When an unforeseen accident occurs, leaving you injured and uncertain about your next steps, understanding the intricacies of Florida’s premises liability laws becomes paramount. Knowing your rights and obligations under the law can provide a sense of clarity and guide you toward seeking the compensation you deserve.
At McPherson & Thomas, P.A., we are here to help you navigate the complexities of premises liability claims. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to helping you assert your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and more. With our expertise in Florida premises liability laws, we will guide you through every step of the legal process, ensuring you receive the personalized attention and professional representation necessary to build a strong case.
How Is Premises Liability Defined in the State of Florida?
Premises liability refers to the legal concept that holds property owners accountable for injuries sustained by individuals on their premises due to negligent maintenance or hazardous conditions. In Florida, premises liability laws are designed to establish a duty of care on the part of property owners, ensuring they maintain reasonably safe conditions for visitors.
Duties of Property Owners
Under Florida law, property owners owe a duty of care to both invited and uninvited guests. The level of care owed depends on the visitor’s legal status, which falls into three categories:
- Invitees: These are individuals who are invited onto the property for business purposes, such as customers or clients. Property owners owe invitees the highest level of care and must maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, regularly inspect for hazards, and promptly address any dangers that arise.
- Licensees: Licensees are individuals who enter the property for non-business-related purposes with the owner’s permission. Examples include social guests or friends. Property owners must warn licensees of known hazards but are not required to actively inspect the premises.
- Trespassers: While property owners owe a lesser duty of care to trespassers, they must refrain from intentionally causing harm. However, property owners are generally not liable for injuries sustained by trespassers unless the owner’s actions or negligence directly contributed to the harm.
Florida premises liability laws recognize various types of hazards that can result in injury. Some common examples include:
- Slip-and-fall Accidents: These occur when individuals slip, trip, or fall due to hazardous conditions such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, inadequate lighting, or debris.
- Hazardous conditions: This includes situations involving dangerous objects, toxic substances, faulty structures, inadequate maintenance, or unmarked hazards that could cause harm to visitors.
It’s important to consult an experienced premises liability attorney who can assess your case and determine the best legal path toward full and fair compensation.
Proving Premises Liability
To establish a premises liability claim in Florida, certain elements must be proven:
- Duty of care: The injured party must demonstrate that the property owner had a legal duty to provide a safe environment.
- Breach of duty: It must be shown that the property owner breached their duty of care by failing to maintain safe conditions or adequately warn visitors about potential hazards.
- Causation: The injured party must establish a direct link between the property owner’s negligence and the injuries sustained.
- Damages: The claimant must demonstrate the extent of the injuries and resulting damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or disability.
In the case of slip and fall accidents caused by transitory foreign substances (i.e. water), Florida law requires that a claimant prove that the business actually knew about the substance before the slip and fall, or should have known about it through the exercise of reasonable care.
It’s important to know that Florida follows the legal principle of contributory negligence, meaning that if the injured party is partially responsible for their injuries, their compensation may be reduced proportionately. However, as long as the injured party’s fault does not exceed 50 percent, they may still be eligible for compensation.
It’s also crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a premises liability claim in Florida. Generally, personal injury claims must be filed within two years from the date of the incident. Failing to meet this deadline can result in the loss of the right to seek compensation.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer Today
Understanding Florida’s premises liability laws is crucial for anyone who has suffered an injury on another person’s property. By familiarizing yourself with the duties of property owners, the types of hazards that can lead to injuries, and the process of proving premises liability, you can empower yourself to take appropriate action.
At McPherson & Thomas, P.A., we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a personal injury can have on your life. We are committed to providing you with personalized attention, unwavering advocacy, and the expertise needed to navigate the complex realm of premises liability claims in Florida. Reach out to us by calling (727) 848-8892 or filling out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation.