St. Petersburg Premises Liability Lawyer
Any time an individual sustains serious harm while present at the property of another, the issue of whether a premises liability attorney is required will likely emerge. Simply put, premises liability law is a subset of the personal injury legal realm whereby those harmed by the negligent maintenance or control of property are afforded the opportunity to seek compensation for their losses.
In Florida, the ability to prevail in a premises liability case will depend on a number of factors, the most important of which is the legal classification into which the injured individual is said to fall. Whether an injury was suffered in a supermarket aisle, a theme park, a school facility or a restaurant, the victim may be able to successfully pursue monetary recovery from an owner found negligent in his or her duty to safeguard visitors.
Approaching a Premises Liability Case
The most common locations for premises liability incidents to occur are restaurants and retail stores. Whether it is a grocery store or a shopping mall or similar, those are the most common areas for a slip and fall case or even a negligent security case at a bar or a club. The most frequently occurring types of premises liability cases in St. Petersburg are slip and fall cases or trip and fall cases, and negligent security.
Because there are so many types of St. Petersburg premises liability cases, there are different ways of approaching each case. There are different rules that govern a slip and fall case versus a negligent security case. In a negligent security case, a person must prove that more security was warranted and that the owner knew that a dangerous crime or dangerous act could have been committed there. There is more notice required in a slip and fall. If there is hazardous condition and that hazardous condition created an injury then usually they are just trying to prove damages and they are trying to prove liability.
The assistance of an experienced St. Petersburg premises liability lawyer can often make all the difference for victims and families wishing to obtain a degree of justice and accountability.
Florida Premises Liability Laws
At the heart of premises liability law is the proposition that the owners or controllers of property can, under certain circumstances, be held accountable for harm sustained by visitors to that property. Thus, premises liability cases are similar to other types of negligence cases in that a plaintiff will need to show that the defendant in fact had a duty to the injured party, that duty was breached and the breach directly caused the harm at issue.
Though for many, slip and fall cases are what immediately spring to mind when the term premises liability is heard, but the fact is that this area of law encompasses a wide array of injury events, including those stemming from:
- Sidewalk cracks
- Electrical mishaps
- Dog bites
- Construction site accidents
- Improperly maintained stairwells
- Snow and ice buildup on walkways
Role of Visitor Classification
In assessing whether an injury victim is likely to prevail in a premises liability action, a premises liability attorney in St. Petersburg will first determine what sort of visitor their client actually was when the event took place.
This classification will often be critical in terms of the degree of duty owed by the property owner. As succinctly articulated in the pages of the Florida Bar Journal, the relevant categories considered by courts in the state include:
- Public invitee
- Business invitee
- Licensee by invitation (social guest)
- Uninvited licensee
Florida law provides that property owners owe the highest duty to public invitees as well as business invitees. However, trespassers, with the occasional exception of children, are owed almost no duty of care by property owners. Identifying the prevailing level of duty owed in a given case is the first step in evaluating the strength of any claim.
Types of Injuries
Considering the seemingly limitless ways in which types of premises liability cases can arise, it is no surprise that the sorts of injures that routinely result are equally varied. Among the most common types of harm that may warrant contact with a St. Petersburg premises liability lawyer:
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
- Traumatic brain injury
Factors That Qualify the Severity of a Case
There are two things that can affect the severity of a premises liability case. The first is the damages. If it is a wrongful death or a traumatic brain injury or some severe damage, that makes it a more severe premise liability case. The other factor is, if it is grossly negligent or even intentional misconduct by a company, owner or controller of a property then they can get punitive damages.
Those punish the corporation or individual because they did something that was grossly negligent or so horribly wrong that it is a shock to the senses and the damages need to be penalized them and punish them for this wrongdoing. So, that can make it a severe premises liability case. For instance, if someone sets booby traps at their house and they blow up the mailman, that’s going to be pretty severe premises liability case because the damages and because of the heinous actions done by the homeowner.
In all types of St. Petersburg premises liability cases, liability is determined by the party that either owns the premises or was in control of the premises where the injury occurred. For instance, if there is a wheelchair ramp liability rests with either be the tenant leasing the property, or the owner of the property because they have control over the common areas and a wheelchair ramp is a common area.
So, it really depends on who controls the area where the hazardous condition exists. If there is a leaky air conditioner inside of a grocery store and it is dripping on the ground and someone slips in that water, the liable party is whoever was in control of the air conditioning in that building, whether it be the owner or the tenant grocery store.
Commercial Property Premises Liability Lawyer
Commercial property refers to property that is used for a commercial purpose, usually where goods or services are sold or manufactured, and it is usually owned by a corporation or a company and not owned by a person for residential use. Commercial property liability is anything that the company may be liable for on their commercial property.
Commercial property owners must make sure that they have warnings up for any dangerous conditions they know or should know about, they must use reasonable care in creating a safe environment on their commercial property, and they must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, including guarding against any foreseeable third-party crimes.The premises liability statute of limitation is four years. Liability is assigned to the person who owns or controls the area where the injury occurred on the commercial property. If you have sustained an injury on commercial property as the result of negligence, a St. Petersburg commercial property liability lawyer can help you pursue a case.
There can be multiple defendants in two different scenarios in commercial property cases. The first is if there are multiple companies or people who own the premises. The more common multiple defendant situation is when a company that owns the actual building leases the space to a different business that uses that space as their commercial property. This is a landlord-tenant type of situation, and usually, a person would sue both because they do not know who may have been in control of the actual property in question where the incident occurred. An experienced St. Petersburg commercial property liability lawyer will have experience pursuing claims with multiple defendants and can help an individual pursue their case.
What Happens When the At-Fault Party is Found Not At Fault
Usually, the amount of damages will be reduced by what the defendant was liable for. If a person sues a landlord and a tenant, and the landlord is 80 percent at fault, and the tenant is 20 percent at fault, but they cannot find the landlord, they can only sue the tenant which is only 20 percent at fault. If they are awarded a $100,000 judgment then they are only going to collect $20,000 from the tenant. The tenant does not have to pay the 80 percent of the landlord’s liability. So, a person can only collect from defendants that they can find.
Litigation of a commercial property liability case when the plaintiff is going against a large corporation is different in the sense that it usually means the defendant can hire a large law firm to push the plaintiff’s attorney around. However, typically a St. Petersburg commercial property liability lawyer enjoys going against big corporations because there is no collectability issue. The bigger the corporation, the more money there is for the plaintiff to go after and they will be able to satisfy all the damages necessary in a premises liability case. If it the claim is rejected, a person files a lawsuit. So, it is just a four-year statute of limitations.
Hiring An Attorney
The days, weeks and months following a serious personal injury can be fraught with confusion, anger and despair. Accumulating medical bills, lost wages and other unexpected financial demands resulting from such an event can place entire families on the precipice of ruin.
To learn how a St. Petersburg premises liability lawyer can help explain your legal options, contact our firm today.