We have been handling premises liability claims throughout the country since 1955, and have earned a reputation as one of the most successful personal injury law firms in the nation, winning more than $4 billion dollars in jury verdicts and settlements.
Our law office is located in downtown Pensacola, and our thirty-five attorneys live in the Pensacola community.
What is a Premises Liability Claim
A claim for premise liability occurs when someone is injured on the property of another person, business, or governmental entity. It often involves falls, animal bites, drownings, and assaults.
What Will I Have to Prove to Win a Premises Liability Lawsuit
All property owners have a legal duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe manner for people entering the property with permission. However, the extent of the duty differs depending upon the type of property, and why the person is on the property when injured.
Businesses open to the public have the highest responsibility of care to people coming on the property for business purposes. These visitors are called business invitees, and include individuals going to a grocery store, department store, doctor’s office, hardware store, or any other business.
For business invitees, property owners must maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. They must repair dangers or adequately warn of dangers they know about or should know about through reasonable care. This duty requires property owners to regularly inspect their property for potentially dangerous conditions, such as water or objects falling on the floor.
Private homeowners also owe a duty to those entering their property. For invited guests to the home, the owner of property has a duty similar to that of someone entering a business, including keeping the property in a reasonably safe condition or warning of potential dangers. For guests that show up uninvited, such as salespeople, there is still a duty owed to not willfully or recklessly injured them, and to warn them of known dangers.
If someone is trespassing on property, and the owner is unaware of the trespasser, the owner only has a duty not to willfully injure them. However, if the owner sees the trespasser in time to prevent an injury, then the owner has a duty not to willfully or recklessly injure them, and to warn them of dangers that are not known or obvious.
There is a major exception to the duty owed to trespassers who are children. If the owner creates a potential danger that the property owner should know would attract children to it, then the owner does have a duty to make the danger reasonable safe. This is called the “attractive nuisance” exception. Common examples of potential dangers that qualify as an “attractive nuisance” include trampolines, pools, refrigerators, fires, and abandoned vehicles.
What Types of Damages can be Recovered in a Premises Liability Claim
If a personal injury occurs, the damages include past and future physical pain and suffering; mental pain and suffering; medical expenses; and wage loss. In a wrongful death claim, the damages include medical and funeral expenses; mental pain and suffering; loss of support; and loss of future estate.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Premises Liability Lawsuit
In Florida, if a person is injured on the property of another, then the injured person has four years to file a lawsuit for the injuries, but only two years if the injury results in death.
If the injury is caused by a Florida governmental entity, there are papers that need to be filed at least six months before the lawsuit is filed, and the maximum time period in which the lawsuit can be filed is three years.