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Understanding Premises Liability
Premises liability typically refers to the negligence of a property or business owner. Examples of these types of cases are slip and falls, trip and falls, negligent security, code violations resulting in injury or death from the failure to maintain property, failure to correct dangerous conditions, and failure to warn of dangerous conditions.
The idea behind premises liability is that the owner of a property, and/or the person in control of that property, has a duty to ensure that the property is safe for others or, at a minimum, to warn others of potentially dangerous or hazardous conditions.
At Scott Marshall Injury Attorneys, in Clearwater, Florida, attorneys Scott Marshall and Marko Crespo can help you seek compensation after suffering serious injuries on unsafe property. We bring over 25 years of experience to each case and client.
What The Law Says About Slip-And-Fall Accidents
The Florida statute on slip-and-fall accidents in a business establishment lays out the evidence needed to establish business liability.
Essentially, the plaintiff must show that the business knew or should have known that there was a foreign substance on the floor and acted to clean it up, warn others or both. The store may claim ignorance of the substance, but if it had been there a sufficiently long time or occurred on a regular basis, ignorance would not be an effective defense.
Our Past Cases
These cases usually involve a person slipping on something that has leaked or been spilled onto the floor. The following are examples of cases we have handled involving slip and falls:
A cleaning company in a bank spills soap (a clear liquid) on the floor at night. The next day, our client comes to work and slips on the soap, falling and injuring herself severely. The cleaning company was liable for her damages (client also had a workers’ compensation claim as a result).
A grocery store employee leaves a cart with frozen food on it out too long. The food begins to defrost and leaks water on the floor. Our client slips and falls on the water, injuring herself severely. The grocery store was liable for her damages.
It is important to immediately take as many pictures as you can in order to preserve the evidence of the dangerous condition as much as possible. When you are injured, this can be difficult to do. Ask someone to help you and take pictures for you.
Tripping Hazards And Trip-And-Fall Accidents
While “trip and falls” can involve a transitory substance, as in a slip and fall, they often involve uneven surfaces, or hidden fixtures, that can catch your foot as you are walking. Examples are cracks in floor or pavement, uneven stairs, steps that are of inconsistent heights, and fixtures that are not readily visible due to poor lighting or other obstructions. These claims usually require immediate preservation of evidence (pictures, often with a tape measure to show the degree of the flaw).
Many times, failing to act quickly results in the defendant repairing the condition before an investigation can be made. This ends up being the subject of much litigation and dispute, which is why it is important to take as many pictures as you can and hire a lawyer who may send an investigator out to take professional pictures.
Code Violations Leading To Injury
Sometimes, premises liability cases can involve a violation of a city or county building code. Here are some examples of premises liability cases involving code violations we have handled in the past:
A business uses indoor tile under an awning at the entrance to their store, in violation of the Pinellas County Code. Rain causes the indoor tile to become abnormally slippery. The plaintiff slips and falls on the tile that was wet from the rain, severely injuring his back. The tile should have been skid-resistant. The business owner is liable for the damages.
A power company runs a “service drop” (power line from pole to building) too close to another structure. Our client is standing on the nearby structure and the electricity from the service drop “jumps,” electrocuting him. He miraculously survives but has a severe permanent injury. The power company is liable for his damages.
The scenarios above are just a few of many examples of how dangerous premises can lead to property owner liability. Property owners also have a duty to take reasonable precautions to protect visitors from crimes. You can read more about that on our negligent security page.
Want To Know If You Have A Case? Contact Us For A Free Consultation.
Scott Marshall Injury Attorneys, proudly serves clients in Clearwater and surrounding communities. To speak to an experienced attorney about your injuries, call us at 727-605-5916 or send us an email.
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