Weston Premises Liability Attorney
In Florida, the controller or owner of property has a legal obligation to keep those premises safe for its inhabitants. Just as a product manufacturer has the obligation to be socially responsible and keep their products safe to use, a business proprietor must keep a reasonable eye on their environment and eliminate obstacles to safety.
If you have suffered an injury on commercial or residential premises due to the negligent property maintenance of its owner, you may be entitled to fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Lisa Levine has 20 years of experience fighting for cases like yours. Contact the Florida premises liability attorneys at Lisa S. Levine, P.A. to discuss a premises liability case throughout Southeast Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Sunrise, Tamarac, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Cooper City, Plantation, Hollywood, Miramar, Miami Gardens, Lauderhill and nearby areas.
Types of Premises Liability
Since "premises" is defined as any location including grounds and buildings, there are understandably a wide variety of accidents that could be under this umbrella term. Any situation in which you could be injured as the result of negligent grounds-keeping could be considered premises liability. Some of the more common premises liability cases are as follows:
- Slip and Fall
- Negligent Security / Crime Victim Injuries
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Injuries on School Grounds
- Dog Bites / Animal Attacks
Getting informed on these subjects will help you learn about your personal injury case and what limitations and obligations you have as the owner or proprietor of a location. After you have learned about your case, the next step is to contact experienced legal representation to back you in your fight for compensation. The attorneys at Lisa S. Levine, P.A. will help you earn the compensatory or punitive damages you are entitled to earn for your case.
Premises Liability Terms Defined
In Florida premises liability cases, the defendant is the owner or proprietor of the premises who allegedly committed negligent acts, and the plaintiff is the victim who was injured. The burden of proof is usually on the plaintiff, though this burden of proof is significantly less than in a criminal case.
Burden of Proof
In a criminal situation, proof must be established "beyond a reasonable doubt", where a civil case with a basis in tort law can be won by a majority of evidence in favor of the victor. This majority is called preponderance of evidence, and it simply means that if at least 51% of the evidence is in your favor, you can receive damages in a personal injury case.
Comparative Negligence / Contributory Negligence
Another considerable concept for a premises liability case is the idea of comparative or contributory negligence. This takes into account that it's not always 100% the fault of the business owner when someone is injured on their premises. For example, a grocery store may neglect to put a Wet Floor sign over a recent spill that has yet to be cleaned, causing a customer to slip and suffer a concussion. The customer would be entitled to damages from their injury; however, if the customer had been running and recklessly charging about the area of the spill, they would share some of the blame. Similarly, if a worker was injured by a defective power tool, they could receive compensation for the incident. If that worker hadn't been wearing mandatory safety gear, they would also partake in negligence and their claim would be reduced.
In a case with comparative negligence, the amount of damages is directly reduced by the percentage of shared negligence on the part of the plaintiff. If our negligent injured worker was 45% responsible for the costs of injuries he sustained, he would only receive 55% of the damages.
Responsibility to Visitors
The controller of a location has different responsibilities to different types of visitors. A trespasser on some property will not have the same level of protection that a welcomed business guest would have. This distinction is important for anyone to understand.
These types of visitors are present for business purposes. A common type of business invitee is a potential customer within a store or a client at an office. Even if nothing was purchased, a potential customer is considered a business invitee if they were browsing available wares.
A proprietor has the responsibility toward business invitees to keep the premises in safe conditions and provide adequate warning whenever there is a known dangerous situation on the premises. This responsibility includes the inspection and maintenance of the property. This type of visitor calls for the highest level of responsibility from the owner.
These visitors are present for social reasons via either an actual or implied invitation by the owner of the premises. For example, if a friend stops by unexpectedly, they are considered an invited guest, since the invitation was implied through friendship.
This type of visitor doesn't require as much responsibility on the part of the owner; they are expected to warn guests of any dangerous situations and maintain the property, but the mandates for grounds inspection aren't as stringent.
A trespasser is any individual on the premises who has not been invited, real or implied. A trespasser could a vandal, burglar, or simply a passer-by taking a shortcut through the property. Regardless of their status on the property or their intent to commit crimes, they still retain protection rights on the premises—though at a considerably lower level than an invited guest.
While the owner of the property has no legal obligation to warn trespassers of dangers that may exist, they are forbidden from intentionally or recklessly placing obstacles or objects that may endanger a trespasser, like traps.
The Florida attractive nuisance doctrine is an exception to the trespasser rule which involves children in potential danger on the owner's premises. Under this doctrine, the owner is liable for injuries to a youth trespasser if the following conditions are met:
- the owner knows or has reason to know that the dangerous condition exists where children are likely to trespass
- the condition is known or should be known to be an unreasonable risk of death or serious injury to trespassing children
- the child, because of his or her age, does not discover the condition or realize the risk involved
- the burden on the owner of eliminating the risk is slight compared to the risk posed to children
- the owner fails to take reasonable care to remove the danger or protect the child
- the dangerous condition is what enticed the child onto the property
This means that an owner is only liable for a child trespasser's injuries if they knew about a dangerous situation on their property that would be likely to entice a young child and failed to do anything within reason to remedy the situation.
Lisa S. Levine, P.A. - Broward County Property Liability Lawyer
Sustaining an injury on someone else's premises could mean that you've been wronged. If you've been injured on private property, the attorneys at Lisa S. Levine, P.A. can work with you to get you the compensation you are entitled to receive. Lisa Levine is passionate about fighting for justice and restitution in negligence cases. Contact us today to discuss your case in North Lauderdale, Southwest Ranches, Rolling Oaks, Pine Island Ridge, Oak Point, Margate, Coconut Creek, and surrounding communities. Call us at 954-332-6100 or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.