Boca Raton Premises Liability Lawyers
If a dog bites your child while he or she is playing with the neighbor children in their front yard or you slip on soap residue from a car wash held at a school, the consequences of a fall can be devastating injuries or even the loss of loved one. Our Baton Raton premises liability attorneys recognize the life-altering consequences of injuries caused by property owners who fail to provide adequate warnings of hazards on their property or to take reasonable steps to eliminate the risk of injury.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability law refers to the rules imposing liability on property owners toward individuals who visit their property. The legal and factual issues in premises liability lawsuits can be complicated by many factors that include the following:
- Nature of the hazard or unsafe condition
- Property identity: residential, commercial, or public
- Duration of existence of the unsafe condition
- Constructive or actual notice of existence of the hazard by the owner
- Possession of the property by an “occupier,” such as a commercial tenant
- Efforts by the property owner to warn of the hazard or make the premises safe
Winning a Premises Liability Case
These are merely a few of the complex issues that our experienced premises liability attorneys analyze for our clients. Because our law firm has been providing exemplary legal services and tenaciously taking on large corporations, public entities, and their insurance carriers for 15 years, our attorneys have the expertise, legal knowledge, and tenacity to take on deep-pocketed defendants. We tenaciously pursuit of the maximum recovery for our clients while adhering to our commitment to keeping our clients informed about their case throughout the legal process. Our result-oriented approach and dedication to outstanding customer service toward our clients has garnered our law firm a plethora of accolades and honors that include:
- Inclusion in Superlawyers® and Best Lawyers in America®
- Designation as “AV Preeminent®” by Martindale-Hubbell
- Acknowledgment as 10.0 “Superb AVVO Rating”
- Dozens of 5-star client reviews on major search engines and legal portals like Google, Yahoo, AVVO, and more.
Our Boca Raton premises liability lawyers navigate the complex challenges and obstacles involved in the full range of lawsuits and insurance claims involving unsafe conditions on the premises of others. We have the experience to investigate your accident, analyze the facts based on applicable law, develop persuasive theories of liability, ascertain the value of your damages, aggressively negotiate with insurance companies, and tenaciously advocate for the fullest financial recovery for personal injury and wrongful death victims and their families.
Boca Raton Premises Liability Definition
Under Florida premises liability law, owners and individuals in control of commercial property (referred to hereafter at collectively as “owners”) owe a duty to those who come on their property based on the classification of the visitor. Owners of property own a different level of care based on the purpose of the injury victim for coming on the premises and the relationship between the owner and the injury victim.
Invitees: Invitees constitute the category of injury victim that receives the highest level of legal protection when injured on the premises of another. There are two types of invitees: (1) business invitees are individuals who come on the premises of another for the purpose of engaging in the business dealing of the property owner, and (2) public invitees are invited to come on to property held open to the public as a member of the public. Invitees are owed the highest duty by property owners who must keep the premises reasonably safe, warn of existing dangers, and fix hazards in a reasonably expedient manner.
Licensees: In Florida, a licensee comes on another’s property for his or her own pleasure or convenience. Invitees are not expressly invited or induced to come on the premises. The legal duty owed to licensees in Florida is far lower than to invitees. Active vigilance is not necessary to keep the premises safe for licensees, but the property owner must abstain from willful or wanton conduct, as well as the setting of traps.
Trespassers: This category of individual is not supposed to be on the property. The only duty owed to trespassers in Florida is not to set traps to cause injury. However, the attractive nuisance doctrine provides an exception to this general rule of limited protection for trespassers. Because minor children might not appreciate the risk posed by hazards on the premises of another, they often are given special protection even as a trespasser. The classic example involves a child who jumps a fence to swim in a neighbor’s pool and drowns.
Cause of Action for a Premises Liability Accident
Because our law firm has been holding property holders accountable for hazardous conditions on their premises that cause injury for over a decade and a half, we can handle the vast array of premises liability claims that include:
Premises Liability Claims
Accidents that occur when people slip or trip are the most common and misunderstood injury and fatality claims. The insurance industry has done a good job of perpetuating the myth that fall victims are primarily malingerers and fakers. Popular media sources have promulgated these misconceptions by depicting fall victims as con artists who wear neck braces only when convenient.
These depictions are both inaccurate and harmful because they lead to misconceptions about the severity of fall-related injuries. Falls constitute the most significant cause of accidental death among seniors according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also reports that an older adult lands in an emergency room every eleven (11) seconds, and a senior 65 or older dies in a fall every 19 minutes. Over 800,000 people per year are hospitalized for falls with head trauma and hip fractures being the most common form of injury. Falls cause 95 percent of hip fractures and constitute the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries among the elderly.
While the elderly constitute the largest percentage of fall victims who suffer serious injuries, serious slip and fall injuries impact people of all ages. Slip and falls also constitute the primary cause of workers’ compensation claims, so fall accidents are not limited to the elderly. Our law firm handles slip and fall and trip and fall accidents in many environments, including but not limited to the following:
- Grocery Stores (Supermarkets)
- Department Stores
- College Campuses
- Restaurants and Bars
- Amusement Parks
- Cruise Ships
- Stairwells and Steps
- Government Buildings
- Common Areas of Your Apartment or Condo
- Shopping Malls and Strip Malls
- Public Sidewalks
Important Factors Our Boca Raton Attorneys Investigate When Evaluating Slip and Fall Accidents
Whether you fall after slipping on liquid from a bottle that breaks on the floor of a supermarket or trip on a broken step in a government building, slip and fall litigation involves a fact-intensive investigation. Our experienced Boca Raton slip and fall lawyers investigate slip and fall accidents in department stores and other locations to obtain important facts and evidence like the following:
- Inadequate lighting that impairs the ability to see obstacles and hazards
- The duration a slippery or sticky substance remains on the floor
- Scheduled inspection and maintenance practices and compliance with those procedures
- Video surveillance footage of the incident
- The accident report prepared by the store
- Witness statements including those of employees
- Knowledge of store employees and/or management of the presence of the hazard
- The nature of the hazard transitory or fixed and constant
- Attempts to make the hazard safe or provide adequate warnings
- Reports of prior similar incidents providing notice of the existence of the hazard
These examples reflect the types of evidence we gather and analyze when evaluating a slip, trip, and fall claim and developing the most compelling legal claim to seek a full and fair recovery. Because of the fact-intensive nature of slip and fall claims, time is of the essence in hiring an experienced Boca Raton premises liability attorney. Our attorneys can conduct an investigation to obtain video surveillance footage before it is deleted, interview employees before they disappear or their memories fade, and prepare a compelling factual showing regarding the appropriate legal standards.
Premises Laibility Involving Animal Bites in Boca Raton
Approximately 312,000 people visit emergency rooms for dog bites each year, and 885,000 seek medical attention. The financial losses associated with dog bites exceed a billion dollars annually. Dog bite claims are one of the most common type of claim against homeowner’s policies, and the amount of the average claim indicates these are n minor incidents without significant consequences. Insurance claims involving dog attacks and maulings account for a third of all homeowners claims with an average claim amounting to $37,000 nationally in 2015, the most recent full year for which data is available.
Florida dog bite statute Section 767.04 permits victims bitten by a dog to pursue a claim for damages against the dog owner on a strict liability basis. This strict liability means that dog bite victims do not need to prove that the dog has been vicious in the past (referred to as the “one bite rule”) or that the owner of the dog has knowledge of such vicious tendencies (referred to as the “scienter” requirement). The victim can pursue a claim if the dog bite occurred on public property or private property where the person is lawfully present. While the bite victim does not have to prove negligence under the dog bite statute, the negligence of the dog bite victim can reduce any recovery in proportion to the degree of fault assigned to the plaintiff.
An exception to liability exists for bite victims over the age of six who are bitten on the property of the dog owner where a “Bad Dog” sign is conspicuously displayed. The warning sign must be easily readable and placed in a prominent place.
While the dog bite statute offers an effective remedy for dog bite victims, many claims must be based on other legal grounds, such as violation of a local leash law ordinance or the negligence of a dog owner or a third party. Our experienced Boca Raton dog bite lawyers have the expertise and knowledge to identify the appropriate theories of liability to fit your situation. There are many situations where the dog bite statute does not apply, which includes the following:
Non-Bite Injuries: A dog might charge a bicyclist and knock the rider over causing broken bones, head trauma, and other injuries. Since the statute only covers bite injuries, negligence or violation of a law like a leash ordinance must be used to impose liability.
Defendants Shift Blame to the Dog Bite Victim: Insurance companies for many dog owners and other defendants in dog mauling and canine attack cases attempt to shift blame to the victim. Defendants often attempt to avoid liability by claiming the victim was antagonizing the dog. The amount of damages recovered by the dog bite victim will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to the plaintiff.
Negligence/Scienter: When negligence must be proven, the litigation becomes much more complicated because evidence must be presented establishing: (1) the owner failed to take reasonable care for the safety of the bite victim; (2) the dog had a propensity for viciousness, such as prior lunging, biting, charging, etc.; and (3) the owner was aware of this history of aggressive behavior by the dog.
Child Victims: Special rules apply for children who are dog bite victims. Depending on the child’s age, the law is more permissive to dog bite claims involving kids. While adults are held responsible for their role in antagonizing a dog, the same rule does not apply to young children because they may lack the ability to appreciate the danger posed by certain antagonizing interaction with a canine.
These situations are just a few of the special types of issues that arise in dog bite cases. Because we have handled many injuries caused by irresponsible dog owners and obtained full recoveries for our clients, we can effectively assist our clients in the following tasks:
- Gathering evidence to prove viciousness, scienter, unreasonably unsafe conduct, and other relevant issues
- Dealing with claims that the victim provoked the attack
- Navigating special issues involving child victims
- Proving the full value of damages which includes psychological harm, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), disfigurement, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more
Seeking a Premises Liability Attorney in Boca Raton
Our attorneys represent persons injured by the failure of a business owner to implement adequate security measures to protect against violent criminal acts or an overzealous and undertrained security guard. Each of these types of premises liability claims poses distinct challenges.
Inadequate Security: While owners of shopping malls, banks, and grocery stores are not required to function as an “insurer” for the safety of people that come on their premises, owners do have a duty to take reasonable care to protect visitors from violent crimes like battery, rape, and armed robbery. Our Palm Beach County inadequate security attorneys work with criminology experts to analyze the nature and extent of crime in the area to determine whether security measures implemented by the business owner were reasonable. The nature of the security measures that would be considered appropriate depends on the severity and frequency of crime in the area. Security measures that might be required include security officers, security doors, armed security, keypad entry, and other features. Because the perpetrator of violent crimes often will lack assets or insurance to pay for a settlement or judgment, victims will need to face the daunting task of successfully proving inadequate security. Property owners also can be liable for inadequate security in common areas of an apartment building or condominium.
Negligent Security: While most people have seen store security guards, they might not realize that these individuals often have been subject to very limited screening and training. Even armed security officers frequently have an astounding lack of training. When an overzealous store security guard causes injury to a suspected shoplifter, the guard’s lack of qualifications or training might constitute a basis for imposing liability. Our Boca Raton negligent security attorneys also base liability on failing to develop and implement proper safety protocols to prevent injuries caused by store security staff.
Premises Liability Cases Involving the Workplace
Whether you are delivering supplies or performing work for a subcontractor on a construction site, building and renovation projects can present an array of dangerous hazards. If you are working on the project, your exclusive remedy against your employer for an on-the-job injury generally will be limited to a worker’s compensation claim. This remedy permits a person injured on a construction site to obtained free medical care, partial wage replacement, and permanent impairment.
Although the worker’s compensation does not require an injured employee to prove employer fault to recover these benefits, the available recovery usually will be less than in a personal injury lawsuit. The worker’s compensation system does not provide a recovery for pain and suffering, punitive damages, impairment of life enjoyment, and other forms of damage.
Our Boca Raton construction accident attorneys implement multiple strategies to protect our clients’ injured by falls from ladders and scaffoldings, impact from moving equipment, electrocution, falling objects, or other hazards on construction products. Our construction injury lawyers can improve the prospects in our clients’ construction accident lawsuits through the following:
- Conducting a prompt investigation because of the changing nature of the premises
- Identifying all potential parties and sources of insurance, including our client’s employer and third parties
- Maintaining a dual claim seeking worker’s compensation benefits and damages in a third party lawsuit
- Conducting extensive discovery to establish the fault in third party lawsuits
- Handling communications with insurance carriers to prevent damaging disclosures
- Navigating past insurance company traps, as well as legal deadlines and procedures
Boca Raton Hazardous Conditions Causing Injuries
While these types of premises liability claims are among the most common, the premises liability attorneys at our law firm also handle a broad spectrum of legal claims, such as:
- Swimming Pool Drowning and Near Drowning Incidents
- Spa Entrapment Accidents
- Hotel and Resort Accidents
- Theme Park Injury Claims
- Latent (Hidden) Defect Cases
- Parking Lot Injury Claims
- Injuries on Public Property
- Gas Explosions and Exposure to Toxic Substances
- Faulty Machinery Accidents
- Defective Sidewalk Accidents
Contact A Boca Raton Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Boca Raton premises liability accident, we welcome you to contact our experienced legal team so that we can evaluate your claim and advise you of your rights and options. We are committed to helping victims recover the compensation they need to move past injuries or loss, so call us 24/7 at 561-777-7700 or online for a free case review to see how we can help.