Each property owner who welcomes visitors onto their premises — whether privately, commercially, or in a government building — takes on the responsibility to provide their visitors with a safe environment free of avoidable hazards and maintenance issues. While this may just seem like a simple courtesy, it is also the law, and failure to maintain a safe and hazard-free premise can lead to a tort claim against the property owner in the event that a visitor is injured. Common premises liability failures include things like wet, slick floors, faulty handrails, uneven stairs, loose carpeting, and broken escalators or elevators. Of course, there are many other ways someone can be injured on another’s property, which is why speaking with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury is the best way to get a clear understanding of your legal options and circumstances.
It is likely that from the moment the property owner is made aware of your injury, they will be partnering with a legal team to protect themselves and their financial interests above yours, and the same is true if you will be filing a claim through an insurance company. At the same time as you are trying to recover from your injuries, you will either need to take on the task of fighting for what you actually deserve, or you can hand this responsibility off to an experienced premises liability attorney.
Contact 1-800-Injured For a Free Consultation Today
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Instead of spending your time after an injury reviewing sites, calling law firms, waiting for email responses, and otherwise distracting yourself from your recovery, contact us and we will connect you to an attorney who is ready to take your case. You do not deserve to go through this process alone, and when you are partnered with an experienced attorney you can be confident they are taking the necessary steps to get you the money you are entitled to.
Contact us as soon as possible, and read more below to get a general idea of premises liability issues in Florida.
What Is Premises Liability?
A premises is simply the legal term for a property, including the land and the structures upon it. Therefore, premises liability is the legal concept that an owner is responsible for the condition of their premises, and liable for any injuries that occur on the premises due to a failure to uphold this responsibility, otherwise known as their duty of care. The scope of responsibilities vary depending on the type of property, the nature of people’s visits, and a range of other factors, but the key takeaway is the same: property owners must maintain a safe environment for legal visitors and must take all possible steps to either resolve a hazard or properly warn visitors of any dangerous situations.
The Necessary Factors in a Premises Liability Case
Premises liability law provides a legal pathway to compensation for victims of accidents on properties other than their own through a standard tort claim. In a tort claim, there are a few factors that must be established before moving forward with seeking compensation.
The Defendant Owed a Duty of Care To the Victim
A duty of care is a requirement that an individual act reasonably and prudently toward others and the public in order to avoid injury or accident. In terms of premises liability, a major duty of care is to maintain the property so visitors can come and go without the threat of an accident or injury due to things like improper maintenance, faulty construction, or degraded infrastructure.
The Defendant Failed to Uphold Their Duty of Care
If you are injured by slipping or tripping and falling over a carpet that is coming loose from the floor in a shopping center, then the owner has failed to keep up with maintenance appropriately to ensure people are not hurt. In most cases, ignorance of the hazard is not a valid excuse, and we will simply need to set out to prove that they either knew about the hazard, or there was a reasonable expectation for them to have been aware of it.
This Failure Caused an Accident
If you were to walk into a shopping center and notice a carpet that was bunched up and could pose a safety issue, a tort has not occurred — the property owner has failed their duty of care, but it has not caused an incident. If, however, you tripped and fell over the bunched up carpet, then the third factor in a tort claim has been established. Similarly, a drunk driver who does not cause an accident is solely guilty of a criminal act, as they have not directly impacted another’s life.
The Accident Led To Measurable Damages
If you trip over the bunched up carpet, but either catch yourself or sustain no injuries, then there are no measurable damages for you to seek compensation for. If, however, you fall and break your wrist or sustain a traumatic brain injury, these are measurable damages and satisfy the fourth requirement of a tort. At this point, you and your attorney will be able to move forward with a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the responsible party to seek compensatory damages.
Working With an Attorney After a Premises Liability Accident
If you are directed to file a claim with the property owner’s insurance company, the process is fairly straightforward: simply contact the insurance company, explain the situation, and they will assign an adjuster to your case in order to investigate the details. However, the simplicity of opening a claim is not indicative of how difficult it will be to actually get the money you deserve. Insurance companies focus solely on paying as little as possible for any given claim, and yours will be no different. If you are working through the claim without legal representation, the insurance adjuster will be able to downplay your injuries and reduce your final settlement through a series of legal technicalities; if, however, you are working with an attorney, they will be able to defend against these tactics and build a strong case on your behalf.
We encourage you to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to learn about the benefits of having an experienced and diligent premises liability attorney representing your case. Many people believe hiring an attorney is too expensive, but you will be able to discuss their contingency fee basis during your consultation, and learn more about the likelihood of a higher settlement while working with a lawyer. Contact us today to be connected with a premises liability lawyer in Miami as soon as possible.