Many people assume that if they are injured on someone else’s property, that individual is automatically liable for their medical bills and associated costs. But that is not necessarily the case. Understanding when you have a valid claim against someone is essential before pursuing legal action, and a local personal injury attorney can definitely assist in that department.
Determining Liability in a Premises Liability Case
The fact of the matter is, only a small percent of injuries that occur result in solid liability claims. While the question of injury may not be contested, determining who was at fault for the injury can be a precarious business. For example, imagine you slip and fall after someone spills a drink in a restaurant. Everyone may agree to several facts of the case, including that there was liquid on the floor, you did sip and fall after stepping in the liquid, and you did incur a broken ankle as a result of the fall. Don’t assume, however, that the restaurant is automatically liable. The courts must determine whether or not the conduct of the business was reasonable. If the spill occurred hours ago and several employees were aware of it and did nothing to take care of it, the restaurant may, indeed, have been negligent, and therefore liable. But if the spill occurred seconds ago, it wouldn’t really be reasonable to expect someone to have mopped it up before your unfortunate fall. Therefore, the restaurant may not be found to be liable.
Investigating Liability Claims
If you are determined to prove that someone else is liable for your injuries, there will be several things worth collecting:
- Witness statements related to the accident: Were other customers or private citizens present who knew of the hazard or who saw what happened?
- Incident reports: If the injury occurred in a public business, did the company file an incident report detailing what happened? What is their view of the episode?
- Pictures: If the hazard can be photographed, it can be an important piece of your documentation.
- Medical records: Did you seek medical attention immediately, or wait for a few weeks? Can your injuries be linked to the incident?
- Police reports: Did law enforcement respond to the incident? If so, they likely filed a report.
- Weather records: If the accident was in any way weather related, records documenting the weather will be examined.
If you were partly responsible for the accident, a jury may be asked to determine what percentage of liability the other party has. So let’s say you fell due to a spill on the restaurant floor, but you were running in the restaurant. It’s possible you may be partially responsible, and may recover only a portion of the damages you are seeking.
Questions of liability are truly answered on a case-by-case basis. If you have been injured and believe another party is liable, contact the experienced team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton in Daytona & Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.
Daytona & Ormond Beach Premises Liability Attorney
Daytona & Ormond Beach Premises Liability Attorney
Contact Us for Daytona & Ormond Beach Premises Liability Claims
Attorney Robert W. Elton in Daytona Beach, Florida, has successfully represented those who have been injured in premises liability accidents for more than forty years. The most common type, but certainly not the only type, of premises liability claims are those involving slip and fall accidents.
Other types of premises liability issues are related to the overall safety and security of a specific business, retail store, apartment complex, or other such commercial or residential entity, contact our Daytona & Ormond Beach premises liability attorneys today.
What is a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
A premises liability lawsuit is brought in civil court against a defendant who the plaintiff believes to be negligent in a matter related to the plaintiff’s injuries that occurred on the property for which the defendant was responsible. In such cases, a plaintiff ‘s injuries are a result of the defendant’s inaction or inattentiveness to a hazard.
In simple terms, this means that someone entered a property as a worker, visitor, or trespasser, and they sustained injuries due to the neglect of the responsible party or entity. In order to win such a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the person or entity responsible for the property was negligent.
FAQs and Resources :
- What Questions Should You Ask Your Premises Liability Attorney?
- What is Premises Liability?
- Most Common Premises Liability Cases – And What You Can Do to Fight Back
Conditions for Liability
Premises liability concerns conditions that are dangerous and of which either the liable party was knowledgeable or of which they should have had knowledge.
The responsible party would be negligent if they did not warn a person entering on the property of the dangerous condition or hazard, or if they did not act to alleviate the problem in a timely manner.
Finally, the injured party must have behaved in an appropriate and responsible manner while on the premises, utilizing common sense in terms of dealing with the hazard.
Along with slip and fall accidents, premise liability claims may be made against a party if injuries suffered were due to lack of security, to the creation of a hazardous situation involving any range of materials, such as explosives, gases, etc., or matters in which aggressive security or untrained security personnel causing injuries.
Classification of Levels of Care
Visitors on a property may come under one of three classifications. Depending on why a person is on a specific property will influence to some degree the level of care the owner or responsible party must provide.
The three basic areas under which visitors are classified are:
- Business invitees
Each of the above classifications is viewed a little differently under premises law in the State of Florida.
The classification “business invitees” relates to many different types of visitors. A business invitee is anyone that steps onto a property with the intent of conducting some type of business transaction or performing some type of work.
This includes repairmen and other such workers who come to perform a service at an individual’s home, customers at a convenience store, diners at a restaurant, motor vehicle operators at a gas station pumping fuel, and others.
The party responsible for the property is charged with maintaining the premises to ensure the safety of visitors regardless of purpose. The property owner must repair or correct any unsafe conditions or inform visitors of any hazards.
Appropriate maintenance includes monitoring floors and aisles for spills, debris, or obstructions and cleaning up such, ensuring that all stairs, doorways, and hallways are safely navigable, and checking and ensuring any and all equipment is functioning properly and safely. Appropriate property maintenance includes routine inspections conducted by responsible parties or their agents.
Licensees are composed of those who are invited onto the property as social guests. These include friends, family members, associates, and others. To be a licensee, a person does not have to be invited. If someone stops by without warning, they also fall into this category.
The level of care for licensees is not quite as high as it is for business invitees. Licensees, who are afforded the second highest level of care, are commonly on a property to interact socially. They include people celebrating a special occasion or holiday, or someone who stops by to visit.
For licensees, the property owner is required to sustain a level of care, which means be aware of any hazards or needed repairs, and informing visitors of such. In addition, the property must be maintained so that it is reasonably safe. The level of care in for licensees does not include routine inspections.
It is often a surprise when some individuals learn that a level of care exists for trespassers. In the State of Florida, if a property owner discovers a trespasser on his or her property, he or she must inform the trespasser of any known dangers that they may not readily see or of which they may not be aware.
Also, a property owner or responsible party may not recklessly or willingly cause injury to someone who is trespassing. In doing so, they may be held liable for injuries and damages.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured while visiting a property, and you believe it was due to negligent behavior, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
A seasoned and successful lawyer who has handled numerous premises liability cases will know how to address your situation and get you the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Your lawyer will make sure that you are filing suit against the correct party and will ensure that you receive a fair and just settlement. A civil lawsuit addressing a situation in which you were injured while on another person’s property will seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, future care, projected lost income, and pain and suffering.
The negligent party will also be held responsible for any loss or damage to your personal property.
Consider Talking to an Experienced Daytona Beach Premises Liability Attorneys
Premises liability cases require a knowledgeable and experienced legal representation. If you have questions concerning a premises liability lawsuit or if you believe you have grounds for one, contact me, Daytona & Ormond Beach Premises liability attorneys Robert W. Elton in Florida, by calling 386-274-2229.
You may also reach me by using the short information form provided on this page. I will contact you to set up a free, no obligation appointment where we will discuss and evaluate your case and provide you with possible options. Contact me today.