Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Lawyers
Florida property owners and managers must keep their premises safe from hazards. These places include hotels, apartments, resorts, restaurants, grocery stores, etc. When owners fail to maintain the premises, visitors can suffer injuries or devastating losses.
Our Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers can help you seek the compensation you merit. It is always recommended to work with a legal team rather than commence a compensation claim alone.What Is Premises Liability in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?
Premises liability is an area of tort law that allows victims to seek compensation when they are hurt or suffer losses on someone else's property.
It’s common for people to visit businesses or recreational properties. There are owners or managers in charge of these locations. Even private properties such as homes or rental apartments have homeowners or management companies to maintain these places.
By law, property owners must maintain a hazard-free environment. If they fail to do so, they can be legally liable for violating this duty. If you are injured on a property, you can seek reimbursement for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.Common Examples of Premises Liability Claims
Skilled and resourceful Fort Lauderdale attorneys provide legal help in all forms of premises liability cases. Common examples of premises liability claims include:
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Broken stairwells, torn carpeting, slippery pool tiles, and other dangerous conditions can lead to tripping and falling and, in turn, severe injuries.
- Elevator and Escalator Accidents: Some buildings have elevators and escalators instead of stairs. However, issues such as malfunction or improper maintenance can cause hazardous situations.
- Bites or Attacks From Dogs or Other Animals: Dogs, especially when dangerous by nature, can bite and cause scarring or infectious wounds. Aside from dogs, some properties without warning signs have wildlife that can potentially attack visitors.
- Drowning and Near-Drowning: Drowning and near-drowning situations often occur at private and public swimming pools where necessary measures are not in place, primarily to safeguard children. Even the areas around the pool can lead to slip and fall situations.
Other common examples of premises liability claims are:
- Food poisoning in restaurants or from other food vendors
- Negligent security in establishments such as nightclubs and bars
- Falling objects in workplace environments or building sites
- Hotel or lodging mishaps
- Electrocution or electrical hazards from faulty appliances
Several injuries can result from premises liability. The severity or type of damage depends on the dangers involved. Some common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Burns and scars from fires or exposure to toxic chemicals
- Sprain and strain in the neck, back, arms, legs, and other body parts
Recovering from injuries can be difficult and traumatic. Unfortunately, however, some cases result in the death of the victim. If this happens, you can seek justice for your loved one's death and your suffering.
Whatever the type of injury, you'll need time to heal. However, you may still want to bring legal action against the negligent property owner. A Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyer can handle your case while you recover.Who Do I Hold Accountable in a Premises Liability Case?
In our experience, several people or entities are responsible for premises liability. Examples are:
- The owner of the property where you suffered an injury
- A tenant or someone renting the property
- A company managing the property at the time
- The owner of the dog or aggressive animal, if this person is different from the property owner
- A repair company involved in providing repair services on the property
- A business vendor or supplier
- The local, state, or federal government
Anyone on this list could be held liable in a premises liability case. The difficult task is proving who is responsible for the property where you sustain injuries. Our Fort Lauderdale attorneys will help identify the liable parties (by appointment only).
Also, suing a government agency differs from bringing legal action against a regular property owner. We understand these differences by experience and can help prepare your case.Can I Hold a Property Owner Accountable for My Injuries?
When filing a premises liability claim, a common question that arises is, "What duty of care does a property owner/manager owe me?" Just as in any other area of law, premises liability employs specific terms and conditions.
Florida laws help us understand the relevance of duty. First, the law determines responsibility according to why a person visits a property. This classification divides visitors to premises into three categories.
Also, by understanding these standard terms, you will know how premises liability laws impact your rights.Categories of Property Visitors and Varying Duty of Care
A visitor's status affects a premises liability case. Anyone visiting a property falls into any of the following three categories:
- 1. Invitee
An invitee is someone the owner invites to visit a property. This applies when we visit a public place open for a specific purpose or a property used for commercial activities. For instance, visiting a supermarket, stadium, or gas station.
A property owner/manager owes invitees the highest duty to keep the property safe. Hazards such as a wet/slippery floor could exist. The appropriate step will be to provide warning signs or fix the problem.
Usually, a lack of property inspections could leave hazards unnoticed. When an injury happens, you can take steps to hold the property owner accountable for negligence.
- 2. Licensee
A licensee is also permitted to enter a property. However, unlike an invitee, a licensee visits a property with or without an invitation. For example, it could be at a time of convenience or for social reasons.
Still, the property owner owes them a duty of care. For instance, a licensee can be someone attending a social event or joining an informal gathering. Instances can be attending a party or visiting a next-door neighbor’s home.
- 3. Trespasser
Essentially, a trespasser has no right to enter or visit a property. As a result, the property owner is usually not liable if they suffer an injury. However, even as a trespasser on another's property, the owner still owes you a duty of care. This duty obligates a property owner to prevent reckless accidents on the premises. Additionally, the property must warn of existing hazards that are not noticeable.
Therefore, a trespasser can file a premises liability claim if a property owner fails to do this. Our attorneys cover all the bases in preparing a legitimate lawsuit.Establishing Proof in a Premises Liability Case
In a premises liability case, plaintiffs must prove the property owner is liable for the injuries suffered. The following elements to establish fault in premises liability are:
- There was a dangerous condition when you visited that the property owner knew about or should have known.
- The property owner did not fix this potential hazard or warn you about it, and there was enough time for the property owner to discover the dangerous condition to either repair or warn about it.
- The property owner's failure to fix the hazard or warn you about it resulted in your injuries and damages.
Establishing premises liability is not always straightforward. For example, a property owner and manager should keep the premises safe. However, some may argue that the hazard was not foreseeable.
How can you prove your case? Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers will gather evidence to establish the property owner’s fault. They can make all the difference.What Should I Do After Being Injured on Another Person's Property?
After suffering an injury on someone else's property, your next steps are critical. These actions can help preserve evidence and provide valuable information to an attorney.
Immediately after you're injured, we advise you to do the following:
- Call 911 to have emergency medical help and file a police report of the incident
- Speak with the property owner to report the incident
- Record the scene of the incident with photos and videos to preserve as much evidence as possible
- Contact eyewitnesses
- Obtain further medical help to treat potential and unseen injuries.
- Contact a lawyer to decide the best next legal step
We understand the temptation to handle your case alone. After all, you may have enough evidence from the injuries. Yet, premises liability law can be complex for even the most knowledgeable people. It's ideal to hire professional legal representation.
Premises liability attorneys help explain the relevant laws and protect their clients’ rights. However, it’s not unusual to wonder why you need one. Here's why consulting a lawyer can be your best strategy.
- Establishing a Valid Liability Claim
Proving a premises liability claim first requires appropriate investigation. A lawyer will notify the property owner to prevent the loss or destruction of evidence. Also, lawyers gather evidence by analyzing video surveillance, consulting with expert witnesses when necessary, and speaking to eyewitnesses about the accident.
- Determining What Damages Are Recoverable
Calculating the potential compensation in a premises liability case is important. Our premises liability attorneys can help by examining what the accident will cost you. Then, they will determine the recoverable damages you can claim.
- Seeking Fair Compensation
Seeking compensation does not often require going to trial. Our attorneys can assist with negotiations involving the property owner, insurance company, and defense lawyers. We can help you exercise your right in a law court if negotiations fail and the case goes to trial.
Through experience, our Fort Lauderdale lawyers are familiar with premises liability cases. Therefore, we will examine the claim to show you your best legal options and the possible outcomes (by appointment only). Essentially, we aim to help you recover your losses.What Damages Can I Recover in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
A victim in a premises liability case is eligible to seek compensation. Damages are what the law provides to calculate losses from the incident. These losses may be quantifiable, such as medical treatment for injuries.
However, the law also accounts for emotional pain and suffering that cannot be measured in a fixed dollar amount. Generally, compensatory damages are classified into two categories:
- Economic Damages
These damages are quantifiable and result from losing or spending a certain amount of money. Sources include bills for medical treatment or evidence of lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages
Unlike economic damages, these damages result from the emotional or mental effects of the accident. Examples are mental anguish, pain, and suffering.
Another less common category is punitive damages. Sometimes, a property owner's intentional or malicious actions cause injuries. A court may award punitive damages to deter others from doing the same.Can I Still Seek Compensation if I'm Partly at Fault?
Sometimes a plaintiff is partly to blame for our injuries. It may be in their actions or events leading up to the incident. There's no cause for alarm because being at fault does not mean forfeiting your rights.
In Florida, you can still seek compensation. The comparative negligence rule allows victims to claim a percentage of possible damages. For example, assume you may have a 20 percent share of the liability. Then, the possible compensation becomes 80 percent of the total awarded sum.Exceptional Circumstances in Premises Liability Cases
The following are exceptional circumstances in premises liability claims:Children
A unique condition occurs when a child is injured on another person's property, even if the child is a trespasser. In this case, the attractive nuisance doctrine applies. This term refers to an artificial object that may cause a child to trespass upon the property.
For instance, a property owner may have a swimming pool. If this is the case, they must put appropriate safety measures, such as a fence or cover around the premises, to restrict access to the pool.Government
The property owner may be the federal, state, or local government. These instances apply to some parks and other public spaces. However, particular timelines and criteria exist that affect the filing of legal claims.Landlords and Tenants
When the premises in question are an apartment complex or rented home, a victim is also eligible to seek compensation. The liability rests on the entity responsible for building maintenance.
For example, if a damaged floorboard makes you trip and fall in a rented home, the landlord or property manager may be liable for injuries and losses. Ordinarily, you may also hurt yourself in your apartment or home. Proving the liability of the building manager becomes more complex.Third-Party Acts
A business owner may be held responsible for other people's violent or reckless actions on their property. For instance, an attack or assault may occur at a nightclub. Then, you may be able to hold the management or owner liable for negligent security.Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases in Florida
Statute of limitations refers to the time limit for filing a legal claim. A victim can file and seek recovery for losses incurred from premises liability within a specified period. For example, in Florida, the Statute of Limitations is four years from the day of the incident.
However, when death occurs, the time limit is two years. If you exceed the Statute of Limitations, you forego your right to legal action. Therefore, don’t waste time commencing your claim process. A premises liability attorney can help you timely file your claim in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.How Much Will My Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Lawyers Charge?
Injury victims can sometimes shy away from legal help because of lawyer fees. However, hiring Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers often do not cost as much as most people think. Usually, the length of the case and the difficulty affects the cost.
Thankfully, most Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. The percentage is between 33% and 40% of the settlement sum. Ensure you agree on what you will pay before hiring the lawyer. Then, insert the terms into a contingency fee agreement.Contact Our Experienced Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Lawyers
A premises liability incident often results in damages. For example, your case could be a slip and fall accident in a grocery store or an injury from falling objects at a workplace.
For most people, negotiating with an insurance company may seem easy. However, a premises liability case can be frustrating. Our premises liability lawyers in Fort Lauderdale have the experience and resources to help you (by appointment only).
We understand that you may also have fears about legal costs. That's why our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. You can be certain that we'll fight for your best interests.
Our attorneys are available to review your case with you. Call us at (561) 800-8000 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.