Getting injured on someone else’s property is not something guests plan for when they visit. No one plans for accidents, but when you own certain types of property, you have a legal responsibility to keep it maintained and safe. Florida law expects owners to prepare and anticipate certain incidents that could happen on their property, like dog bites, pool accidents, or slip and falls. When a property falls below this duty of care, an owner is exposed to premises liability claims against their property insurance or personal finances.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability lawsuits are targeted at negligent property owners. These cases are a means of holding negligent owners accountable for damages caused by injuries sustained on their property. Florida law expects property owners and some occupants to make a diligent effort to maintain their space and ensure it is reasonably safe for visitors. When occupants and property owners don’t adhere to these requirements, they are open to premises liability claims.
Examples of accidents that could rise to the level of a premises liability claim in Florida:
Animal or dog bites
Drowning or swimming pool accidents
Attractive nuisances: creating dangerous conditions for children
When determining whether a premises liability claim has merit, the status of the injured party is important. Was the person invited to the property? Were they trespassing? Those invited to a property expect it to be safe, and persons invited to a property for financial benefit to the property owner should be afforded the highest duty of care. An invitation to a property is an implied promise that the property is reasonably safe. The lowest duty of care is to the trespasser who unlawfully accesses your property. However, this standard does not apply to children when your property has an attractive nuisance, like abandoned cars, swimming pools, sand and gravel pits, and old appliances. Adult trespassers do not receive the same exemptions as children, so property owners are only obligated to refrain from intentionally harming them if they trespass onto your property.
Other factors that impact duty of care determinations are based on a few other standards, like:
How the property is used
Whether the duty to repair or warn was a reasonable expectation
If the injury could have been anticipated
Suppose injuries are sustained on private property that could have been prevented. In that case, the defendant could be sued for damages, including but not limited to medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. It’s important to hire an attorney as soon as you decide to file a premises liability claim. The burden of proof is on the victim, so it’s important to find legal representation from experienced attorneys with a track record for creating strategies for these types of cases.
Your Experienced & Local Premises Liability Lawyers
When you find yourself in the position of needing to file a premises liability lawsuit against a friend, neighbor, or local merchant, it can be stressful and intimidating. Hiring a legal team with experience handling sensitive cases like these can make all the difference when it’s time to ensure everyone walks away with what they are owed. A surprise injury can be devastating to your financial stability, and filing for damages may be the only way to begin putting your life back together. The Port Charlotte premises liability attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. understand the challenges you’re facing and are prepared to handle your case with the sensitivity and dedication it deserves.
Call us today at (941) 979-9010 to schedule a consultation, or you can use our online contact form to request more information.