Premises liability law is a legal concept that covers a lot of ground, but what it basically boils down to is this: the owner or manager of a property is responsible for the safety of anyone who has a right to be on that property. That means if an individual gets injured on someone’s property because of a hazardous condition on that property, then the injured individual has the right to demand compensation from the property owner.
The injured individual will need an experienced premises liability lawyer to help them because the property owner is likely to try and deny responsibility for the accident. At Bernheim, Kelley, Battista & Bliss LLC, we have decades of experience with premises liability law and we will use that experience to fight on behalf of our clients. We will do all that we can to make sure that they are fairly compensated for any injuries they suffer and losses they incur because of a dangerous condition on someone’s property. So get in touch with us if that situation applies to you so that you can learn how we can help you.
The Responsibility of Property Owners
In Florida, and indeed in all states, property owners are expected to make sure that their property is safe and sound for anyone who has a right to be on that property. That means any hazardous conditions that could lead to an accident must be fixed as soon as possible. If the problem cannot be fixed in a timely manner, then the owner should provide a clear warning about it so that visitors can avoid it. If they fail to do one or the other of those tasks, then they are considered to be negligent and can be held liable for any injuries suffered by visitors because of the dangerous condition on the premises.
While a property owner does owe a certain level of care to the people who enter their premises, the amount of care differs based on the nature of the visitor. The legally distinct categories of visitors are as follows:
Invitees – An invitee, as the name suggests, is someone who was invited onto the premises. Anyone who enters a property for the commercial benefit of the property owner is considered to be an invitee, such as a customer who enters a grocery store. For example, any visitor who enters a retail space during working hours is considered to be an invitee.
Licensees – These are people who are invited to enter a property for non-commercial reasons. They can be friends or family attending a party, but as long as they are not on the premises to do business, they are considered to be licensees.
Trespassers – Unlike invitees and licensees, trespassers are not allowed to be on the grounds. And unlike invitees and licensees, the property owner’s obligation to the safety of a trespasser is far less. If a licensee or invitee gets hurt as a result of a dangerous condition on the premises, then the property owner can be held liable, but if a trespasser gets hurt as a result of the same dangerous condition, then the property owner may not necessarily be held liable because the trespasser had no right to be on the property in the first place. However, a property owner cannot intentionally set up hazards against trespassers on their property.
Different Types of Premises Liability Claims
Slip and fall injuries in retail spaces and on personal property are among the most common kinds of premises liability claims, but premises liability can also involve the following types of claims:
Elevator/Escalator Accidents – If a person gets injured because an escalator or elevator malfunctioned, then they can sue the owner of the property on which those transportation devices are located. The victim may also be able to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the escalator or elevator.
Swimming Pool Accidents – Pools that are on private property should be properly protected by a barrier or they should be well lit so that people can clearly see them. If someone gets injured because the property owner did neither of those things, then the owner can be held liable.
Poor Security – A property owner is obligated to provide adequate security in areas that are likely to attract a criminal element. If a person gets attacked or assaulted in such an area, then the property owner can be held liable for the attack even if they were not the one who did the crime. These are also known as negligent security claims.
Dog Bites – Even though dog bites occupy their own separate category under personal injury, they can also be a part of premises liability law. That means the owner can be held liable if an unrestrained dog bites someone on their property.
Parking Lot Accidents – The owner of a property is also responsible for the condition of any parking lot associated with that property. That means they are responsible for the safety of pedestrians and drivers within the lot, so they are responsible for any personal or property damage that occurs because of a dangerous condition within the lot. That includes weather conditions like snow or ice.
Recovery in a Premises Liability Case
When making a case for premises liability, there could be several different types of legal entities that you could be up against: if the accident happened in a private home, then you could be making the charge against the homeowner; however, if the incident took place on federal property, then you could be facing down your local government. That is why it is necessary to hire a lawyer to represent you in a premises liability case because it can be difficult to handle such a case yourself, especially while you are convalescing, and particularly if you have to take on the government.
You will need to use the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act) to make a case against the government and that can be a complex process better left to professional attorneys. The other reason to hire a premises liability lawyer is that they can help you recover the maximum amount of compensation. At Bernheim, Kelley, Battista & Bliss LLC we have the expertise and experience needed to provide our clients with the compensation they need to cover for the following kinds of losses:
Medical Expenses – These can include anything from outpatient treatment to surgery to physical therapy to assistive devices like canes or wheelchairs.
Lost Wages – If you are unable to work for some time because you are recovering from your injuries, then you can get compensation to cover the wages you would have earned had you not been injured.
Pain and Suffering – This is not an easily quantifiable loss like the previous two are, but you are entitled to receive compensation for it nonetheless. Insurers tend to use a multiplier of the tangible losses to calculate how much a person should get for pain and suffering or other mental or psychological problems caused by the accident.
Contact Us If You Have a Premises Liability Case
At Bernheim, Kelley, Battista & Bliss LLC we are ready and willing to take on any property owner for the sake of our clients even if that means facing off against a local government agency. That is because we know how serious injuries caused by hazardous conditions on someone’s property can get. They could lead to broken bones, concussions, paralysis, and even death.
That is why we fight hard to get our clients the compensation they need to keep them financially stable while they recover. So if you were the victim of an accident due to a dangerous condition on someone’s premises, get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can give you the help you need.