Premises Liability Lawyers Fort Lauderdale
Skilled Florida Lawyers Dedicated to Helping Victims Establish Premises Liability in Palm Beach County, FL
When you enter another person’s property, you have the right to expect that the property owner has maintained the property in a reasonably safe condition—especially when you enter the property to make some kind of a purchase. This is not just an unspoken rule between people, but instead is a well-established legal duty that property owners owe to those who enter their property. The legal duty to safely maintain property applies to almost all property owners, including store owners, homeowners, those who maintain commercial properties and businesses, and even owners of vacant land in some cases. Despite the well-settled nature of this area of law, complications often arise that make the help of an experienced premises liability lawyer necessary to succeed in recovering the financial compensation you need to move forward.
Our Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers have decades’ worth of experience identifying and overcoming the complications that can arise in premises liability cases and are here to help make sure you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We represent clients who have been injured due to hazards on another person’s property throughout South Florida, including in Broward County and Palm Beach County.
Identifying When a South Florida Property Owner is Responsible for Accident Victims’ Injuries
Although all property owners owe a duty of care to those who enter their property, the level of care that must be exercised depends upon why you entered the property in the first place. Under Florida law, the property owner’s duty of care varies depending upon whether you were a business invitee, licensee (or guest), or trespasser, as follows:
- Business invitees. Business invitees are invited onto the property because of the property owner’s profit motive—in other words, the property owner (or whoever occupies the property) invites you onto the property to conduct some type of business, such as a customer in a store, restaurant or amusement park. Owners owe the highest duty of care to these types of guests and have a duty to not only maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition but to inspect the property to discover any potential dangers and warn their guests about those dangers. Even if the owner did not know about the danger, but should have known upon reasonable inspection, that owner can be held responsible for resulting damages.
- Licensees. A licensee is invited onto the owner’s property for a non-business reason, such as a guest at a party and other types of social invitees. These property owners must also maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, but aren’t required to conduct inspections—and so are only responsible for dangerous conditions that they knew about.
- Trespassers. When you trespass upon another person’s property, you are there illegally, so the property owner does not owe you a duty to maintain the property in safe condition. Despite this, the property owner legally cannot create conditions intended to cause you harm. In some cases, however, the property owner might be responsible if he or she was constructively aware that people were trespassing on the property, and knew of a dangerous condition.
Why Choose Florida Premises Liability Lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey to Protect Your Rights Following an Accident?
Our experienced premises liability lawyer at Lawlor, White & Murphey have the skills necessary to represent clients in all types of premises liability cases and have successfully handled premises liability cases involving:
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Negligent security,
- Failure to warn of hidden dangers,
- Improperly maintained safety equipment,
- Failure to properly maintain equipment such as elevators and escalators,
- Negligently constructed property,
- And more.
When you retain the lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey to represent you in your premises liability case, we will handle every aspect of your case, from start to finish, including:
- Sending notices to the property owner to prevent the destruction of evidence,
- Analyzing any available video surveillance,
- Consulting with expert witnesses,
- Identifying and interviewing eyewitnesses to the accident,
- Examining the property itself to evaluate and document the dangerous conditions,
- Negotiating with the property owner, insurance company and defense lawyers to reach a settlement agreement if possible,
- Preparing and filing all required legal documents and fighting for your rights at trial if necessary.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with a Seasoned Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If you have questions about your right to recover compensation after you sustained injuries in an accident in a store, restaurant or someone else’s property, call our offices today or fill out this brief online contact form and our lawyers will get back to you. We provide each of our clients with a free initial consultation to discuss options for proceeding in your case, and we also work on a contingency basis—so you aren’t required to make any additional financial outlay for legal help while you recover from your physical injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability refers to the class of legal claims for personal injuries that are caused by some unsafe or defective condition on another person’s or entity’s property. The owner or occupier of property that has an allegedly unsafe or defective condition that causes injury to someone can be held liable for those injuries if the owner or occupier failed to use reasonable care in his/her/its maintenance of the property. Thus, there is no premises liability simply because someone is injured on another’s property; instead, a successful premises liability claim must also show that the property owner or occupier knew or should have known that the property was in an unsafe or defective condition and/or failed to take steps to ensure that the property was properly maintained.
Some common examples of premises liability cases that our attorneys frequently handle include slip and fall cases, snow and ice accidents, inadequate maintenance issues, defective conditions, inadequate security that leads to assault or other criminal incident, elevator and escalator accidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, amusement and recreational park accidents, fires and burns, flooding, and exposure to toxic substances or diseases.
Our lawyers will first work to establish your reason for being on the property in order to establish the property owner’s duty of care. Then, we will identify evidence to prove that a dangerous condition existed on the property and that the property owner reasonably could have taken steps to remedy the danger to make the property safe. This requires showing that the owner knew about the dangerous, or reasonably should have known about the danger. In some cases, failure to adequately warn of the danger can be enough to establish liability.
Negligent security is a subset of premises liability and comes into play when the owner should have taken steps to ensure adequate security was present on the property in order to prevent harm to guests. Adequate security will vary depending upon the circumstances and can include installing surveillance cameras, proper lighting, fences, locks or even security guards. The premise behind these cases is that if a property owner should have realized that the property was located in a dangerous area, maintaining the property in reasonably safe condition might mean taking steps to install security for visitors.
The person or entity that may be responsible for a premises liability accident will depend on the specific circumstances of the incident. Although a property owner is usually responsible for premises liability incidents that occur on the owner’s property, in some cases maintenance of the unsafe or defective condition that caused the accident or incident may be legally or contractually delegated to another person or entity, such as a tenant of the property or a third-party contracted to maintain the property.
There are a number of parties who can be sued in a premises liability lawsuit. A property owner is usually responsible for injuries and damages that arise from a premises liability accident or incident. However, a person or entity who leases the property from the owner may be liable, depending on the terms of the lease between the owner and tenant. If a property owner or occupier hires a company to maintain an aspect of the property and the failure to maintain leads to the unsafe or dangerous condition that causes the accident or incident, that third-party might also be sued for premises liability, depending on the contractual relationship between the third-party and the property owner or occupier that hired them.
Following a premises liability accident or incident, there are many types of evidence that you can use to successfully pursue a claim for compensation for injuries and damages that result from the accident or incident. This evidence can include accident scene photos, an accident or incident report prepared by the property’s owner or occupier or their insurance company, eyewitness statements, any leases or service or maintenance contracts for the property, medical records from your treatment of your injuries, bills and invoices incurred as a result of the injuries or other damages you suffered from the accident injury, paystubs or income statements to support a claim for lost wages or earning capacity
Depending on the type of property where your injury occurred, you may not immediately file an accident report. If you are injured on a business’s property, particularly where the business is owned by a large corporate entity, the business may have a policy to prepare an accident report or incident report whenever a premises liability accident or incident is reported to staff or employees. If you suffer an injury in a premises liability accident or incident on private property, once you contact the insurance company of the property owner or occupier, that insurer may decide to prepare a report for your claim, based on statements you and the property owner or occupier give to the insurance company along with any investigation that the insurance company undertakes.
Although you are not required to hire an attorney to pursue a claim for compensation following a premises liability accident or incident, or to file a lawsuit in court to pursue your claim, it is highly advisable to have a skilled premises liability lawyer to help you through the claim process. Premises liability claims are often factually and legally complex; an experienced premises liability lawyer can ensure that you have a strong, persuasive case that demonstrates the liability of the owner or occupier of property or another property. A premises liability lawyer can evaluate complex webs of business entities, leases, and service contracts to determine who was responsible for maintaining or correcting the unsafe or dangerous condition that caused your injury. A premises liability lawyer can also uncover the many layers of insurance that may be available to provide you compensation for your injuries and losses.
In many cases, it may be possible for a person injured in a premises liability accident to obtain a premises liability lawyer at no upfront cost to the injured party. A premises liability lawyer may be willing to take your case on a “contingency” basis. This means that an injured person does not have to pay anything to his or her lawyer unless and until the lawyer obtains a financial recovery for the injured person. The lawyer is then paid an agreed-upon percentage of the total financial recovery that the attorney obtains for the injured person.