Were you recently injured in a premises liability accident in West Palm Beach, FL? Our experienced West Palm Beach premises liability lawyers at Shiner Law Group are ready to help fight for your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (561) 777-7700 to speak with an attorney for a 100% free consultation.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and more. Contact our West Palm Beach, FL law offices to discuss the legal options that might be available to you following your premises liability accident. The next steps are very important. Let Shiner Law Group help you with your premises liability accident case today.
Table of Contents
Were You Injured in a Premises Liability Accident in West Palm Beach?
Premises liability is the legal concept that arises when someone sustains an injury on another person’s property due to unsafe or deficient conditions. When this type of incident occurs to you or someone you know, call a West Palm Beach premises liability lawyer right away to discuss your legal options.
As leading premises liability attorneys serving Florida, our goal is to pursue legal justice and compensation for those injured as a result of property owners observing their legal obligations. The person, business, or entity responsible for unsafe or hazardous premises should acknowledge, and be held accountable, for their oversight or intentional negligence.
Property owners in Florida have a duty to manage safe and secure premises for all visitors. By law property owners must attend to any susceptible hazardous property conditions with a minimum of warning any visitors of any potential risks. A property owner is considered negligent under these considerations when they have failed to adhere to either of these two: 1. Failed to repair a known premises hazard, or 2. Failed to give notice to visitors of a known hazard properly.
To determine whether a property owner or manager is negligent in maintaining their property it must first be decided who was overseeing the property during the time of the incident. Secondly, a determination of whether the premise owners failed to act appropriately in warning visitors of foreseeable threats or risks.
Over time evidence from an accident scene may become less valuable for many reasons. Witnesses need to be questioned soon following a premise accident, so the memory of the events is depicted most clearly. Furthermore, it is favorable to examine the conditions of the scene of an accident promptly before anyone gains access to the premise and possibly manipulate or remove any evidence.
In a premises negligence claim, a proper analysis of all eyewitness accounts and evidence must be conducted. Additionally, a premise liability lawyer will try to avoid scene and evidence contamination by sending out a spoliation notice. This notice will prevent any interference of evidence allowing for the greatest analysis of all available information painting the best picture of a premises liability case.
West Palm Beach Property Owners Responsibilities
There are three different types of care a property owner must provide based on the designation of their guest. These three designations are:
- Invitees: This person, also known as a “business invitee,” is on a property for a specific purpose. In most instances, an invitee will exchange money for goods or services. Examples of an invitee are a shopper at a grocery store, or a contractor hired to provide a service on a property, where the invitee is granted permission to be on the premises. Premise owners of these guests are required to inspect their property for any potential hazards, fix any issues that may cause harm, and at a minimum provide warnings of any probable dangers.
- Licensees: This is a person who enters a property by the acknowledgment or request of a property owner or controller. Friends, family, and other socially related visitors to a property are considered licensees. A licensee is not on the premises for any business-related purposes. Property owners for a licensee guest are liable only for the potential hazards or dangers they are aware of.
- Trespassers: This person has not been granted permission to enter a property by the property owner or controller. A property owner cannot create hazardous conditions in an attempt to harm or catch a trespasser. However, a property owner is under no obligation to fix dangerous conditions or provide any warnings to a trespasser.
Premise Accident Liability Claims in West Palm Beach
Different examples of claims involving a premise liability injury include:
- Slip, Trip And Fall Accidents: Slip and Falls, as well as Trip and Falls, occur when the dangers of a premise are not relayed to a visitor by the property owner. Many victims suffer severe injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, back injuries, sprains, and other crippling and long-term injuries, stemming from inadequate warnings, improper maintenance, or faulty construction. Hazards that cause slip and falls and trip and falls may include: wet floors due to spills or runoffs, uneven flooring, tears in flooring, slippery floors, and holes in walkways and flooring.
- Dog/Animal Bites: When an animal bites or attacks causing injury or bodily harm to another the owner of the animal is liable for any resulting damages to the injured. Most West Palm Beach animal attack injuries may include deep tissue wounds, nerve damage, and permanent scarring, leading to stitches and possible reconstructive surgeries.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: A pool owner must appropriately secure their pool from any types of injuries, such as slip, trip and falls, or drownings due to improper fencing and latching.
- Elevator Accidents: Victims injured due to an elevator failure or defect can file a premises liability claim against the property owner as well as the developer of the elevator.
- Negligent Security: Property owners are required to provide adequate security in the event their property is located in an area that crimes may occur. Dwellings such as parking garages, parking lots, bars, hotels, and buildings leave patrons open to any physical assaults.
Recovering Compensation From A West Palm Beach Premise Liability Case
You may receive compensation for your injuries due to a premise liability claim for the following:
- Lost Wages: From missed work to missed income opportunities due to injuries related to a premise liability claim, you may be able to recover compensation for lost wages as well as potential lost future wages.
- Medical Expenses: Medical bills associated with injuries due to premise negligence causing injury include surgeries, therapy, medications, emergency transport, hospital bills, doctor visits, and future medical expenses.
- Pain And Suffering: When an injury causes long-term physical and emotional sufferings a victim may be entitled to compensation.
- Wrongful Death: When a family member dies as a result of someone’s negligence the surviving family may file a West Palm Beach wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other financial damages.
Proving A Premise Liability Claim in West Palm Beach
Things that make a premise liability claim credible:
- Existing dangerous conditions are known by a property owner
- There was proper and acceptable time to correct dangerous conditions
- The property owner created dangerous or hazardous conditions on the property
- A failure of the property owners to warn others of known risks
Overview of West Palm Beach Premises Liability Lawsuits
Lawyers use the term “premises liability” to refer to the legal principle that property owners and occupants owe a duty to ensure the reasonable safety of visitors to their premises. Failure to live up to that duty can saddle the owner or occupant with liability for the harm a visitor suffers.
This obligation exists for all types of property owners or occupants, including residential homeowners and renters, owners, lessees, or managers of commercial properties, and government entities tasked with operating and maintaining public properties like parks, schools, government buildings, and playgrounds.
Generally speaking, under Florida law, the owner or occupant of a property may have liability to a person who gets injured because of a hazard on the property, if the owner/occupant knew or had reason to know that the hazard existed and failed to take reasonable precautions to keep the visitor safe.
However, the law doesn’t treat all visitors the same.
Instead, the amount of care and precaution a property owner or occupant must take on behalf of guests depends on how the law classifies that guest.
- Invitees are guests that the owner has invited onto a property for personal or business reasons. The invitation can be made expressly (“Come into my backyard!”) or by implication (turning on the lights and unlocking the front door of a store). Property owners/ occupants owe the highest duty of care to this type of visitor. They must reasonably inspect their property for dangerous conditions, fix known conditions when possible, and warn invitees about or keep them away from known hazards.
- Licensees are social guests who are allowed to enter a property for their own convenience, rather than the property owners. Dinner guests at a private residence, a mail carrier carrying a package across your lawn to your front door, or an electric company meter reader are all licensees. Owner/occupants must keep property reasonably clear of unsafe conditions and warn licensees of dangers that they know about.
- Trespassers enter a property without the knowledge or permission of the owner/occupant. Property owners/occupants have no duty of care to protect trespassers from hazards, but they cannot deliberately lure trespassers onto their property to cause injury to them either.
These distinctions can make a significant difference in the outcome of a lawsuit for damages brought by an injured property visitor.
Factors that often determine how to classify an injured visitor can include:
- How the property was being used when the injury occurred.
- The visitor’s reason for entering the property.
- Whether the accident or injury was foreseeable by the owner, and whether reasonable precautions could have prevented it.
- Whether the owner/occupant made a reasonable effort to warn the visitor of the hazard.
At Shiner Law Group, we work closely with our clients to determine how the law might classify them in relation to the property where they suffered their injuries. Then, we set to work building the strongest possible case on our clients’ behalf.
Common West Palm Beach Premises Liability Cases We Handle
Many different property hazards can cause an injury to an unsuspecting visitor. Here is a look at some common premises liability claims that we handle at Shiner Law Group.
Falls (a.k.a. Slips and Falls)
Accidental falls caused by dangerous property conditions, also often called slip-and-fall cases (even when they do not necessarily involve someone slipping, before falling), commonly lead to premises liability claims. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip-and-fall incidents account for over a million emergency department visits in the U.S. each year. Falls can cause a wide variety of injuries, including hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
Common causes of accidental falls include:
- Loose, worn, or torn flooring material.
- Floors slippery from water, spilled liquids, or sand.
- Broken or missing handrails.
- Poorly marked steps or sloping floors.
- Defective or damaged staircases.
- Poor lighting, particularly in stairways.
- Cracked or damaged sidewalks or parking lot pavement.
- Obstacles in a walkway, such as electrical cords, tree roots, or construction debris.
These are merely some examples, however. At Shiner Law Group, we can help victims of virtually any kind of West Palm Beach slip-and-fall incident, no matter what type of property hazard contributed to our client taking a tumble.
Property owners/occupants must often take reasonable steps to protect visitors from violent crime that occurs on or adjacent to their premises. A property owner who fails to correct a condition that facilitates crime can face liability to crime victims.
To avoid liability, property owners/occupants may need to:
- Conduct regular security patrols of a premises.
- Check visitors for weapons, alcohol, or other prohibited items before allowing them to enter.
- Keep premises well-lighted.
- Install locks and other security features on guest room doors and in other areas.
- Operate security cameras.
It may not occur to a crime victim that the owner of the property where the crime occurred could face liability for the injuries the victim suffered. If you or a loved one suffered injuries because of an assault or similar crime on someone else’s property in West Palm Beach, contact Shiner Law Group to learn about your potential rights to pursue compensation in a premises liability claim.
Swimming Pool Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 5. Drowning kills about 3,960 persons each year in the U.S., with many of these deaths occurring in private residential or public swimming pools.
However, drowning is not the only hazard presented by swimming pools. For every near-drowning an emergency department treats, many more swimming pool injuries take place.
Other common sources of swimming pool injuries include:
- Injuries sustained in slips and falls on wet surfaces around the pool.
- Injuries incurred as a result of the pool’s drain, ranging in seriousness from cuts to disembowelment.
- Injuries caused by falls from diving boards or diving board ladders.
- Injuries resulting from guests diving into shallow areas of the pool.
Owners/occupants of West Palm Beach residences and businesses that feature swimming pools, particularly those who regularly invite guests to swim, should take reasonable protective measures to keep their visitors safe, such as:
- Building an enclosure around the pool designed to keep guests out during off-swimming times.
- Placing a lifeguard on duty and providing accessible, life-saving equipment to ensure the safety of swimmers.
- Posting signs warning of swimming dangers, pool depths, and other potential hazards.
At Shiner Law Group, we fight to make sure that individuals who suffered injuries or tragic losses in swimming pool incidents receive the compensation they deserve.
Many West Palm Beach businesses and residential buildings feature elevators and/or escalators.
However, conveniences can become the source of injuries for property visitors, such as when:
- An elevator stops between floors or its doors open when the car is not there.
- Elevators or escalators do not maintain a consistent speed.
- Elevators or escalators stop suddenly, throwing riders to the ground.
- Elevator cars fall or individuals get trapped in elevator shafts.
- Riders suffer electrical shock from improper wiring on an elevator or escalator.
- Clothing or other items get stuck in an escalator.
West Palm Beach property owners and occupants who offer elevators and escalators for use must maintain them in safe working condition or will face liability for injuries visitors suffer on them.
Approximately 4.5 million people sustain dog bites each year, and about 800,000 of them need medical attention for their injuries. Florida law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries inflicted when their dog bites someone. That means the dog owner must pay damages to the injured bite victim regardless of the reasonableness of the owner’s actions or knowledge of the potential danger of the dog.
Many dog bites happen at the owner’s home, making them akin to a premises liability claim. Sometimes, however, dogs bite victims elsewhere. In those cases, the owner of the property where the bite occurred, even if not also the owner of the dog, might face liability for allowing the dog on the premises.
Each year in the U.S., 1.1 million individuals suffer burn injuries according to the CDC, and about 50,000 of these injuries will require hospitalization.
Property owners/occupants must take reasonable steps to protect their visitors from injuries resulting from fire and explosion through actions such as:
- Installing smoke detectors on the premises.
- Replacing old or faulty wiring.
- Providing maps with clearly marked exits for hotel customers.
- Ensuring that there are exits available from all areas of the building, including bathrooms.
- Keeping a fire extinguisher in areas where there is a higher likelihood of fire, such as in the kitchen.
The Shiner Law Group team represents injured victims of West Palm Beach fires and explosions in legal actions aimed at securing full and fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
Property owners owe a special duty of care to children, who are not always aware of concepts such as property hazards and trespassing. This special duty of care involves securing or removing from the property hazards that are likely to pique the curiosity of a child and encourage entering the property for a closer look. Perhaps the most common and well-known attractive nuisance is a swimming pool. Florida swimming pool owners must properly enclose their pools to protect children from entering the property and falling into the water.
The attractive nuisance doctrine also applies to other types of property hazards, including old appliances and vehicles on a property that could injure or trap a child.
Premises Liability Injuries in West Palm Beach
Property hazards in West Palm Beach can inflict devastating injuries.
At Shiner Law Group, we can help injured clients recover compensation for, among others:
- Brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries typically result from a violent blow to the head or body. Falls due to dangerous property conditions constitute one of the most common contributors to traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries can also occur in near-drowning incidents, which deprive the brain of oxygen and cause severe damage. Brain injuries can produce lasting motor, emotional and cognitive impairments.
- Spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves extending from the base of the skull to the waist area that relays signals from the brain to the body. Damage to or pressure on the spinal cord disrupts those signals. A spinal cord injury commonly results in paralysis, which is a loss of sensation, control, and function in parts of the body with which the brain can no longer communicate.
- Broken bones (especially broken hips). Individuals who fall because of a property hazard commonly suffer bone fractures. Broken hips account for a significant number of these injuries, especially among older West Palm Beach residents. Other bones commonly fractured in premises liability accidents include the arms, legs, elbows, and wrists.
- Burns. Fires, explosions, hot water spills, electrocutions, and other hazardous mishaps at West Palm Beach properties can inflict serious burns that require extensive treatment at an area burn center. Burn injuries frequently pose a severe risk of infection, cause extreme pain, and leave behind disfiguring scars.
Of course, this is just a sampling of the types of injuries clients of Shiner Law Group may suffer because of a dangerous West Palm Beach property condition. No matter what type of injury an individual suffers, our compassionate, experienced team knows how to secure compensation for it.
Frequently Asked Questions About West Palm Beach Premises Liability Cases
Here are answers to some of the questions our West Palm Beach clients frequently ask about premises liability cases. Please also feel free to contact us for a free consultation with an attorney who can answer your questions about a premises liability injury that has affected you.
How do I know if I have a West Palm Beach premises liability case?
The best way to find out if you have a claim for damages after getting hurt on someone else’s property in West Palm Beach is to speak with an experienced legal professional, like a member of the team at Shiner Law Group.
Until then, you can get a sense of whether you have a case by asking yourself whether someone should have fixed or warned you about the property condition or hazard that injured you. If so, then chances are you have rights to compensation. An experienced West Palm Beach premises liability attorney can help you get it.
What compensation can I get through a West Palm Beach premises liability claim?
Every legal action seeking damages for an injury someone suffered at a property in West Palm Beach has unique facts that influence the compensation the victim might seek.
However, in general, a lawsuit or insurance claim can typically seek payment for:
- Medical expenses, including the costs of emergency treatment, ambulance transport, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, surgical and physician services, prescription medication, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and the provision of assistive devices such as crutches, a wheelchair, or even prosthetic limbs.
- Wages lost due to being too injured to work.
- Lost earning capacity if an injury results in a permanent disability that prevents the individual from working.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
In cases involving especially wrongful or intentional misconduct, attorneys can sometimes also secure an award of punitive damages on behalf of an injured property visitor.
How much is my case worth?
The value of a personal injury claim depends on a variety of factors, including:
- The type and severity of the injury you suffered. In general, the worse the injury and the greater its impact on your life, the higher the amount of money you may seek as compensation.
- The strength of the claim a skilled West Palm Beach premises liability attorney can assemble on your behalf out of the evidence and legal arguments available. Strong cases prepared by skilled lawyers tend to have the highest potential dollar values.
- The financial resources available to pay your claim. A property owner/occupant often carries liability insurance that might cover a visitor’s premises liability claim, so the limits of that insurance policy can affect the claim’s value.
At Shiner Law Group, we work diligently with our clients to evaluate the potential value of their claims, and then set to work seeking to secure as much of that value as possible from the parties at fault for their injuries.
My family member died from injuries suffered in an accidental fall. Is there compensation available for me?
If your family member died from injuries suffered in a fall at a West Palm Beach property, you may have the right to seek compensation for your loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.
With the help of a skilled attorney, a personal representative of your deceased family member (the executor of that family member’s will, for example) can file and pursue a claim for damages that might include:
- The loss of support and services provided by the deceased to his or her family members.
- The loss of companionship and protection or parental support, nurturing, and guidance provided by the deceased to his or her family members.
- The cost of medical treatment for the deceased family member before death, if they were paid by a family member or by the estate.
- The cost of funeral services and burial or cremation.
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings for the deceased between the time of his or her injury and the time of his or her death.
- The value of earnings and benefits that the deceased would have likely earned throughout his or her career if he or she had survived the accident.
Shiner Law Group has represented numerous clients in wrongful death actions. Contact us today to learn how we may help your family during this difficult time.
Can I sue the city of West Palm Beach for injuries I suffered on public property?
It’s possible, although you may have only a limited amount of time to take legal action. We encourage you to contact us at Shiner Law Group right away to learn more about your rights.
Government property owners in West Palm Beach owe roughly the same duties to visitors as other property owners. However, taking legal action against a government entity involves following special procedures and meeting tight deadlines. Individuals who get hurt because of a hazardous condition on public property should seek legal advice from a skilled lawyer immediately.
An insurance adjuster offered me a settlement. Should I accept?
Not before speaking with an attorney.
Insurance companies representing the at-fault party sometimes offer to settle with an injured individual soon after the injury occurs. It’s understandable to feel tempted to accept this offer—it may even seem like a lot of money. However, it is important to remember that the insurance adjuster’s job isn’t to pay you every penny you deserve, but rather, it is to save money for the insurance company by finding ways to limit the amount it pays to injured parties like you.
One of the ways insurance companies try to save money is by making low-ball offers to injured individuals who do not yet have lawyers representing them. They figure that an individual without a lawyer may not know what a claim is really worth and that the individual might accept far less than what a lawyer could get.
Do not make the mistake of accepting a settlement offer before you’ve spoken with an experienced lawyer about your claim. At Shiner Law Group, we can often secure far more money for our clients than their initial settlement offers by negotiating on their behalf with the insurance company.
I fell and got hurt at a West Palm Beach hotel and they offered to comp my stay. Should I agree?
Be careful. Accepting “in-kind” payments after getting hurt because of a dangerous property condition could jeopardize your legal rights.
It’s common and, often, appropriate from a customer service standpoint, for hotels to offer freebies when guests sustain injuries or suffer some other type of harm that impacts the quality of their stay. However, those perks may come with strings attached. For example, they may act as a waiver of your rights to pursue the hotel for additional compensation.
Before agreeing to any free stay or another complimentary benefit the hotel offers you as an apology for what happened, speak with an experienced West Palm Beach premises liability attorney. The team at Shiner Law Group, for instance, can often review the situation quickly and advise our clients on the best steps to take to protect their legal and financial interests.
How can hotels get away with not having a lifeguard on duty? Doesn’t that make them liable for injuries in the hotel pool?
Hotels may avoid having a lifeguard on duty by placing a sign in a prominent location near their pool that states something to the effect of. “No lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk.” By warning guests of the hazard and informing them that safety around the pool is their responsibility, the hotel may avoid liability for drowning injuries.
However, the hotel is still legally responsible for ensuring that the pool is properly maintained and that all equipment such as filters and drains are in working order. Posting a “No lifeguard on duty” sign does not excuse a hotel from taking reasonable measures to maintain the safety of their pool areas.
Is a property owner always liable for injuries occurring on the property?
No. Premises liability does not mean strict liability in most cases (except, as we mentioned, when the property owner’s dog bites and injures a visitor). Instead, courts evaluate a property owner’s actions based on the visitor’s status on their property, and the reasonableness of the steps an owner/occupant takes (or does not take) to keep that visitor safe from harm.
Keep in mind, too, that others can (potentially) share liability with a property owner for a dangerous condition on the owner’s property. For example, if a guest suffers injuries because of defective pool equipment at a hotel pool, the manufacturer of that equipment might share liability with the property owner for the guest’s damages.
The team at Shiner Law Group has years of experience evaluating the circumstances of our client’s injuries to identify all parties who may owe them compensation.
How can an attorney help me with my West Palm Beach premises liability claim?
An attorney can ensure your right to the full amount of damages you deserve after an owner/occupant failed to keep you safe from a dangerous property condition.
Those services might include:
- Providing answers to your legal questions and guidance on the process of obtaining compensation through a personal injury lawsuit during your free, no-obligation case evaluation.
- Determining all sources of liability and all insurance resources potentially available to compensate you for your injuries and losses.
- Evaluating the full range of damages you suffered to ensure that any legal action seeks the maximum compensation allowable under Florida law.
- Negotiating with the at-fault party’s defense attorney and insurance provider in hopes of obtaining a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- Preparing and filing the necessary paperwork in court to assert your claims.
- Advocating for you in front of West Palm Beach judges and juries.
- Collecting and organizing evidence and witness testimony helpful in proving your case.
- Collecting the money due to you through a settlement, judgment, or jury award.
How much does it cost to hire Shiner Law Group for a premises liability case?
Nothing, unless we win for you.
At Shiner Law Group, we offer a free consultation to anyone who wants to learn about their rights to compensation after getting hurt on someone else’s property in West Palm Beach. In a consultation, an experienced member of our team can answer your questions and tell you whether we think we can help you obtain compensation.
In addition, our firm almost always represents premises liability clients on a contingent fee basis. That means we collect fees for our services only out of any money we recover on our clients’ behalf. We don’t charge fees up-front, and we don’t bill our clients by the hour.
Do not let concerns about cost keep you from speaking with a member of our team. We aim to make our services affordable for anyone who needs them.
Call Our Experienced West Palm Beach Premises Liability Lawyers Today
Suffering injuries on someone else’s property in West Palm Beach can cause severe and costly disruption in your life. You deserve compensation, and a skilled lawyer can help you get it.
Shiner Law Group represents individuals who have suffered injuries at properties throughout West Palm Beach and its environs. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (561) 777-7700.
West Palm Beach Premises Liability Lawyer Review
West Palm Beach Premises Liability Injury Law Office
Shiner Law Group
1601 Belvedere Rd E-300 #21
West Palm Beach, FL 33406