Federal and Florida laws place certain obligations on property owners. They need to ensure that their places are safe for the people who visit and clear or address any condition that can harm them. When owners fail to keep a place safe, visitors could end up being injured.
Here at Englander Peebles, our Miami injury lawyers understand the premises liability statutes and can hold a property owner responsible for any harm you suffered while on someone’s property. Premises liability claims cover a wide variety of accidents and if you think that you have a claim, contact a reliable Miami premises liability lawyer at Englander Peebles for assistance.
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Do I Have a Premises Liability Claim?
Before you conclude that you have a premises liability claim, you need to understand a few issues: the legal definition for the term premise, property owner obligations, and your obligations. You will need to satisfy all these facets of the law to have a valid premises liability claim.
You Were on a Property That Meets the Definition of a Premises
First, understand the types of properties that fall under an owner’s premises. Usually, you would assume that it encompasses house, land, and vehicle, but often, the term premise stretches to more than this. Business owners can be held accountable for their offices, contractors for their worksites, and landlords for the tenant’s working space. If you own a property where an injury happened, you can easily be held liable for those injuries, even if you have never stepped on that property.
The Property Owner Owed You a Duty of Care
The premises liability law is defined by a “duty of care” owed by the property owner. They should ensure that their visitors are safe from accidents and injuries. The law goes an extra step and defines the type of invitations presented to visitors to the premises. Note that you cannot file for a premises liability claim if you are not authorized to be there in the first place.
The three forms of visitors are invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
- Invitees are people who are on the property to do their business, such as contractors, gatekeepers, among others.
- Licensees are people invited on a property for social purposes, for instance, friends and family members.
- Trespassers are those who access someone’s property with no formal invitation from the owner. Naturally, they do not have a claim against property owners unless in exceptional circumstances, for instance, where the property is regarded as excessively dangerous.
You Had Permission to Be on the Property
A visitor must be given consent to access the property for a premises liability claim to hold in either written, spoken or implied form. Once an invitation is accepted, the property owner and visitors should ensure that they uphold their safety.
What are Common Injuries in Premises Liability Cases in Miami?
The most common injuries seen in these cases include;
- Slipping and falling on a wet surface
- Tripping on an uneven surface or unmarked step
- Faulty stairs or railings
- Children injured while playing in an unsafe area
- Being hit by a falling object
- Escalator and elevator accidents
- Structural failings that lead to an injury
- Neck and back injuries
- Electrical shocks
- Illness from exposure to toxic chemicals
Who Is Responsible for an Injury in a Premise Liability Case?
For you to file for compensation in a premise liability case, you have the burden of proof. This way, you need to show the jury a couple of things before liability is established in such a case. While the evidence that you were injured on the premise is easy to get, things become more complicated when you are required to show that the property owner had a duty of care and acted negligently. Here you will need to prove that:
- You were injured as a direct result of an unsafe or hazardous condition on the property
- The property owner was aware of this dangerous condition or should have been aware of it if they took proper care of the property
- The owner did not take care of this hazardous condition, or they did not adequately warn you about it
Proving liability here takes many factors into consideration since the law cannot blatantly start awarding compensation for every injury that happens on another entity’s premises. Various factors come into play when trying to establish reasonable standards of care for that scenario.
This includes whether the accident could have been foreseen, the use of the property, and the circumstances that led to the affected person accessing the property and getting injured. In some instances, the court might hold the premise owner liable but find that the injured person acted negligently as well.
Besides, all visitors to a property are required to mitigate any possible injuries. They should do everything in their power to avoid injury while on the property and even avoid the extent of this injury once the accident happens. If the court finds that they could do this but chose not two, then it could end up in a situation where both parties are at fault in premises liability. Here, the court will instruct them to find ways they can work to share liability.
What If a Child Is Injured?
When a child is injured on someone’s property, it is natural for the parents to be scared and start mulling over their options. Well, the law in Florida has provisions for children, and they are also eligible for compensation if the owner of the premise is found to be negligent.
The laws surrounding the kind of visitors on someone’s property apply to children, but an exception is taken since they are young and might not have the degree of responsibility an adult has. Besides, children cannot understand all the nuances and details of the Florida premises liability law, and in a way, the jury tends to lean on their side when they are in the middle of a case.
One common law that applies to them is that of attractive nuisance, which stipulates that certain features on someone’s land can be exciting and attractive to children, causing them harm, even if an adult could discern this. Examples of such features include swimming pools, refrigerators, construction sites, among others.
If your child is injured due to attractive nuisance, then you as the parent can file for compensation as their “next friend,” which is a term used to define someone who represents another that is legally incapacitated to file for compensation. Proving liability in such cases can be challenging since the facts might be scanty, but it is not impossible. The law states that all property owners who own anything that can be an attractive nuisance should remove it or secure it to keep children safe.
What if I Was Injured at My Workplace?
Most people confuse premises liability and workers’ compensation suits since they overlap in a way. A business premise is still someone’s premises, and one would argue that if they got injured there, they could have a premises liability claim. But it all depends on the circumstances.
There is a fine line between the two, and an experienced Englander Peebles attorney can help you understand what compensation to file for. Note that workers’ compensation policy is relatively limited as it is meant to protect you against the injuries suffered while engaging in work activities. This way, it might not be enough to compensate you for all the damages suffered.
In some exceptional cases, one might be eligible to file for both suits. For instance, if the premise is managed by a third party and hired by your employer and you get injured on the job. Here, you might be eligible for compensation from your employer’s workers’ compensation policy and the owner of the premise for failing to uphold the required safety standards.
Note that going with two claims can be risky and allow the defendant to shoot them down. The aim of filing for compensation is to get you back to the state you were before the accident happened and not enrich you. This way, if you file for both claims and request for an unrealistic amount, then the defendant will get the impression that you want to take advantage of the situation and get a lot of money out of the two policies.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Premises Liability Claim?
The statute of limitations in Florida states that one should file a premises liability claim four years from the date the accident happened. However, it is essential to act as soon as possible to maximize the potential of the damages. You need to get medical treatment quickly and file for the claim immediately as it becomes harder to prove liability as time passes.
Get a Free Case Assessment From a Miami Premises Liability Lawyer
Premises liability claims are a select type of personal injury suits that require expertise and experience for you to get compensation for your injuries. The jury considers various things, and you need a lawyer who understands all the conditions and can use them to build a strong case against the defendant. If you think that you have a premises liability claim, contact a Miami premises liability lawyer at Englander Peebles at (954) 231-1384 and let us conduct a free case assessment for you.