Were you seriously injured on someone else’s property? At Gerber Law, founding attorney Maria Gerber believes that everyone deserves a chance to receive a fair financial recovery after being wrongfully injured by someone else’s negligence.
Our firm has protected and represented the people of Sarasota, Florida, in all manner of personal injury cases, including tricky premises liability claims. When you come to us for support, you will benefit from attorney Maria Gerber’s numerous accolades and accomplishments.
After being injured on someone else’s property, you deserve proper care. You should not have to worry about paying your medical expenses out of pocket, nor should you need to stress about missing wages while you recover. When you retain Ms. Gerber as your Sarasota and Venice personal injury attorney, you will be in good hands.
Negligent property owners endanger everyone
Landowners and managers alike have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment on the property or in the buildings they operate or control. Retail managers must ensure that no spills lead to dangerous slip-and-fall accidents, pet owners must be sure that no visitors suffer any dog bites, and so on. When they act negligently and fail to appropriately address a hazard in their home, store, or place of business, they must be held accountable for any related injuries.
Hazards that commonly lead to personal injuries and premises liability claims include:
- Inadequate lighting in dark areas
- Damaged handrails or steps
- Pooled water caused by poor drainage systems
- Lack of effective security measures
- Uncontrolled animals
- Loose wiring
- Badly maintained equipment
- Rug or tile damage
Types of premises liability cases
Premises liability falls under the category of personal injury. In this case, it means that a person was injured because of a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property—a condition the property owner, landlord, manager, or other entity responsible for the upkeep of the property knew about or reasonably should have known about and failed to fix.
Typically, liability accidents include:
- Slip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability claim. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and account for more than eight million per year. They can be caused by anything from grease on a restaurant floor to uneven pavement to ripped or curled carpets to uneven floor surfaces.
- Negligent security claims are the result of an injury caused by a criminal activity. If, for instance, the parking lot of a shopping mall or apartment complex had inadequate or burned out lighting that foreseeably made it dangerous at night, the property owner or management company may be liable for injuries incurred as a result of their negligence.
- Elevator/escalator accidents often occur as a result of inadequate maintenance or lack of signage on a broken or malfunctioning elevator or escalator. Common elevator accident injuries include being struck by a closing door or tripping over a gap between the floor and the elevator. Escalators may stop suddenly, have broken steps or loose or unstable handrails. In many cases, elevator and escalator injuries are caused by equipment that is poorly maintained or out of code.
- Swimming pool accidents in Florida are a sadly common occurrence. In fact, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death of very young children. Accidents may stem from broken pool ladders or diving boards, lack of fencing, no lifeguard or improperly trained lifeguard (where one is required), or entrapment when hair or clothing gets caught in a drain missing an anti-entrapment device.
- Flooding and fires are another common cause of accident injuries. To determine whether this is a case of premises liability, our Sarasota premises liability lawyer will determine whether the fire or flood was preventable and should have reasonably been seen as a potential danger.
- Dog bites can be terrifying, especially for young children who are often attracted to “man’s best friend.” Florida had five fatal dog attacks in 2020, but far more common are pediatric facial bites, particularly for children five years old and younger. Owners are responsible for controlling their animals, and when they do not, and someone gets bitten, they can and should be held responsible.
- Amusement Park accidents may be more common than most would think. A report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that there were an estimated 30,000 emergency room visits linked to amusement park accidents. Florida amusement park regulations require inspections of all rides; however, many amusement parks and carnival rides are put up, taken down, and moved across state lines. Whether a permanent installation or a temporary one, amusement park owners and operators are accountable for the safe operation of all rides. Failure to do so may amount to negligence.
Status on the property matters
In order to have a claim qualify as a legitimate premises liability case, the injured person must have been invited to the property. A person is a legal invitee if they are in a facility that is open to the public—for instance, grocery/retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs are all commercial enterprises. If a person is there during hours of operation, they are considered an invitee. Likewise, if a person is in a home or residence and was invited there by the owner or legal occupant(s), that person is an invitee.
Trespassers are not considered legal invitees, and therefore have no legal standing in a premises liability case unless there was either gross negligence or intentional misconduct on the part of the owner or manager of the property.
Who is responsible: Proving liability and damages in a premises liability claim
Property owners or those who have control or rights over a property are responsible for ensuring the safety of those who have a legitimate right to be on that property (in other words, they are an invitee). If they fail in that obligation, they may be liable for injuries sustained on their property. In order to file a successful premises liability claim, your attorney collects evidence to show that the property owner or manager knew or should have known that:
- A hazardous condition existed
- The condition was not fixed within a reasonable period of time
- The condition occurred regularly and was therefore foreseeable
- You suffered injuries and damages because of the hazardous condition
For example, under Florida statute 768.0755, the owner of a retail establishment is liable for injuries sustained in their store that were the result of aisle obstructions that were not attended to in a reasonable period of time.
Duty of care and negligence
The idea that a property owner is responsible for maintaining a safe and secure environment is called a “duty of care.” In a nutshell, this means that to file a lawsuit for premises liability, you must show that the property owner or agent breached that duty of care because they knew the dangerous condition existed; that it was not fixed in a reasonable time period; that an accident was foreseeable; and that the condition ultimately caused an injury. Therefore, by breaching the duty of care, the owner or manager was negligent.
Negligence is the result of breach of duty of care because the property owner failed to use reasonable care in connection with the property, and somebody was injured as a result. In that case, the injured party has grounds to sue the responsible entity or entities for damages.
Compensation for medical bills and more
Even a minor injury can involve costs such as ER visits and missed days at work. More severe injuries are costlier still, both financially and emotionally. These injuries may include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back or neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Head injuries
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Eye injury
- Hip, knee, or other joint injury
Any injury may lead to an infection, and head injuries in particular may lead to cognitive disabilities or emotional issues such as anxiety or depression, sleep disorders, or changes in behavior.
If you or a family member has been injured because of property owner negligence, you may be owed compensation for:
- Current and future physician bills
- Physical therapy
- Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, or other similar devices
- Loss of current and future wages
- Pain and suffering
In the worst of all cases—the loss of the life of a loved one—a wrongful death claim may be brought.
We will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve
To learn more about how our Sarasota premises liability lawyers can help you, please call us at 1-866-233-4529 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs. We are happy to meet you at your home or in the hospital.
Remember, Florida law allows you to seek compensation, even if you were partially at fault. We will give you an honest evaluation of your claim and work to get you every penny you deserve.