Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Attorneys
Property owners or tenants in possession of a particular piece of property may be held responsible for injuries that occur on that property. Individuals with control over the property are expected to take reasonable precautions to eliminate dangerous conditions such as slippery stairs, uneven floors or inadequate lighting — and to warn people of those dangers. If you or someone you love was injured by the failure of a property owner or tenant to take such precautions, you should discuss your case with an experienced Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorney.
An individual suffering from an injury due to a property owner’s negligence may sue that property owner for compensation for the injury. The person bringing the suit has to prove that the owner was negligent in maintaining their property and that the owner’s negligence caused the their injury. In Florida, as in many other states, the law gives greater protection to invitees — people who are present on the property for the owner’s commercial gain, such as customers in a store — than it does to licensees, who are peopleeither invited or allowed to come onto someone’s property for a non-commercial purpose.
Property owners who invite others onto their property for commercial purposes have a duty to inspect the property for any dangerous conditions and take action to eliminate such conditions or warn visitors to avoid them. Because of the duty to inspect, they are responsible not only for conditions that they knew about, but also for dangers that they should have been aware of that might be dangerous to others. For example, if a person slips and falls on a wet floor in a market and is injured in the fall, the owner of the market will be held liable for that injury unless the owner proves that he or she had made reasonable efforts to inspect the floors, clean them as needed and place warning signs alerting patrons to the slipperiness of the wet floor.
In contrast, in regard to social guests, property owners are only held responsible for injuries caused by conditions that the owners knew about and failed to rectify, or about which they failed to give adequate warning.
Under Florida law, property owners owe most trespassers a much lower duty of care — only the duty not to act intentionally or recklessly to hurt such trespassers. If an owner is aware both of dangers on the property and of the fact that trespassers often enter his or her property, he or she also has a duty to warn the trespassers of the existing dangers
However, the law provides greater protection to children. Certain features of a property may be considered attractive nuisances — features that pose dangers but are nonetheless appealing to children such as a pool or a trampoline. If children are drawn onto a property by such attractive nuisances and then harmed by them, the property owner may be held liable for the children’s injuries, even if those children were trespassers.
Premises liability law applies in a variety of circumstances, including cases involving construction accidents, unsafe swimming pools, parking lots, playgrounds, elevators and improperly maintained sidewalks, walkways and stairways — which may lead to slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall incidents. It also applies in a variety of locations in private homes, shopping malls, amusement parks, playgrounds, work places and restaurants. In addition, victims of crimes may sue property owners who took inadequate security measures and therefore allowed the crimes at issue to occur more easily on their property.
If you have any further questions regarding premises liability or if you have been injured in an accident and would like to speak to one of our Ft Lauderdale premises liability attorneys, please call us or contact us here.