Ft. Lauderdale Premise Liability
July 12, 2011
Premise liability law is the body of law that makes owners of land or premises responsible for injuries suffered by people who are present on the premises. Florida premises law states that the person who is responsible for maintaining a property in a safe condition is liable if someone is injured due to negligent maintenance. Property owners have a legal obligation to warn visitors or tenants of hazards that exist on their property. This applies to all types of Florida properties – stores and businesses open to the general public, private homes or even rental properties. Too often, no warning is issued, resulting in serious injury.
In a Ft. Lauderdale shopping mall, the management company may be responsible for the common areas while the individual store owners must maintain their store in good condition. If someone slips and falls, the injured party has a legal right to sue.
A Macomb County homeowner with a pool could be liable for any accidents or injuries in their pool, regardless of their presence or permission.
All Florida property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their property and ensure it safety. Their responsibilities include:
- Private homes – Open and obvious hazards do not require a posted or verbal warning; however, less obvious hazards that could not be detected by a reasonable person (such as a vicious dog) require a posted warning. Anyone who is injured on your Florida personal property, regardless if they are an invited guest or a trespasser, may have the legal rights to sue you if you do not post warnings about hidden hazards on your property.
- Businesses open to the public – Business owners are held to the highest standards of care to their customers. Their property must be maintained and free of hazards. Any hazard that could cause a personal injury must have a warning sign. Additionally, the property should be regularly inspected. If a customer slips in a grocery store, for instance, the store must show that employees inspected the aisles regularly for debris or fallen items and that even with careful and frequent inspections, they were unable to prevent the accident.
- Trespassers – Although hard to believe, Florida trespassers have legal rights even if they enter a property without permission from the residential or commercial property owner. The property owner must not intentionally or recklessly injure them as trespassers are entitled to some degree of protection. Different rules apply to children, however, as a result of their natural curiosity. A property owner can be liable for a child’s injuries if there is anything dangerous on the property and children are known or can be expected to come there. Examples of potential hazards would be an old refrigerator where a child could get locked inside or a riding lawn mower that a child might try to drive.
Types of Premises Liability
Although slips and falls from uneven terrain, unnoticeable steps or slippery surfaces are probably the most common premises liability, there are other conditions which present hazards:
- Vicious dogs
- Poor lighting
- Hard to see potholes
- Elevator malfunctions or failures such as being locked in or injured by a defective door
- Staircase injuries due to structural instability or inadequate handrails
- Toxic mold that can cause respiratory problems
- Falling debris
- Dangerously protruding objects
- Unsafe accumulation of ice or snow (rare in Florida!)
- Lead paint
- Drowning accidents in swimming pools
- Negligent security
Florida “trip and fall” cases aren’t always easy to prove. The injured party must demonstrate that their injury was caused by an unsafe condition, or that the property owner/manager did not maintain the premises. Secondly, the victim must show the owner/manager was aware of the condition (and did not warn visitors), or should have known about the condition that caused the accident.
That is why you need a Florida attorney experienced in premises liability law to get compensation on your behalf for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages or wrongful death. An experienced Florida premises liability lawyer who is adept at negotiating with the property owner, and their insurance provider on your terms – not theirs.The law firm of Lawlor Winston provides the very best representation to their clients – ensuring they are represented at the highest and most effective levels, focusing on protecting the rights of individuals and families. Practice areas include Catastrophic Personal Injury including Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Premises Liability, Insurance Bad Faith Disputes, Professional Malpractice, Commercial Litigation, Maritime/Admiralty, Labor & Employment Disputes and ERISA Claims. The firm is headquartered at 2211 Davie Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale, FL33312. They may be contacted at 954-525-2345. Additional information about Lawlor Winston may be obtained from the Firm’s website at www.lwmcruiseinjurylawyers.com.