access. If the floors to the property are badly worn and not safe to walk on, the owner needs to remedy this hazard and install newer, safer flooring.
- Dog or Animal Bites: A property owner must warn others coming onto his or her property of any animals and ensure the safety of those who are on the property. If animals are known to bite, they should be kept securely from people entering the property or a warning sign should at least be posted so that entrants to the property are aware of the danger and proceed with caution.
Statutory Deadlines in Florida
All states have a statute of limitations on how long an individual has to file a lawsuit. In Florida, the injured party has four years from the date of the accident to file the lawsuit. If the person does not file within this period of time, he or she can end up barred from any relief.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
What happens in the situations where the person who was injured was also somewhat to blame for the accident that caused his or her injuries? The State of Florida handles this situation through what is known as “pure comparative negligence.” Under pure comparative negligence, an injured plaintiff is entitled to recover for his or her damages equal to the total damages sustained, minus the amount that is equal to what percent that person was to blame for the accident.
For example, if someone slipped in a wet spot in a grocery store but the insurance adjuster found that because of the actions of the plaintiff, he or she was 10 percent to blame for what happened, the total amount of damages would be reduced by 10 percent. The plaintiff can still recover even if he or she was more than 50 percent at-fault for the accident. The amount of damages received in the settlement would simply be reduced by the percentage of blame. Many states will not allow recovery if someone is responsible by more than 50 percent, but fortunately in Florida for injured victims, there is always the possibility of recovery regardless of how much someone is at fault.
When you enter onto an individual’s or business owner’s property, even for a moment, the law generally finds that you have a reasonable expectation to not suffer unforeseen injury. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a business or property owner’s negligence, you have the right to pursue financial compensation. Our firm represents injured clients who not only seek financial compensation but more importantly, justice. The practice of personal injury law is our calling. We are a firm of high-profile, nationally recognized legal advocates who work for you, our client, never big business. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer and our firm, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has successfully represented people and their families in premises liability claims across the country since 1991. Call us today for a free initial consultation 1-866-597-4529 or email [email protected] and speak with a Miami premises liability lawyer about your potential claim. Our attorneys and support staff are well versed in premises liability law and are available to speak with you 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.