If you have fallen or been hurt on someone else’s property because of inadequate maintenance, you may have questions about whether you have a case against the person or business whose carelessness caused your injuries. Sometimes called “slip and fall” cases, these accidents are known as “premises liability” lawsuits and fall under the general category of negligence law. The Pembroke Pines premises liability attorneys at Cohn & Smith have helped many injured people seek fair compensation in premises liability cases, and we welcome the opportunity to review your case.Inadequate Maintenance Cases and Florida Negligence Law
Personal injury accidents such as slip and falls due to inadequate maintenance come under the umbrella of general negligence law. The basic concept of negligence requires an accident victim to prove four things: the defendant from whom he or she seeks money damages owed a duty to the victim under the law; the defendant breached the duty that he or she owed; the victim sustained damages such as physical injuries or property damage; and there was a causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the victim’s damages.
Premises liability cases have specific rules that help the courts determine the duty that was owed to the accident victim in a particular case. There are basically three classes of people who may enter upon another person or business’s property and sustain injuries.
- A trespasser is someone who goes onto property without the owner’s permission, either actual or implied. Usually, a property owner owes only a minimal duty to trespassers, such as the duty to refrain from intentionally harming such persons. However, there can be exceptions, particularly in instances involving children.
- A licensee is someone who has actual or implied permission to be on the property for a non-business purpose. Landowners have a duty to warn licensees, such as guests at a party in a private home, of any known dangers, but this duty does not require the landowners to seek out hidden dangers on the property.
- An invitee is someone who goes onto property for a business purpose, such as to shop in a store. Such guests are owed the highest duty of care, such that the owner has a duty to inspect the premises on a regular basis, warn the invitee of dangerous conditions, and provide appropriate security in places such as parking lots or secluded areas of a hotel.
It should be noted that, although trespassers are usually owed only a minimum duty by landowners, the doctrine of attractive nuisance may require a higher duty from a landowner who knows or should know that young children may be enticed onto their property for a particular reason. In such cases, the landowner must take reasonable measures to insure the safety of trespassing children. The reason for this exception is that children of a certain age may not fully understand the danger of something such as a swimming pool.Comparative Fault and Other Special Considerations
Sometimes, there is more than one reason for an accident, and property owners are quick to point out any fault on behalf of the accident victim. Florida law follows the rule of pure comparative fault, meaning that, in cases in which two or more persons contributed to an accident, both parties’ negligence is taken into consideration when determining the amount of damages that an injured party is to receive. This rule operates to reduce a victim’s recovery in proportion to his or her fault in the accident. For instance, if a jury finds that the parties were equally at fault, the injured person receives one-half of his or her total damages (damages usually include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering).Pembroke Pines Lawyers Serving Victims
If your family’s life has been disrupted by a slip and fall accident or an incident of inadequate maintenance, the Pembroke Pines attorneys at Cohn & Smith can help you hold any negligent parties accountable. There is a lot to be done to prepare a premises liability case for court, including photographing the accident scene, speaking with witnesses, and reviewing medical records. We represent clients throughout the South Florida area, including Coral Springs, Weston, and Sunrise. Call our Pembroke Pines Inadequate Maintenance Lawyers at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online to set up your free consultation with an attorney.