South Florida Premises Liability Attorneys
If people have any reason to think a person might be on their property — especially if they invite people on the property to shop or do business — then they have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. If they don't, and a visitor is injured as a result, then that guest may have a right to compensation for his or her damages.
If you've been injured on another's property due to the property owner's negligence in maintaining the premises or failure to warn of potential dangers, especially if you were injured while a customer on commercial property, then an attorney can help you recover what you deserve.
Delray Beach Premises Liability Lawyer
If you are injured on someone else's property, whether you were invited as a social guest, a customer or a client, you may have a claim for your injuries. A Delray Beach premises liability lawyer can help you make that claim and get compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At McLaughlin Morris, P.A., our attorneys have spent years fighting for justice in South Florida courtrooms for victims injured in accidents caused by property hazards. We will seek justice for you, if you've been hurt due to the negligence of a property owner. Call us today at (561) 404-0529 to arrange a free consultation.
At McLaughlin Morris, P.A., we have offices in Delray Beach and Miami. We represent victims of accidents in Palm Beach County, Broward County and Miami-Dade County, including in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Issues in South Florida Premises Liability Cases
- Duties to Visitors
- Elements of Premises Liability Claim
- Examples of Breaches by Retail Stores and Commercial Buildings
- Damages in Florida Premises Liability Cases
- South Florida Premises Liability Resources
- Seeking Justice for Your Palm Beach Premises Liability Claim
The extent to which a property owner owes a visitor anything for injuries usually depends on why the visitor was on the property in the first place. Florida common law divides visitors into three categories: Invitees, licensee and trespassers.
An invitee is a person who is invited, as a member of the general public, onto any premises, or to conduct business on the grounds. This includes customers at a store or potential clients of a business at an office building. An invitee is owed the highest duty of care: the duty to make a reasonable inspection of the premises to check for dangers, and the duty to warn anyone of dangers that are not or cannot be repaired.
A person who is invited onto premises for a social purpose is actually called a licensee by invitation, and a property owner owes the same duty to that person as they would to an invitee.
A person on the grounds for the purpose of his or her own convenience is an uninvited licensee. A person who enters property without any sort of permission for some purpose of his own, for example, as an idler or to satisfy some curiosity, is a trespasser. A property owner's only duty to these people is to refrain from causing willful or wanton injury. For example, a person cannot have concealed traps in their yard to hurt trespassers.
'Duty" is important because it is one of the four essential elements of any negligence claim. Most premises liability claims are for negligence on the part of the property owner. Negligence, under Florida law, means a person did not act as a reasonably careful person would act or did something a reasonably careful person would not do.
For any negligence claim, the plaintiff, or person filing the law suit, must show that the defendant, or person being sued, had a duty to the plaintiff, that he or she breached that duty, that the breach was the actual and proximate (or "legal") cause of damages, and that the plaintiff suffered damages.
For example, you suffered a broken arm in a slip and fall while in a West Palm Beach grocery store due to laundry detergent that had spilled on the floor. You may be able to show the four elements by proving:
- As a customer, the store had a duty to you as an invitee, including the duty to make reasonable inspections for dangers;
- The stored breached this duty by not sending an employee to check the aisles in more than a reasonable amount of time;
- You were hurt due to slipping in the detergent and, had store employees checked the aisles, they would have known about the spill and been able to warn of it or clean it up (this shows causation); and
- You suffered damages, including hospital bills, physical therapy bills, bills for follow-up care, lost wages while seeking medical care, and pain and suffering.
Retail establishments, office complexes and other businesses in the Palm Beach area owe a high degree of care to the customers and clients they invite into their buildings. And yet there are many ways they may fail to meet this duty. Some examples may include:
- Not warning shoppers and clients of wet floors after mopping;
- Stacking or shelving merchandise too high or doing it in an unsafe manner;
- Failing to repair cracks in the floor or in the parking lot and not posting signs around the cracks;
- Failing to make needed repairs to elevators and escalators;
- Not repairing loose handrails on stairs; and
- Providing insufficient security.
The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to make you whole after the damages you suffered, and to do that with monetary compensation. If you've been hurt in an accident, then you have suffered pain, and there is no way to win back the time you lost going to the doctor and experiencing the many other frustrations that come with an accident.
As a result of your accident, you may owe hospital bills, doctor bills, physical therapy bills and other medical debt. You may have missed work and lost wages. These damages are called economic damages. For economic damages, you can show hard facts of your losses — bills, receipts, paychecks, etc.
Noneconomic damages, while very real, are the ones that are less tangible. These might include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, disability and disfigurement.
Punitive damages are for when there is gross negligence or a willful act. They are intended to punish the responsible party.
In most cases involving commercial property and in many involving homeowners, the entity with which you will actually be dealing is the insurance company, whether it is for a claim against a homeowner's policy or a commercial general liability policy. The insurance company may make you an offer. It's important that you do not accept that offer before speaking to a South Florida personal injury attorney. The offer may not cover the full extent of your damages.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to seek a better settlement. With McLaughlin Morris, P.A. representing you, you will have an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney on your side, negotiating for a settlement that more truly covers your needs. If you’re not offered a settlement that is satisfactory to you, our trial attorneys can represent you in court.
Florida Statutes on Negligence: Title XLV, Chapter 768 of Florida Statutes contains laws regarding negligence cases and how they are handled.
Florida Standard Civil Jury Instructions: These are the instructions judges give jurors defining terms like negligence and explaining the law in civil cases.
If you've been injured on someone else's property due to their negligence in maintaining that property, you should not have to pay the medical bills or suffer the lost wages. The responsible party should. Be held accountable A premises liability lawyer from McLaughlin Morris, P.A. in Delray Beach can help you obtain the compensation you are owed. Call us today at (561) 404-0529, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, to arrange a free consultation.
McLaughlin Morris, P.A. has offices in Delray Beach and Miami. We represent victims in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and Broward County, including in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and the surrounding areas.