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Premises Liability

Serving West Palm Beach & Port Saint Lucie

Premises Liability Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL

Premises liability law in Florida states that property owners and tenants are responsible for keeping their property hazard-free and warning others of dangers present. Property hazards often result in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents, leaving victims with serious injuries that require medical attention and a long-term recovery.

Recognized unsafe conditions that cause accidents on a premise that are not either fixed in a timely manner or brought to the noticeable warning of the customer are potential premise liability cases.

When a property owner fails to meet this duty of care and someone gets hurt, a premises liability claim may allow the victim to recover for their losses. An attorney at Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles with experience handling premises liability cases can help you determine who is responsible and pursue the full compensation you are due as a result of the accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Common Types of Premises Liability in Florida

A premises liability case covers nearly any kind of injury that results from a defect in property. Common types of premises liability cases brought in Florida courts include:

  • Slip and fall or trip and fall. Broken pavement, damaged steps, cracked flooring, spills, obstacles, improper flooring materials, unsecured rugs – many underfoot hazards can cause a slip or trip and a fall. Although slip-and-fall accidents are a common ingredient in slapstick comedy routines, in the real world, the consequences can be deadly. Slip-and-fall accidents are the No. 1 cause of death and serious injury among older Americans, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Inadequate lighting. Many hazards could be avoided if only a person could see them. If light bulbs are burnt out or dark areas don’t have working lights, however, visitors lose the ability to protect themselves – often with serious consequences.
  • Pool injuries. Pools are a common feature of the Florida landscape, but they require property owners to keep safety in mind. A lack of fencing, unlocked pool gates, disabled alarms, or defective or dangerous equipment can all cause serious harm.
  • Inadequate security. Assaults, vandalism or theft that results directly from inadequate security can be the basis of a premises liability case. Often, simple security measures like better lighting or a fence were all it would have taken to prevent the harm.
  • Dog bites. Dog bite claims are typically handled as a part of premises liability law when they are covered by a dog owner’s homeowners insurance. An experienced premises liability lawyer can help you receive a full and fair settlement from an insurer.

How Premises Liability Law Works

Florida law uses three different legal categories for visitors to another person’s property. These three categories are defined by how the person uses the property when they visit, and they determine how much care the property’s owner has to use to protect the visitor’s safety.

  • Invitees. An invitee is someone who is invited onto the owner’s property for a business purpose. For instance, shoppers in a grocery store are typically classified as business invitees because they are there to do business with the store. Property owners have a high duty of care to promptly address potential hazards and to warn visitors that a hazard might exist – for example, by setting out “wet floor” signs.
  • Licensees. A licensee has permission to be on the property, but visits for their own private purposes, rather than to do business. For instance, invited party guests or social visitors may be classified as licensees. Property owners need to warn licensees about hazards and should take reasonable care to eliminate hazards if they can.
  • Trespassers. A trespasser does not have permission to be on the property. While the property owner cannot make an existing hazard worse in order to harm trespassers, the owner generally has no duty to fix hazards or warn potential trespassers about them. There may be an exception if the trespasser is a child or the owner knows that the person regularly trespasses.
Who Can Be Held Liable in a Premises Liability Case?

Determining who owns the property and who is responsible for the property can be a challenge. Often, a premises liability case will name multiple individuals or businesses that might be liable. The following groups of people are commonly named in a premises liability claim:

  • Homeowners. If the injury occurs at a private home, the injured person may hold the homeowner liable.
  • Renter. If the injury is inflicted in a space the renter controls, such as within the renter’s apartment, the renter may be responsible just as a homeowner would be.
  • Landlords. Injuries that are suffered in the common areas of an apartment complex, such as in the hallways, stairwells or parking lots, may be the responsibility of the landlord rather than of any individual renter.
  • Business owners. Owners of businesses have a duty of care to protect invitees from injury. When they fail in this duty, they may be held liable.
How Our Law Firm Helps You Prove Liability
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