Premises Liability Lawyers Serving Miami Lakes
If you or a loved one have been injured on another person's property, you may be wondering if you have a premises liability claim. Premises liability law in Florida is complex, but our Miami Lakes premises liability lawyers can help.
In general, landowners and occupiers owe a duty of care to those on their property. This duty of care is owed to invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The level of care owed to each type of visitor is different.
- Invitees are people who are invited onto the property for the landowner's or occupier's benefit.
- Licensees are people who are allowed on the property for their benefit.
- Trespassers are not supposed to be on the property at all.
The duty of care owed to each type of visitor is different. Invitees and licensees are owed the highest duty of care.What Is Premises Liability, and What Type of Claims Does It Encompass?
As the owner or operator of a property, you are responsible for ensuring that your premises are safe for visitors. If someone is injured on your property due to negligence, you may be held liable under the legal theory of premises liability.
There are three main types of premises liability claims: slip and fall accidents, negligent security claims, and defective condition claims.
- Slip and fall accidents occur when a visitor slips, trips, or falls on your property due to a dangerous condition.
- Negligent security claims arise when a visitor is attacked or robbed on your property due to inadequate security measures.
- Defective conditions claims occur when a visitor is injured due to a defective condition on your property, such as a broken stairway or a hole in the ground.
If you are a defendant in a premises liability case, you have a legal responsibility to ensure your property is safe for visitors. This means taking reasonable steps to fix any hazardous conditions on your property and warning visitors of potential dangers.
If you fail to do this and someone is injured, you could be liable for their injuries. Specifically, you have a duty to regularly inspect your property and fix any known hazards or defects that could cause harm.
You also need to warn visitors of any risks on the property, such as open pits, exposed wires, slippery surfaces, etc. If you know of any hidden dangers on your property, like asbestos or lead paint, you must disclose this information to visitors.
Finally, if your property is leased out to tenants or other occupants, you must ensure their safety by providing regular inspections and responding quickly to maintenance requests.What Constitutes Negligence on the Part of a Property Owner or Operator in a Premises Liability Claim?
If you've been injured on someone else's property, you may be wondering whether the property owner or operator can be held liable. The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of your case. To prove that a property owner or operator was negligent, you must show that they owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty, and that their breach of duty led to your injuries.
The duty of care that a property owner or operator owes to you will depend on your relationship with the property. For example, business owners owe their customers a higher duty of care than they do to trespassers.
Similarly, landowners owe a higher duty of care to invitees (people who are invited onto the property for a specific purpose) than licensees (people who are allowed onto the property for their convenience).How Can I Minimize My Liability in a Premises Liability Case?
There are a few things you can do to try to minimize your liability in a premises liability case:
- Make sure your property is well-maintained and in good repair. This includes repairing any obvious hazards, such as holes in the ground or loose railings.
- Keep your property clean and free of debris. This will help to prevent trip and fall accidents.
- Post warning signs where necessary. This is especially important if guests may be unaware of potential hazards on your property, such as wet floors or uneven surfaces.
- Ensure all entryways and exits are well-lit and easily visible at night. This will help to prevent people from accidentally walking into areas where they could be injured.
Many types of evidence may be used in premises liability cases, and it is important to know how to preserve this evidence to have the strongest case possible. Photographs or videos of the accident scene can be very helpful in showing what happened and who was at fault.
Eyewitness testimony from people who saw the accident happen can also be useful. If there were any security cameras at the location of the accident, be sure to get a copy of the footage, as this can also help prove your case. Any medical records of your injuries should also be gathered and preserved as evidence.
It is important to preserve any evidence related to your premises liability case as soon as possible. Take pictures of the scene, save security footage, and collect medical records immediately.Can I Be Held Liable for a Criminal Act That Occurs on My Property?
If you are the owner or occupier of a property, you may be held liable for certain criminal acts on your property. This is known as premises liability. Generally, you will only be held liable if you knew or should have known about the criminal activity and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it from occurring.
For example, if you own a commercial building and there is a pattern of drug dealing in the parking lot, you may be held liable if someone is injured as a result of that drug dealing. It is important to note that the laws vary from state to state, so you should consult an attorney in your local area for specific advice.What Common Hazards Can Lead to Premises Liability Claims, and How Can I Prevent Them?
Several different hazards can lead to premises liability claims. Some of the most common include:
- Slippery or wet surfaces: One of the most common hazards that can lead to a premises liability claim. It is important to ensure that all areas of your property are well-maintained and free from any slippery or wet surface conditions.
- Hazardous materials: Another common hazard that can lead to a premises liability claim is the presence of hazardous materials on your property. Ensuring all hazardous materials are properly labeled and stored safely is important.
- Poor lighting: Poor lighting can also be a hazard that leads to premises liability claims. It is important to ensure that all areas of your property are well-lit so that people can see where they are going and avoid potential hazards.
- Objects in walkways: One final hazard that can lead to premises liability claims is the presence of objects in walkways. It is important to ensure that all areas of your property are clear of any objects that could potentially trip someone or cause them to fall.
If you are aware of any hazards on your property, you have a duty to warn visitors about them. This includes ensuring that any warning signs are visible and legible and that visitors know the risks involved in entering the property. Failure to do so could result in premises liability claims being brought against you.
As a property owner, you have a duty to warn visitors about known hazards on your property. This includes potential dangers that are not immediately obvious, such as hidden cliffs or sinkholes. If you fail to warn visitors about known hazards, you may be liable if they are injured.
To avoid liability, it is important to post warning signs in conspicuous places and ensure visitors are aware of the risks before they enter your property. You should also reduce the risks posed by hazards, such as fencing off dangerous areas or repairing defects.Can I Be Held Liable for Injuries That Occur on a Neighboring Property?
If you own a property, you may be liable for injuries on neighboring properties in certain circumstances. For example, if you have a tree that falls on your neighbor's property and injures someone, you may be held liable if it is determined that you were aware of the dangerous condition of the tree and did not take reasonable steps to remedy the situation.
Similarly, if you have a pool on your property and your neighbor's child drowns in it, you may be held liable if it is determined that you did not take reasonable precautions to prevent access to the pool or to ensure it was safe for swimming.How Can I Ensure My Property Is up to Code and Complies With Relevant Safety Regulations?
There are a few different ways that you can help to ensure that your property is up to code and compliant with relevant safety regulations. One way is to regularly inspect your property, inside and out, looking for any potential hazards or areas needing repair. If you identify any issues, address them as soon as possible.
Another way to help keep your property safe is to stay up-to-date on local building codes and safety regulations. This way, you can be sure that any new construction or renovations on your property comply with these standards. It's always a good idea to have liability insurance if someone is injured on your property due to negligence.How Can I Train My Employees or Tenants to Maintain Safe Premises and Avoid Premises Liability Claims?
When it comes to premises liability, it's important to take measures to prevent accidents and injuries from happening in the first place. There are several ways you can train your employees or tenants to help maintain safe premises and avoid claims:
- Conduct regular safety audits and inspections of the property, inside and out. Pay close attention to areas that could pose a trip or fall hazard, such as loose carpeting, uneven flooring, cluttered hallways, etc. Make sure any potential hazards are promptly fixed.
- Educate employees and tenants on proper safety procedures for the property, such as how to use stairways, elevators, and escalators properly; where the fire exits are located; and what to do in case of an emergency.
- Implement policies and procedures that promote safety on the premises, such as prohibiting smoking in certain areas, requiring visitors to check in at the front desk, etc.
- Promote a culture of safety by regularly communicating with employees and tenants about safety concerns and encouraging them to report any potential hazards they may come across.
Several types of damages can be sought in a premises liability claim, including:
- Physical injuries - These are the most common damages sought in a premises liability claim. They can include any physical injury, such as broken bones, lacerations, or even death.
- Property damage - This can include damage to personal property, such as clothing or electronics.
- Emotional distress can include any mental anguish or suffering experienced due to the accident, such as fear, anxiety, or depression.
- Lost wages - If the accident has resulted in missed work days, lost wages can be recovered.
- Pain and suffering - This is a more general category of damages that can encompass any physical or emotional pain and suffering experienced due to the accident.
When it comes to premises liability, two key concepts can affect your claim: comparative negligence and assumption of risk.
Comparative negligence is when the plaintiff and the defendant are found to be at fault for an accident. The damages awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault, they would only be able to recover 80% of their damages.
Assumption of risk is when the plaintiff knew or should have known about the risks involved in an activity and chose to participate anyway. This can be used as a defense by the defendant to show that the plaintiff assumed the risks of the activity and, therefore, cannot sue for any injuries.
Both comparative negligence and assumption of risk can affect a premises liability claim, so it's important to understand how these concepts work before filing a claim.Can I Settle a Premises Liability Claim Out of Court, and What Factors Should I Consider When Deciding Whether to Settle?
It may be possible to settle your premises liability claim without going to court. This is typically done by negotiating with the property owner or insurance company. However, there are several factors you should consider before deciding whether to settle out of court, including:
- The severity of your injuries: If you have suffered serious injuries, you may be entitled to more compensation than minor injuries.
- The amount of money you are seeking: If you are only seeking a small amount of money, it may be easier to reach an agreement with the property owner or their insurance company.
- The strength of your case: If you have strong evidence to support your claim, you may be more likely to receive a favorable settlement.
- Your willingness to go to trial: If you are unwilling to, the property owner or their insurance company may be more likely to settle out of court.
If you lose a premises liability lawsuit, you may be required to pay damages to the injured person. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
If you are found to be liable for the injury, you may also have to pay the injured person's attorney's fees and court costs. To protect your assets in the event of a judgment against you, you should consider purchasing liability insurance.
This type of insurance will help cover the costs of any damages you must pay. You should also make sure that you are familiar with your state's laws regarding premises liability so that you can take appropriate steps to protect your property from potential lawsuits.Hire an Experienced Frankl Kominsky Premises Liability Lawyers Serving Miami Lakes
If you have been injured on someone else's property, you may be able to file a premises liability claim. These claims can be complex, so hiring an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the process and fight for the compensation you deserve is important.
At Frankl Kominsky, we have extensive experience handling premises liability claims in Miami Lakes. We are committed to protecting the rights of injury victims and will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
If you have been injured on someone else's property, call us today at (561) 800-8000 for a free consultation.