Premises Liability Lawyers Serving Miami
When people go out in public, they should expect safe conditions. Unfortunately, many premise managers in Miami don’t maintain their properties, possibly leaving them in dangerous conditions. Hazardous premises could result in injuries and even death to visitors.
Fortunately, Florida has premises liability laws that can help victims hold property owners or managers responsible. It is highly recommended to contact an experienced Miami premises liability attorney when you begin the legal process of seeking compensation.What Is Premises Liability?
Property owners owe a duty of care to their visitors. They must ensure that their premises are safe for people that visit. Therefore, suppose you sustain an injury on unsafe premises.
Then, premises liability is an aspect of the law that can hold the negligent property owner liable. However, the duty a premises owner owes individuals depends on the category of visitors. Florida law recognizes three types of visitors:Invitees
Invitees are people who are expressly or impliedly invited to a property. Notably, such an invitation could be for a mutual purpose. Conversely, it could be for an event or activity to be conducted on the premises.
An express invitee could be one that’s invited to a party. On the other hand, an implied invitation would include those made by store owners to shoppers. Therefore, property owners owe invitees a high duty of care.
They must ensure the property is safe during their stay. Furthermore, landlords must provide adequate notice of any dangerous conditions on the property. An invitee must not step away from the scope of access. For example, if an invitee sneaks away into excluded areas, the premises owner might not be held liable.Licensees
As the name implies, licensees are people that the property owner (licensor) allows onto the property. Therefore, the licensee’s continuous presence depends on the licensor’s expressed or implied consent.
For example, people stay at hotels based on a license from the hotel owner. Your payment receipt represents the premises’ owners’ consent to stay on the property. Therefore, the licensor also owes you a duty of care.
As a result, they must warn you of any known dangers on the property. In addition, you mustn’t breach any of the conditions for the license grant. Going against such conditions could make you a trespasser.Trespassers
Finally, premises owners owe trespassers the lowest duty of care. A trespasser is anyone who enters a property without the owner’s permission or knowledge. Most times, the premises owner isn’t even aware of a trespasser on their property.
The premises owner’s responsibility to the trespasser is to avoid intentionally causing them harm. Therefore, the owner must not injure or expose trespassers to injury. However, an owner doesn’t have a duty to keep the property in reasonably safe conditions.Trespassing Children
The law is slightly different for child trespassers, though. Firstly, kids don’t have sufficient knowledge to understand the concept of trespassing. They also cannot understand dangerous situations as adults do.
Therefore, the law of attractive nuisance applies. Children are attracted to big, shiny, and bright objects. Essentially, kids want to play with these items. Therefore, premises owners must take steps to reduce the possibility of danger from these attractive nuisances.
Notable examples of attractive objects include:
- Swimming pools
- Abandoned cars
- Washers and dryers
- Any other airtight objects that still have functional doors
Premises liability claims can arise in different ways. Some of them include:Slip and Falls
This is the most popular form of premises liability accidents. It occurs when visitors slip while walking on a property. Usually, such falls result from wet and slippery floors. For example, shoppers can slip and fall because a store cleaner failed to mop the floor after a spill.
Consequently, the injured party may have a premises liability claim against the store. However, this depends on whether the cleaner marked the wet area. Slip and falls are sometimes called trip and falls.
This type of accident occurs when visitors trip over improperly kept materials. For instance, a trip and fall claim can arise when the store cleaner negligently leaves the mop on the floor. Finally, slips or trips and falls can occur on:
- Private residences
- Private/public sidewalks
- Department stores
Comfort isn’t all we expect when we lodge in hotels. Instead, paying to stay in a hotel means you trust that the premises will be safe. Sadly, many hoteliers run hazardous environments.
Such dangers include:
- Dangerous staircases
- Unsafe doors and windows
- Hazardous conditions
Therefore, suppose you sustain an injury in such a hotel. You could then file a premises liability claim against the hotel owners or managers.Elevator Accidents
Elevators are vital for Miami’s high-rise buildings. Unfortunately, poor maintenance has led to several mishaps during elevator rides. In addition, disregarding laws regulating elevator management can also cause accidents. Typical sources of elevator injuries include:
- Technical malfunctions
- Sudden deceleration
- Elevator falls
- Sudden trappings within an elevator
- Misleveling of the elevator or failing to line up with the building floor
- Falling through an open elevator shaft
- Safety device failures
- Wet elevator floors
Property owners are also responsible for their parking lots. They must keep it in a safe condition to avoid mishaps. This will include providing proper lighting to prevent falls. Furthermore, the premises owner should ensure that the parking lot is maintained to avoid slips. Therefore, if they fail in these responsibilities, you may be able to sue them.Fire Accidents
If you’ve lost someone or property in a fire, then you know it’s a terrible experience. That’s why building regulations have fire safety rules. For example, some buildings must have fire exits and extinguishers.
Unfortunately, many builders disregard these laws while building. Suppose you suffer a fire catastrophe in such premises. Then, you may be able to sue the property owner for your losses.Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
Hundreds of people in the US suffer dog bites annually. Furthermore, there are other wild and domestic animal attacks. Animal bites fall under Florida’s premises liability law.
Property owners must ensure that their animals don’t hurt visitors to their property. For example, if the dog has a violent history, the owner should establish protective measures for its visitors. This is also the case for anyone that deliberately keeps wild animals on their property.Swimming Pool and Amusement Park Accidents
Do you take your kids to public pools and amusement parks? If so, you must have noticed that these premises can sometimes be in poor shape and kids can hurt themselves while playing around. Indeed, you can’t rule out these sources of fun for your children. Therefore, it’ll be best to remember that you can take steps to hold the premises controllers liable for injuries.
There are many other sources of premises liability claims. They include:
- Negligent security leading to injuries and assaults
- Flooding accidents
- Toxic fumes and chemical inhalation
- Snow and ice mishaps
- Staircase accidents
Premises liability claims often derive from the property owner or manager’s negligence. Therefore, you must prove the essential elements of negligence to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Recovering damages often depends on your ability to establish two critical factors:
- The defendant created a dangerous condition that hurt you, or
- They knew or should have known of the precarious state of their property and didn’t take steps to remedy the condition.
A hazardous state could include an employee who pours wet substances on the floor. The business owner will be liable if someone slips and falls while the employee goes to retrieve cleaning equipment. Failure to correct the danger immediately is justification for a premises liability action.Actual Notice of Hazardous Conditions
Proving that the premises owner knew of the dangerous condition is vital. It’s the foundation for the assertion that they neglected to fix the issue. You may have to show that they had actual notice of the problem.
Actual knowledge could be firsthand or through a report. It is firsthand when the property manager knew of the precarious state of the property. Conversely, someone else could inform them of the danger orally or in writing.
Unfortunately, proving actual notice in premises liability claims can be challenging. This is because the manager’s knowledge of the property’s condition is only known to them. Moreover, they won’t readily admit to knowing and neglecting the danger on their premises. Fortunately, we can rely on constructive notice.Constructive Notice in Premises Liability
Sometimes premises owners or controllers did not create dangerous conditions. Furthermore, they may not even be aware of them. However, the law can still impute constructive knowledge to such managers in some cases. This will happen when, by the nature of the danger, the owner ought to have known about it.
In Miami premises liability practice, the property owner has a duty to discover and be aware of the property’s condition. This duty thus involves occasional inspections of the premises. After such evaluations, the property manager can:
- Repair dangerous conditions, or
- Erect sufficient and visible signs warning visitors of the danger.
This duty is higher for commercial premises. At this stage, it’s irrelevant that the property owner didn’t cause the dangerous condition. Instead, it’s sufficient that they didn’t stop it from hurting you.Proving Liability in Law of Attractive Nuisance Cases
Suppose your child is injured on another person’s property. Then, the law of attractive nuisance changes the rules for establishing the at-fault party’s negligence. You’ll have to prove the following factors:
- That the premises owner knew that a child could trespass the hazardous area
- The dangerous condition posed an unreasonable risk to the child
- The child isn’t old enough to understand the risks of the hazardous condition
- It would have been easier to fix the situation that hurt the child
- The premises owner didn’t remove or shield the child from the harm
Our lawyers premises liability serving Miami can establish these elements if they are involved in your case. We can help you seek compensation for your injured child to recover.Premises Liability Lawsuits vs. Insurance Settlements
At some point, you may face this dilemma. Do you sue the negligent property manager or accept an insurance settlement? Many personal injury cases don’t make it to court. Instead, the parties reach a mutual settlement agreement privately.
Usually, this also involves both parties’ insurance companies. Furthermore, you must first file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. They often send an insurance adjuster to negotiate the terms of your claim. Finally, suppose you can reach an agreement.
Then, you’ll also have to agree not to file a lawsuit. If the case is already in court, you’ll agree to withdraw the case. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that you only accept a favorable settlement. This is another area we can help you determine how much you fairly deserve for your injuries.Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit
Lawsuits generally take longer than settlement negotiations. Here, a judge and jury determine whether the premises owner was negligent. Then, they’ll also decide how much you deserve for your wounds.
The time, money, and effort invested in premises liability lawsuits sometimes makes accepting a settlement a better option. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee of winning after all these proceedings. That’s why many people opt for settlements. However, taking a case to court may be the best decision in some cases.Do I Need a Miami Premises Liability Lawyer?
A law firm such as ours can significantly help your case. However, proceeding against a premises owner without an attorney has many disadvantages. Below are the top three reasons for hiring a premises liability lawyer.Knowledge of the Law
Several Florida laws govern premises liability. For example, there are special provisions for dog bite cases. However, the multiplicity of rules isn’t an issue for our lawyers. We have years of experience dealing with these kinds of cases and can identify the correct steps for your case.Protecting You From Insurance Companies
If you’ve had any experience with insurers, you’ll know they don’t prefer paying claims. We’ve seen insurance companies deny authentic insurance claims for flimsy reasons. Even if they accept responsibility, they may only offer low settlements. Fortunately, our lawyers can calculate your actual losses. Then, they can help you determine what fair compensation would be so you don’t settle for less than you deserve.Litigate Your Case When Necessary
Finally, there’s a chance that your settlement negotiation can fail. If this happens, you’ll have to file a lawsuit. Indeed, the law allows you to represent yourself in court. However, the premises liability compensation process is very technical, and you can benefit from the assistance of an expert.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we help injured Miami residents, and we can help with your case as well (by appointment only). With us, you wouldn’t have to worry about the complexity of the legal process.How Long Do I Have to File a Miami Premises Liability Case?
Suppose you decide to file a lawsuit against the negligent Miami property owner. Then, it’ll be best to remember Florida’s Statute of Limitations. This law regulates how long you have to file civil lawsuits.
You must institute your premises liability claim within two years. Your time starts to count from the accident date. You also have two years to sue for property damage from the accident. Missing this deadline means that you’ll lose your right to compensation.
The defendant must inform the court of your default in the filing. Then, the judge will likely throw out your case. Therefore, it’s best to always work with an experienced Miami premises liability attorney. Our lawyers know Florida’s statute of limitations and can ensure that your case begins early on.Comparative Negligence in Miami Premises Liability Actions
Property owners rarely accept responsibility for their negligence. Instead, they’ll try to shift some of the blame onto you. Indeed, you may be partly liable for your injuries on their property. For example, you may have ignored a warning sign in a hazardous area.
Similarly, you may have also been careless when you injured yourself. Whatever the case is, suppose the property owner proves your partial liability. Then, the law reduces the amount of compensation you can recover. This reduction is Florida’s comparative negligence principle.
This law reduces your damages proportionally to the percentage of your contribution to the accident. For instance, suppose you were 40% responsible for an accident that cost you $20,000. Then, you can only recover 60% of your damages which is $12,000.Discuss Your Negligence Claim with an Attorney
If you have been harmed because of someone else’s carelessness, there is no substitute for having dedicated legal representation on your side. At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we are committed to helping injured victims. Our firm has over 40 years of combined experience handling accident and injury cases, and we know what it takes to try and prove a negligence claim. You can expect the utmost respect and professionalism from our licensed attorneys and legal staff.