You should be able to go to a grocery store, restaurant, shopping mall, hotel, or other public places without worrying that you could suffer serious injuries due to unsafe conditions. Unfortunately, property owners don’t always maintain their premises like they should.
If you get hurt on someone else’s property, you may be able to demand compensation for your losses in a premises liability lawsuit. At Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, our Florida premises liability lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience handling these complex claims. We know what it takes to hold negligent property owners accountable, and we will fight for the full compensation you need to recover.
Please contact our team today to talk about your legal options in a free consultation.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a specific type of personal injury law that allows an injured person to hold a property owner responsible for injuries caused by a dangerous or defective condition on the property. Our law firm handles numerous types of premises liability claims, including:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Negligent security claims
- Fires on the property due to an existing dangerous condition
- Toxic chemicals on the property due to inadequate safeguarding
- Amusement park accidents
If you are injured on another person’s property in Florida, whether you are a resident of the state or are simply visiting here, it is important to know that you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Our premises liability attorneys can evaluate your claim for free and advise you of your legal options.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Claim?
Generally speaking, in order to prove that the property owner is liable for injuries in a premises liability claim, you will need to be able to prove all of the following:
- The defendant owned, leased, occupied, or otherwise had control over the property.
- The defendant owed a duty of care to you.
- The defendant knew or had reasonable time to know about the danger on the property but did not take reasonable actions to address the danger.
- You were injured as a result of that negligence.
- Your injuries have caused you damages (medical expenses, etc.)
Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of Florida premises liability law, and we can manage all the details in proving your claim for compensation. Our goal is to take that burden off you, so you can focus on your recovery rather than your legal case.
How Is Premises Liability Different in Florida?
Depending on where an accident happens and what the details of the case include, a plaintiff might be required to provide additional proof about the property owner’s liability in Florida. Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 768.0755) is different when it comes to a commercial property injury involving a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment. In other words, when a person slips and falls due to a liquid spill in a store or restaurant, the rules are a bit different.
Under the statute, the injured person must be able to prove that the business establishment “had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.”
How can a plaintiff prove that a business had constructive knowledge? The statute cites the following options:
- Proof that the dangerous condition existed for a long enough period of time that the business should have known about it in exercising ordinary care over the premises
- Proof that the condition occurred regularly and thus the business should have known about it because it was foreseeable
Our Florida premises liability lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of the law and how to prove negligence in slip and fall claims. To talk about the details of your case, contact us now for a free consultation.
How Can a Premises Liability Attorney Help?
A premises liability lawyer can analyze the facts of your case and handle all the details of your claim from start to finish.
In some premises liability accidents, you may be able to obtain full compensation by filing an insurance claim and negotiating a reasonable settlement. However, this is not as simple as it sounds. Your attorney will be able to determine and prove liability, as well as provide thorough documentation of the damages you have suffered. Armed with evidence to support your claim, your attorney can negotiate from a position of strength.
In other cases where the insurance company will not offer a reasonable settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that your lawyer will continue negotiating with the defendant in pursuit of a fair settlement, but your lawyer will also be prepared to take your case to a verdict if necessary.
Do not risk going up against a deep-pocketed insurance company on your own. Let our firm stand strong for you.
Compensation Available for Injury Victims
If you were injured in an accident on someone else’s property, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Hospital bills
- Costs of doctor’s visits
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Future treatment costs
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In rare cases where the property owner’s negligence was so terrible that it constitutes gross negligence, or where the property owner’s behavior was intentional, you may be able to seek punitive damages under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 768.73). Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant for bad behavior.
What to Do If You Have Been Hurt on Someone Else’s Property?
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, it is important to take steps to preserve your ability to seek compensation. You should consider the following tips:
- Seek medical attention. Your health is your top priority. Getting the medical treatment you need will not only ensure you are on the best path to recovery, but it will also ensure your injuries are documented from the beginning. Do not put off seeing a doctor, as it could hurt you and your case.
- Take photographs of the scene, or ask someone to do it for you. If you slipped and fell because of a liquid spill at a restaurant, take pictures of the scene from a variety of angles, and ensure that the photos are time-stamped. Be sure to save any clothing you were wearing, such as shoes with slippery substances on them, that could be used as evidence.
- Obtain witness contact information. Ask anyone who witnessed the accident or injury for contact information. Your premises liability lawyer can follow up with them later.
- Inform the property owner of the injury as soon as possible. If there is an option to file an incident report, ask for a copy.
- Get legal advice from a premises liability lawyer as quickly as you can. Just as there are many things you can do to protect your rights, there are also many mistakes you can make that would hurt your claim. Talking to a lawyer right away will ensure you know what to do.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Accident on Dangerous Property
You should seek specific advice from our premises liability attorneys about contact with the insurance company. Generally speaking, however, you should take into account the following tips whenever you are dealing with an insurance company after an accident:
- Know that the insurance company is not on your side, but rather is looking out for its own interests and will want to avoid paying out a claim whenever possible.
- Know that everything you say to an insurance adjuster will be used against you. Do not give a written or recorded statement without speaking to our lawyers.
- Recognize that insurance companies may low-ball an initial settlement offer, and there is often room to negotiate a reasonable settlement. Do not accept a payment without speaking to our lawyers.
Time Limit on Premises Liability Claims
If you need to file a premises liability lawsuit in Florida, it is essential to know that there is a time limit on your claim. Under Florida’s personal injury statute of limitations, a premises liability lawsuit must be filed within four years from the date of your injury.
Although you might think that four years is a significant amount of time, that clock can run quickly when you are dealing with insurance negotiations. Moreover, if you wait too long to contact an attorney, important evidence in your case may be lost. The sooner you get in touch with a premises liability lawyer, the sooner we can begin gathering evidence to build your case.
Do you need help with a premises liability claim? Our experienced and dedicated premises liability attorney in Florida can begin working on your case today. Contact Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, to learn how we can fight for the full and fair compensation you need to recover.