Acts of negligence on residential and commercial properties can result in accidents/incidents that cause physical injuries, psychological trauma, or chronic health conditions.
Common accidents and incidents you can encounter in residential/commercial properties in Florida include: –
- Falling from faulty stairs, guardrails, and fire escapes, with bone fractures and deep tissue damage as subsequent outcomes
- Getting trapped in a malfunctioning elevator resulting in severe emotional trauma, i.e., you can end up with claustrophobia.
- Slip-and-Fall accidents on wet or polished floors that results in skeletal, muscular, and ligament damage
- Prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals in paint, flooring, carpets, and insulation that induces Asthma and other severe allergic reactions
- Electric shock while using faulty switches and power outlets, which can cause severe muscular and nervous tissue damage
- Getting attacked by a dog or other pet, resulting in grievous bodily harm
Furthermore, property owners are also liable for accidents and incidents that result in damage or loss of personal property. Such loss or damage of your personal belongings can occur due to theft, fire, water damage, power spikes, mishandling, poor storage, etc.
The above scenarios provide you with legally justifiable grounds to seek premises liability compensation from residential/commercial property owners. Fortunately, hiring a competent premises liability attorney ensures that you receive compensation for physical injuries, chronic conditions, psychological harm, and personal property loss/damage.
Introduction to Florida’s Premises Liability Law
Florida premises laws stipulate that owners of residential and commercial properties are responsible for the safety of anyone on their premises. Residential/commercial property owners should, therefore, avail facilities and amenities that do not pose three types of risk, namely:-
- Physical injury, which encompasses damage to various body tissues, including muscles, nerves, ligaments, joints, bones, spinal vertebrae, and connective tissue.
- Psychological harm, which includes fear, frustration, anger, anxiety, and other adverse emotional states
- Chronic health conditions such as Asthma, allergies, physical disability, cancer, and so forth.
You should note that these premises-related laws not only apply to landlords but to tenants on residential/commercial properties as well. To eliminate ambiguity regarding landlord and tenants’ legal obligations, the state further defines three types of victims to whom Florida premises laws apply.
An invitee is someone invited onto the commercial/residential property by the landowner or tenant.
Consequently, invitees can be new tenants, business clients, repeat customers, or other persons whose presence is justifiable.
Licensees have a legal right to be on a residential/commercial property, which includes tenants, business owners, employees, etc.
Licensees can also be contractual workers on the property, including cleaning crews, plumbers, electricians, gardeners, etc.
Trespassers are people present on a residential/commercial property without permission or prior knowledge of the property’s owner or tenants residing/working on the premises.
Furthermore, landlords and tenants are responsible for ensuring the safety of personal items brought onto the property by invitees or licensees. It’s important to note that Florida premises liability laws only apply to accidents/incidents that result from verifiable negligence on the part of a property owner or tenant.
Duty of Care of Property Owner Per Florida Premises Liability Law
The legal duties and responsibilities of property owners correspond to the three types of victims defined in Florida’s liability laws.
Duties towards Invitees
Property owners have the highest obligation to ensure the safety of invitees on their residential or commercial properties. He/she should provide ample warning to invitees on all potential hazards on the property, a responsibility achieved through the use of visible symbols and signs.
Visual warning on residential/commercial properties typically includes signs/symbols on: –
- Wet and polished floors
- Malfunctioning elevators and stairs
- Areas of a building under renovation
- Swimming pools
- public HVAC and laundry units
- Electrical sockets/switches
- Dog kennels, and so forth.
A property owner also has to carry out a regular safety inspection of his/her residential/commercial property. He/she is then required by law to resolve all identified potential hazards on the premises promptly. Furthermore, property owners must ensure the safety of any personal belongings entrusted unto them by invitees on their residential/commercial property.
Duties towards Licensees
As with invitees, legal obligations of property owners towards licensees encompass three aspects, namely: –
- Provision of clear visual warning of potential hazards on the property
- Prompt resolution of potential dangers on their residential/commercial property
- Proper care and handling of personal items entrusted unto them by licensees for safekeeping
Duties towards Trespassers
Despite their presence on residential/commercial properties without permission, property owners are still obligated to ensure the safety of trespassers from existing dangers on the premises. However, he/she retains the right to prosecute such trespassers for transgressing onto the property as retaliation for claims of injury or loss/damage of personal property.
Florida Premises Liability Law Concerning Children
Florida premises laws recognize that children are more prone to physical injury, psychological trauma, and/or chronic health conditions than adult invitees, licensees, and trespassers. This legal precedence is based on the fact that children cannot often evaluate potential dangers on residential/commercial properties. Consequently, accidents/incidents involving underage children typically feature more severe penalties than similar cases involving adults.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
You can file a premises liability claim for accidents/incident arising from the negligence of property owners and tenants in multiple scenarios, including::-
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents that result in fractures and severe tissue damage, i.e., muscles, tendons, joints, spinal vertebrae, and connective tissue damage.
Assault perpetrated by security personnel and staff at bars, clubs, concerts, restaurants, sporting events, exclusive resorts, etc., can result in bodily harm and loss/damage of personal items. Furthermore, you may be the victim of a stampede or brawl perpetrated by other invitees, licensees, or trespassers on residential/commercial premises.
You can experience grievous soft tissue damage and incur loss/damage to personal belongings due to a fire, electrical malfunction, or other incident/accident featuring intense heat. Negligent actions that can cause such incidents/accidents include: –
- Failure to install fire alarms and fire safety equipment/systems
- Absence of visual fire prevention protocols and procedures
- Failure to repair defective fire fighting equipment/systems, etc.
You can be a victim of a physical assault, violent robbery, sexual assault, and other dangers arising from inadequate security at a commercial/residential property.
You can be the victim of a dog attack that results in significant bodily harm, including hand/leg fractures and soft tissue injuries involving the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue.
You or a child can be the victim of a drowning incident while at a pool on a residential/commercial property, resulting in severe psychological trauma. Such drowning incidents/accidents typically occur due to negligence from property owners, which includes:-
- Failure to guard or lock pool facilities when not in use
- Absence of competent lifeguards to supervise activities on pool amenities.
- Failure to avail signs that mandate parental supervision for small children, etc.
You may be the victim of an elevator/escalator incident/accident that results in bodily harm and psychological trauma. Such incidents typically occur when residential/commercial property owners fail to inspect and rectify mechanical issues with elevators/escalators on their premises.
Know what to do if you get hurt while on someone else’s property. Consult with a Florida premises liability attorney.
Contact Thomas C. Grajek to Consult About Premises Liability
If you are the victim of a residential/commercial property-related incident/accident, don’t hesitate to reach us through our phone number. Our team of experienced and competent premises liability attorneys can provide you with expert legal guidance and representation in your personal injury case.
You can also fill out the online contact form on our website to facilitate prompt email correspondence from our competent and experienced legal staff. Alternatively, visit any one of our offices in Florida to access professional premises liability legal services from our expert team of premises liability attorneys.
PRO TIP :
“To help you in building your case, you can try to keep a journal of your experiences after you got hurt, and even of your recollections of the accident itself. Every detail counts when you file your claim.”
FAQs on Premises Liability
Are property owners in Florida responsible for lightning safety?
Yes. Residential/commercial property owners are required by law to install lightning arresters on the premises. The device performs the function of safely conducting lightning strikes to the ground. As a result, you can sue a property owner for bodily harm and personal property loss/damage due to a lightning strike resulting from missing lightning arresters.
Is the bank liable if I get attacked while withdrawing cash from an ATM?
Yes. Due to the nature of a bank’s business, financial institutions bear the responsibility of ensuring customers’ safety even at ATM locations. Consequently, you have the legal right to sue a bank for bodily harm and loss/damage of personal possessions arising from an attack while using a bank’s ATM.
What does “attractive nuisance” mean in Florida premises liability law?
The ‘Attractive Nuisance’ statute in Florida premises liability law states that residential/commercial property owners are liable for injuries that children incur if a feature on the property is the reason for their trespassing onto the premises. Such ‘attractive’ features include abandoned cars, trampolines, slides, swimming pools, elaborate playgrounds, etc.
What is the difference between premises liability and personal liability?
Premises liability is the type of responsibility connected to a personal injury on a commercial or residential property. Personal liability happens when someone does something out of negligence that causes injury to another individual.
If you’re the injured party, what proof do you need to win the premises liability case?
If you’re the injured party, you need to prove that the property owner was negligent concerning ownership and property maintenance to win a premises liability case. Negligence, in this case, means that the property owner failed to care for their property.
Are you liable for crimes committed on your property?
Yes, you may be liable for crimes committed on your property. It would help if you were mindful of who you permit to into your property to avoid repercussions like fines and prison time.
What if I’m partly at fault in a premises liability case?
If you are partly at fault for your injuries, and the other party could prove it, then the amount that the court set will be divided between you and the owner of the property. Your claim’s total amount will be reduced depending on the percentage of your fault in the accident.
How does premises liability law treat drowning in public fountains?
In any case of drowning, the court will deem the pool owner at-fault if the suing party can prove that the owner did not ensure the people’s safety. When looking for qualifying evidence to make sure you get your claims, make sure that there is a lack of written warning and supervision.
What damages am I entitled to recover in a premises liability case?
There are 3 damages which you can claim in a premises liability case. First is the compensatory damages (lost income, property damages, and medical care). Second is the general damages (pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium). Lastly, punitive damages. This type of damage is meant to punish a defendant for his egregious conduct.