The Most Common Premises Liability Cases – And What You Can Do to Fight Back
Premises liability is a relatively broad area of the law. It can range from a simple slip and fall case to being injured due to a dog bite. Each type of case has several defenses available, so you must get around these defenses if you are going to attempt at a settlement for your injuries.
Slip and Fall Cases
In the average slip and fall case, the injured party must show that the property owner knew about the condition that caused the slip and fall and that they failed to correct the condition. This can be difficult to prove in some situations. Other potential defenses include:
The condition occurred so close in time to the accident that the property owner either did not know about it or could not have prevented it.
The condition was “open and obvious,” which assumes that if the person who was injured was watching where they were going, they would have seen and avoided the condition.
- The person who was injured was careless, not paying attention, or intoxicated at the time of the accident.
If you are the victim of a crime on another person’s property, then the property owner could be liable for negligent security. That means that the property owner should have done something to protect you so that you were not harmed.
The major defense to this type of claim is that the crime was not foreseeable. For example, if the property owner’s parking lot is in a high crime area, then it is foreseeable that one of his or her customers may be harmed while walking to their car in the dark. Failing to provide lighting or a security guard in a parking lot could lead to foreseeable harm in this situation.
Animal and Dog Bites
There are very few defenses to the average dog bite case in Florida. If the dog bites another person, the dog owner will generally be liable for the victim’s injuries. There are, however, a few exceptions:
The owner may not be liable if the victim was not on the property owner’s property lawfully.
The percentage of the total award could be reduced by the amount of fault attributed to the victim.
- If the dog is defending another human being or defending itself from being tormented or tortured, then the dog owner may not be liable for the victim’s injuries.
Property owners are required to maintain their properties in a way that will not harm others. They should also make reasonable repairs to avoid injuries to other people, which generally includes a duty to inspect the property.
Like slip and fall cases, inadequate maintenance defenses are generally based on whether the property owner knew about the maintenance issue.
However, if there is a duty to inspect, the case may also extend to what the property owner should have known about the maintenance problems, even if they did not actually know.
Getting Legal Help
Sometimes the best offense is knowing how to counter the defense. Whether you are suing or being sued, the experienced professionals at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton can help. Call 386-274-2229 for a free consultation today.
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- What is Premises Liability?
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- What is the One Bite Rule?