Premises Liability Lawyers Serving Coral Gables
You've likely seen signs posted on properties warning of potential liability for injury. But what does that mean for you? When you enter someone else's property, you are owed a certain amount of care from the person who owns or occupies it.
You may be entitled to make a premises liability claim if you're injured on their property due to negligence. This type of claim allows an injured party to recover damages if they can prove certain elements, including negligence by the property owner or occupant and injury sustained.
A successful premises liability claim can be complex, so it's best to arm yourself with knowledge before filing one. It's important to determine whether the property owner's lacking duty of care was sufficient to cause your injury. Additionally, the owner must have known the dangerous condition for your claim to qualify as valid. So, if you've been injured in someone else's property and think that negligence by the owner may have caused it, take steps now to ensure that any potential premises liability claim is properly handled. Doing your research now could save a lot of time and hassle later!What Are Some Common Examples of Premises Liability Cases?
When it comes to premises liability cases, there are many—too many—to list in one paragraph. However, here are some of the most common types of cases:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can occur due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, or when items have been left in walkways. These accidents can result in significant injuries and medical bills, so it's important to know your rights if you've been injured in this kind of accident.
In some scenarios where a dog was on a property, even if the owner doesn't own the dog, they could still be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog. It's important to note that this only applies if there were signs that the animal was dangerous and/or had attacked someone before—so make sure you get all the facts before filing a claim.
Another example of a premises liability case is negligent security—when a business fails to take reasonable precautions against foreseeable criminal activity on their property, like using security cameras or having sufficient lighting. The business could be liable for injuries due to inadequate security measures in these cases.
When filing a premises liability claim, it's important you know the burden of proof. You will need this evidence to prove your case and receive compensation. There are two standards for proof when it comes to premises liability claims: the actual knowledge standard and the reasonable care standard.
Actual Knowledge Standard
Under this standard, you must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous conditions on their premises and that they failed to act on it. If they knew of a hazard and did not do anything to address it, they can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Reasonable Care Standard
This standard requires you to prove that it was reasonably foreseeable that an injury would happen because of a hazardous condition on the property and that the property owner did not take appropriate steps to avoid it or warn visitors about potential risks.
In either case, you must provide evidence that you were injured as a result of their negligence; otherwise, your claim will be invalidated. So, if you plan on filing a premises liability claim, ensure you are well-prepared with sufficient evidence and reliable witnesses who can back up your story.What Is Comparative Negligence?
Now let's take a look at the concept of comparative negligence. In some premises liability cases, the courts may hold both parties accountable—the property owner and the claimant— for contributing to an injury.
Comparative negligence may be assigned depending on factors such as:
- How much control the property owner had over the situation.
- The seriousness of injuries sustained.
- If proper warnings were given to visitors about potential hazards.
- Whether or not a reasonable person in the same position would have acted differently.
In Florida, this concept is known as "Modified Comparative Negligence." This means that if you are under fifty percent liable for the accident you can still receive damages — though it might be a reduced amount compared to if you hadn't been at fault.
If you're considering filing a premises liability claim, it's important to have a thorough understanding of comparative negligence to know what to expect when proceeding.What Is Assumption of Risk?
If you've ever been to an amusement park, you've probably heard of the assumption of risk. But what is it, and does it have anything to do with premises liability? Assumption of risk is a legal doctrine when a visitor knowingly enters dangerous conditions.
In other words, it means that when a person has knowledge of the risks involved in an activity and voluntarily engages in it anyway—they've assumed the risk and can no longer sue for damages if they sustain an injury while participating.
Here's how it relates to premises liability: The law presumes that when visitors knowingly enter risky conditions, they are aware of their dangers and accept those risks upon entering. So, if you're injured on someone else's property—but an obvious danger caused that injury—your attorney may argue the assumption of risk as a defense for the defendant in your claim.
However, even if the assumption of risk applies, there are exceptions. For example, if there was negligence on the part of the property owner that contributed to the accident or injury (such as inadequate safety measures), then the visitor may have grounds for a claim after all. It all depends on your specific case, so speak with an experienced attorney about your legal options before proceeding!What Is A "Dangerous Condition"?
According to Florida law, a dangerous condition is any physical flaw or condition on the premises that presents an unreasonable risk of harm. Such conditions can stem from the landowner's negligence in maintenance or repair, such as:
Structural defects include staircases without railings, improper wiring, and floors with large cracks or uneven levels.
Inadequate Security Measures
Physical flaws include insufficient security measures, such as poor lighting for walkways and lack of security cameras in areas that pose a risk of theft.
Faulty products, such as furniture and equipment on the property, could also be considered a physical defect since they can fail without warning and cause injury to visitors on the premises. It's important to remember that any physical defect caused by the landowner's negligence or lack of maintenance could qualify as a dangerous condition under Florida law.
If you think you may have been harmed due to a property owner's failure to provide reasonable care for their premises, it's important to seek legal counsel immediately.What Is "Actual Notice"?
If you're considering filing a premises liability claim, you need to understand "actual notice." What is it? Well, actual notice is essentially when a defendant (the property owner) had knowledge of the hazard or condition in question and failed to take any reasonable steps to fix it.
This means that if the owner was aware of something dangerous on his premises and didn't do anything about it, you have a much better chance of winning your case. So, keep this in mind when looking into a premises liability claim.
It's important to note that actual notice can be established through circumstantial evidence, e.g., if people had reported similar hazards on different occasions, then it can be said that the defendant had constructive or actual knowledge of potential danger.What Is "Constructive Notice"?
Constructive notice means that the owner of the property, or the entity responsible for it, should have reasonably known of a certain danger. This means even if they didn't have any knowledge of it themselves.
In a premises liability case, the claimant must prove that the owner had enough time to discover and repair the dangerous situation before it caused an accident. This could involve collecting evidence such as maintenance records, inspection logs, and other related documents.
To prove constructive notice, you may also need to show the following:
- That the dangerous condition existed for a long enough period that it would be reasonable for the owner to have known about it.
- That there was sufficient reason for someone else to have alerted them about the danger.
- There was actual knowledge somewhere within their organization about the hazard.
- That there was actual physical evidence which should have alerted them of danger.
A premises liability waiver is an agreement between two parties that limits or releases one of the parties from liability in certain situations. In other words, a contract releases someone from responsibility for an injury or other damages caused by their actions or negligence.
When it comes to premises liability waivers, consider these tips:
- Know your rights as a claimant and read any waiver carefully before signing it.
- Business owners or landlords often use waivers to protect themselves from liability in case of injury to their customers or tenants.
- Some waivers may only release the business owner from financial responsibility and may not release them from their duty of care to protect you while on their property.
- It's important to understand that such waivers don't hold up in court if there is evidence of gross negligence on the part of the business owner or landlord or if they breached their duty of care toward you as a customer or tenant on their property.
You may be wondering if businesses are required to have insurance to cover premises liability claims. The answer is yes—most states require general liability insurance, and this coverage typically includes premises liability.
Having the right insurance in place is important for businesses, as it can provide protection should there be a claim related to a slip-and-fall accident. Not all property owners know their liability or the available insurance options.
If you're considering filing a premises liability claim, here's what you need to know:
- The property owner must be at fault for the accident for you to recover damages.
- Property owners must take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors and patrons are safe on the property. This can include regular inspections and maintenance, adequate lighting and signage, etc.
- If a dangerous condition exists on a property, the owner has a responsibility to warn visitors of potential hazards—such as wet floors or broken stairs—to protect them from harm.
- In some cases, businesses may also be liable for negligent security that leads to an injury or loss on their premises (e.g., insufficient lighting or locks).
- Businesses can purchase liability insurance that includes protection from premises liability claims; however, even with insurance coverage, there may still be limits on how much a policy covers depending on the claim type (e.g., medical expenses).
Before you file a premises liability claim, it's important to understand the difference between a settlement and a trial verdict — these two avenues have drastically different outcomes.
A settlement is when you and the defendant agree on what is owed before a trial begins. Negotiations are rapid and typically involve both parties compromising on some aspects of the case. Settlements are often used in premises liability cases because they allow both parties to agree on the outcome without going to court.
On the other hand, if your case reaches the trial verdict stage, a judge or jury has heard evidence from either side and then determined its verdict. This decision needs to be respected by both parties.
It is not uncommon for personal injury claims — including premises liability cases — to reach this stage if there is not enough evidence or if both sides cannot negotiate a suitable settlement.How Long Does It Take to Resolve a Premises Liability Claim?
When resolving a premises liability claim, time is of the essence. But just how long does it typically take to resolve a case?
All resolution times depend on the case's complexity and how quickly the other party responds. Generally speaking, however, most premises liability cases can be resolved anywhere from one to four months.
Some cases will take longer than that—particularly if other parties are involved or there's a dispute about who's responsible for what. Legal claims can take up to a year or even longer in these situations before they're resolved.
You should expect the resolution process to go something like this:
- The initial filing of the claim.
- Negotiations with all parties.
- A settlement agreement between your lawyer and the defendant's lawyer.
- The court granting final approval of the agreement.
- The signing and distribution of funds depending on what's agreed upon in the settlement agreement.
Remember that each case is different, and no two will have the same resolution timeline—but by understanding what's involved in resolving a premises liability claim, you can better prepare yourself and be aware throughout every step of the process.Can I File a Premises Liability Claim If the Property Owner Fixes the Dangerous Condition?
Yes, you can still file a premises liability claim if the property owner has fixed the dangerous condition that harmed you. This is because, generally speaking, a property owner can still be liable for injuries before any corrective action is taken.
It is important to remember that proving an owner's negligence can be difficult when the dangerous condition is no longer present. You will need to show evidence of the unsafe condition before the time of your injury—photographs and witness testimony are both viable forms of proof. Additionally, you will have to demonstrate that it took the property owner an unreasonable amount of time to repair or fix the situation after they became aware of it.
You also have another option: seeking compensation from your own homeowners' insurance provider or renters’ insurance policy if you have one. This is a good option if you don't have access to sufficient evidence for a premises liability claim or the statute of limitations has passed, and you cannot pursue legal action against the property owner.Contact Frankl Kominsky Premises Liability Lawyers Serving Coral Gables
When an injury on someone else's property has occurred, it is a good idea to contact experienced attorneys who can review your case. Frankl Kominsky premises liability lawyers are here to help you and your family in your time of need.
Our lawyers are well-versed in Florida law and have represented countless clients and families who have been harmed by the careless actions of others. Our attorneys will work hard to ensure you get the justice you deserve and will fight for your rights when filing a premises liability claim.
We understand how overwhelming it can be to take legal action after being injured on someone else's property, which is why our team offers free consultations. During this consultation, we will listen to your story, review any evidence you have and guide how best to file a premises liability claim.
Remember, if you sustained injury due to an unreasonably dangerous condition or activity on another person's property, contact Frankl Kominsky premises liability lawyers serving Coral Gables at (561) 800-8000, we are here for you.