Nearly everyone in Miami walking through a grocery store or department store has seen the yellow caution signs warning customers of wet floors, often while employees mop floors, clean a spill or a store addresses a leaky roof. This is done to not only protect a customer from potential hazards at a store, but also to protect the property owner or store management from a premises liability lawsuit.
Contrary to what many people think, the mere fact that an accident occurs on someone else's property does not make the property owner liable. For the owner or possessor of land to be held liable for an injury on the land, Florida law requires proof that the owner or possessor violated a duty of care he or she owed to the injured person. What that duty of care consists of depends on the reason the injured person was on the premises in the first place.
Property owners in Florida have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for people who come on the property. When a landowner fails to remedy a hazardous condition on their property, serious injuries can result. The accidents caused by dangerous premises range from falls on wet floors or broken staircases to drownings and near-drownings in backyard swimming pools.
Imagine this scenario: You are walking through the mall to find some new clothes and a birthday gift for your sister. You realize you are running late to meet friend for dinner and are rushing out to your car. Before you get there, however, you are suddenly attacked, robbed and injured.
Since at least the mid-20th Century, the backyard swimming pool has been an iconic symbol of the Florida lifestyle. But swimming pools can be dangerous places, especially for small children. Every year in the U.S. swimming pool drownings claim the lives of about 350 children under the age of 5-years-old. Most of these drownings occur in backyard pools.
This time of year, people are spending more time at places outside of their own homes, whether it's the mall, a restaurant, a hotel with family or an apartment complex for a holiday party with co-workers. Because so many of us will be out and about, it can be a good time to remind people of what happens when property owners are negligent.
This is the time of year when people from all over the world flock to Florida to get a break from the winter. However, for too many people, these vacations take a devastating turn when an accident at their hotel leaves them reeling from a catastrophic accident.
When people think about a property owner's duty to keep premises safe, they often think of responsibilities like cleaning up wet floors, putting a fence around a pool and keeping stairwells clear. However, there are other conditions that could put people in danger which property owners may need to address as well.
Whenever you visit someone's home, run to the mall or meet friends for dinner at a restaurant, the last thing you might expect is that an otherwise routine trip could end with serious injuries. Unfortunately, this is the exact situation that many people find themselves in when they are victims of unsafe premises.