If you own a property or business, you will be aware of the fact that, if a person has an accident and is injured at your business, you become a prime target of a premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability is what holds property owners accountable for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. It includes all accidents that happen in and around their business as well as in their home.
Being under investigation for property negligence can be very stressful. Property owners in Fort Myers are required under Florida law to keep their property safe, and if an individual has grounds to sue you for property negligence, you can be held liable for any medical bills, loss of earnings, and any pain and suffering that a victim claims to have suffered. These payouts can be financially crippling.
If you have found yourself facing charges of property negligence, you will need the support and advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. The Law Place is a reputable Florida based law firm with over 70 years of combined experience. Call us now for a free consultation. One of our experienced Fort Myers premises liability lawyers is ready to take on your case. Our phone lines are available 24/7. So, call us today at (941) 444-4444.
What Every Fort Myers Business Owner Should Know About Premise Liability
Even if you rent the property that your business is run from, you can still be held accountable for any incidents that occur on it. Your landlord probably has a clause in your contract that stipulates this. As the business owner, you are responsible for every person who steps foot onto the premises; this includes customers, employees, and contractors.
Slip and fall lawsuits are one of the most common examples of a premises liability lawsuit, but you could also face negligent security charges and a number of other charges, as detailed below. In short, if you could have taken any steps from stopping an accident or injury from happening, you may well face criminal charges and will need the help of an experienced premises liability lawyer.
In addition to criminal charges, if your case goes to court, you will face some very expensive court costs and insurance premiums, not to mention the prospect of serious damage to your business reputation.
For a free legal consultation with a unsafe premises and property negligence lawyer serving Fort Myers, call 941-444-4444
Avoiding Premises Liability Lawsuits
After getting sufficient insurance, there are some things you can do as a responsible business or property owner to avoid facing premises liability lawsuits in Florida.
- Inspect – You need to regularly and diligently monitor any potential hazards. Constant vigilance might sound like a lot of hard work, but really, all it means is being more aware of your surroundings. Ideally, any potential hazards will be detected before any accidents and injuries occur.
- Correct – If a hazard is discovered (or suspected), it should always be corrected immediately. Never assume that someone else will clean up a spill or clear ice off the driveway. Put clear policies and procedures in place, so your employees know what to do when they become aware of any dangerous conditions.
- Warn – If a hazard cannot be corrected straight away, you must display a clear warning sign so customers and employees can avoid it. The use of a “wet floor” sign in an area that has been mopped is a good example of this.
Fort Myers Unsafe Premises and Property Negligence Lawyer Near Me 941-444-4444
Liability in a Fort Myers Property Negligence Case
As mentioned, under Florida law, property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe and free from any hazards that may lead to injury, and if the property owner fails to take the appropriate action they may be found negligent and therefore liable for any injuries.
In order to prove that the property owner was negligent, the injury victim must prove that:
- The property owner owed a duty of care to the person who was injured on their premises.
- There was a defective or dangerous condition on the premises that led to an injury.
- The property owner was aware of the condition but failed to rectify the issue.
- That the victim’s injury occurred because the property owner failed to exercise their duty of care to prevent the accident from happening, and that the injuries were sustained as a result.
Duty of Care in Fort Myers, Florida
A duty of care is something that is owed to another person under any circumstances where a person may foreseeably suffer injuries due to another person’s actions, or inactions. A breach of this duty occurs when any person, in this case the property owner, fails to act as a “reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances”. In other words, it must be shown that a reasonable person would;
- Notice if their premises are hazardous and be shown to sufficiently upkeep their property.
- Take the appropriate action to prevent anyone on their property from suffering an injury.
A premises liability lawyer will first seek to determine who the victim was and why they were on the property in the first place, in order to determine what duty of care is actually owed, otherwise known as “tort liability.”
Tort liability can be broken down into the following:
- Invitees – Patrons or customers who have been officially invited onto the property in question by the property owner. The owner has a duty to warn all invitees about any risks that they have been made aware of. Property owners also have a duty to sufficiently inspect their premises so that they are aware of any risks.
- Licensees – Social guests who have entered or remained at the property for reasons other than business. Licensees will have special permission to do something with, or on, the property. The owner of the property is responsible for making licensees aware of any dangerous conditions that they know about.
- Trespassers – People who have entered or remained on the property without the permission of the owner. State laws with regards to trespassing can vary, but in general, if the property owner is unaware of the trespasser’s presence, they do not owe a duty to warn them of any hazards. However, if the trespasser is tolerated or the owner knows of their presence, they do have a duty to make them aware of any dangerous conditions.
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Examples of Property Negligence in Fort Myers
There are many ways in which neglected properties can result in accidents and injury in Fort Myers. Some common examples include:
- Unsecured pools or ponds.
- Broken railings, banisters, and handles.
- Exposed electrical wires which may lead to electric shocks.
- Unmaintained staircases and walkways.
- Poor lighting.
- Uneven ground and other hazards that may lead to trips and falls.
What is Negligent Security?
Inadequate or negligent security claims involve situations where a property owner has failed to provide sufficient security on their grounds, and this has led to a criminal act. This criminal act could be rape, robbery, battery, or assault. If similar crimes have occurred in the same area in Fort Myers, the event could be considered to be foreseeable, and the owner would be found guilty of negligent security.
Negligent security cases can happen in a range of settings in Fort Myers and include residential and commercial properties such as:
- Apartment complexes and buildings.
- An ATM.
- Nightclubs, bars, and lounges.
- College dormitories.
- Convenience stores.
- Hotels and motels.
- Movie theatres.
- Parking lots and garages.
- Office buildings.
- Recreational areas, such as parks.
- Retail Stores and shopping malls.
All negligent security cases are different, but many will look at details such as inadequate security officers, inadequate lighting, broken locks, or broken/damaged security cameras and alarms. The responsible person in a Fort Myers negligent security case can be held liable in the same way they would for failing to repair hazards, and so it is handled in the manner that any premises liability lawsuit in Florida would be. As a property owner, you are expected to put the necessary measures in place to avoid these incidents from occurring on your premises. However, property owners are frequently held liable for events that were completely out of their control. A premises liability lawyer can defend you if you have been accused of negligent security.
What to Do After Someone is Injured on Your Property in Fort Myers, Florida
The actions that you take after someone is injured on your property can be vital in your Fort Myers premises liability case. Although it may be tricky, you need to collect evidence for your lawyer right away.
Immediately after an accident has occurred on your premises in Fort Myers, we highly recommend that you:
- Take pictures of the accident scene – Before the scene is cleaned up, you should take as many photos as you can. Take photos of any warning signs or any other evidence which may show that the hazard was clearly visible. These photos will be vital in your Fort Myers premises liability case.
- Take names and numbers of witnesses – Anyone who was present at the time of the accident may be able to discredit an account given by the victim. Take all of their details so that your premises liability lawyer can contact them at a later date.
- Speak to a criminal defense lawyer straight away – We highly recommend that you obtain legal advice immediately after the incident. A premises liability lawyer can guide you through the legal process from the very beginning.
How Much Compensation Could You Be Forced to Pay Out in a Fort Myers Property Negligence Case?
Following an accident in Fort Myers, FL., if it can be proven that the property owner was negligent and therefore liable for your injuries, a premises liability lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit or an accident claim and collect damages. The compensation awarded to the victim depends upon a number of factors, such as the nature of the accident and the seriousness of their injuries, but some examples include money to cover:
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the injury as well as any long-term medical costs.
- Loss of wages due to time that is taken off work.
- Future loss of earnings if the victim’s injury is expected to have a long-term effect on their physical and mental health.
- The pain and suffering the victims claimed to have been subjected to as a result of the accident.
If you are facing huge legal bills due to an accident that occurred on your property, an attorney from The Law Place can support you.
Defenses in Your Fort Myers Premises Liability Case
If you are a property owner who has found themselves facing a premises liability claim, there are some legal defenses available. The strongest defense will be the argument that you are not actually negligent. Additional defenses in a Fort Myers premises liability case include:
- Contributory negligence – The victim somehow contributed to their injuries.
- Comparative negligence – The victim’s negligence caused their injuries, making them partially negligent for their own injuries.
- The assumption of risk – The argument could arise that the victim was aware of the risk, but they ignored it, meaning that they assumed the risk of being injured. The victim is unable to claim damages in a premises liability case if they voluntarily and knowingly assumed the risk of harm.
An experienced premises liability lawyer from The Law Place will be able to determine the best defenses that are available in your case.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Premises Liability Claim in Fort Myers, Florida?
The time limit is referred to as the “Statute of Limitations,” which regulates the deadline for a premises liability claim. If a certain amount of time has passed since the accident occurred on your property in Fort Myers, the victim will be unable to make a claim and will not be entitled to compensation for any injuries. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations is four years.
Speak to The Law Place in Florida Today
At The Law Place, we understand how damaging personal injury claims can be to your business. We want to fight with you to save your reputation, your time, and your money! Speak to a Fort Myers premises liability lawyer today. We offer a free consultation so you can seek advice without any obligations.
Our experienced Fort Myers premises liability lawyers are ready to defend you and your business. A lawyer from our law firm is available to speak to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so call us now at (941) 444-4444.