If you suffer injuries on someone’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Generally, under premises liability law, owners of property — either residential or business — have a duty to keep their property safe. If a property owner fails to uphold this duty of care and you suffer injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. A premises liability lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL can help you recover it.
Your Status at the Time of the Injury Can Affect Your Entitlement to Compensation
If you are injured on another’s property in Florida, the responsibility of the property owner depends on which of three categories you fall into. You are either an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
If you are on the property for a business purpose, you are an invitee. Here are a few examples:
- A shopper in a department store or grocery store
- A diner at a restaurant
- A technician performing a service in a home
- A patient or visitor at a doctor’s office or hospital
- An exerciser at a fitness center
If you fall into this category, the property owner owes you the highest degree of care. The owner is responsible for keeping the property free of hazards or defects that the owner knows or should know exist. For example, if the owner of a store knows or should know of an object on the floor that presents a danger to you, the owner must pick it up. Otherwise, if you slip and fall, you may be entitled to recover for your injuries.
If you are on the property with the owner’s permission for a non-business purpose, you are a licensee. Common examples are:
- Social guests at a party
- Visitors to someone’s home
- Someone who enters a store solely to use the restroom
Property owners have a duty to you to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. For example, if you are a guest at someone’s home and the owner fails to warn you of a large hole in the yard, you may be able to recover compensation if you suffer any injuries.
If you are on the property without the owner’s permission, you are a trespasser. The property owner still owes you a duty, but it is not a very high one. The owner has a duty not to cause a reckless or intentional injury to you (e.g., the owner cannot attack you or set traps). In addition, the owner may have a duty to warn you of any hidden dangers once he knows you are on the property.
If you are injured on another’s property, a premises liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will let you know what category you fall into and whether you have a case against the owner.
Special Circumstances That Might Affect Your Premises Liability Case
Your case may fall into a special category. An attorney at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will look at your case and let you know if a special duty or exception applies. Here are a few examples:
- Children: If your child is injured on another’s property, a special duty may exist even if the child is a trespasser. This is due to the attractive nuisance doctrine. An attractive nuisance is a manmade object that may cause a child to trespass upon the property (e.g., trampolines, swimming pools, etc.). For example, if a property owner has a swimming pool, he must place a fence or cover around the pool to ensure children cannot access it.
- Landlord and tenant: If you were injured in your apartment complex or rented home, you might be able to recover compensation, but it determines who was responsible for maintenance. For example, if a broken handrail caused you to fall down the stairs at your apartment complex, you may be able to hold the landlord or property manager liable. However, if you hurt yourself in your apartment or home, it can be more complex.
- Acts of third party: An owner of a business may be responsible for the acts of others that occur on the property. For example, if you are attacked at a nightclub, you may be able to hold the establishment liable for negligent security.
- Government: Special rules may apply if the government (i.e., city, state, or federal) owned the property. There are special timelines and criteria you may need to meet.
You Can Recover Compensation Even If You Were Partially At-Fault
If you are injured on another’s property, the property owner may claim you were at fault for your own injury. For example, a business may say that you did not see an uneven surface in a parking lot because you were on your phone.
While you can still recover compensation if you were partially at-fault in Florida, any percentage of negligence reduces your recovery. If an investigation found you were 25 percent responsible for the accident, you may only recover 75 percent of what you would otherwise receive. For example, if you requested $10,000, you would receive $7,500.
Steps to Take If You Are Hurt on Another’s Property
If you suffered injuries on someone’s property, there are actions you can take to protect your rights:
- Do not panic. Actions you take immediately after the accident may increase your chances of getting compensation for your injuries later. By staying calm, you can ensure better documentation of your injuries and the scene.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Do you see what caused the fall? Are there employees or other customers in the area who may have seen what occurred?
- Ask to speak to the person in charge. If the accident occurred on business property, it is important that a manager knows of the fall.
- Take pictures. If there is a hazard that caused your injury, take a photo with your phone.
- Get names and contact information for witnesses. You do not want your case to turn into a “he said, she said” contest.
- Get medical attention. If you do not get immediate medical attention, the owner’s insurer might claim you are exaggerating or falsifying your injuries.
- Discuss your case with a lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at 800-747-3733. Our premises liability attorneys will evaluate your case and determine if you are entitled to compensation.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
A slip and fall attorney at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can deal with the insurance adjuster and your medical providers. Our attorneys will make every effort to settle your case. If we cannot settle your case, our attorneys will gather the evidence, take the matter to court, and see that you receive compensation for everything connected with your injury — your medical bills, your lost wages, your future lost wages, and your pain and suffering.
Do not delay. Anidjar & Levine attorneys are just a call or a click away. Memories can fade, witnesses can move, and medical bills can stack up. Get a free consultation today.