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5 Most Common Types Of Premises Liability In Southwest Florida

Florida’s Suncoast is a great place to live and work, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely free from risk or harm. Accidents happen, events beyond anyone’s control, such as severe storms, can’t be prevented. But in some cases, the harm a person experiences results from someone else’s carelessness and is easily preventable.

Suppose you are injured on someone else’s property as the result of a preventable cause. In that case, this is known as premises liability. In addition, anyone that owns a property, whether a retail shop or a family home, has a legal responsibility known as duty of care. Duty of care means the property owner is legally required to maintain some reasonable level of safety. If a property owner ignores this responsibility, and the result is someone getting injured, negligence means it’s possible to get financial compensation in court.

These are the five most common causes of premises liability in Southwest Florida.

Slipping & Falling

While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a slip, the general term “slip and fall” applies to any situation where a person falls and is injured due to negligence. This usually means something in the environment should not have been there, as it interfered with walking, but it was decided to ignore the risk posed to people in the area.

A clear example of this is a car repair garage spilling motor oil. Motor oil is a lubricant and is, by design, incredibly slippery. If motor oil is left on a floor, anyone who walks over it could easily slip and fall. If a repair facility spills motor oil in customer reception but chooses not to clean up the mess, and a customer comes in, slips on it, and gets hurt, that’s a clear-cut case of premises liability. Motor oil in a “high traffic area” like customer reception poses a considerable risk to people arriving at the garage. Ignoring that risk potentially harms every customer coming in.

Dog Bites

This is far more common for residential properties than commercial or industrial zones. Dog owners do not just have a responsibility to their pet, they also have an obligation to visitors that come onto their property. The law is unambiguous on dog attacks. If a dog bites someone, the legal responsibility for this falls squarely on the owner, as does the obligation to compensate the attack victim. This is especially true if the dog attack results in severe injury or even death.

If a dog is known to be aggressive, steps must be taken to prevent the pet from randomly interacting with others outside the household. It’s not just occasional visitors that must be protected from this; strangers who regularly visit for work reasons, such as postal workers dropping off mail or delivering newspapers, must also be protected from dog bites.

Inadequate Maintenance

Sometimes it is not new additions to a property that creates a risk, but the property itself is not in good condition. For example, a building that has not been adequately maintained can present significant risks to visitors. A foundation in need of repair, for example, can result in crooked stairs or floors that aren’t level. If someone slips and falls as a result of this, that’s premises liability, since the accident would never have happened if the foundation were in good condition and stairs were level.

Poor plumbing, shoddy electrical wiring, or even lighting that hasn’t been replaced in dark areas like stairwells are all examples of possible premises liability arising from inadequate maintenance practices.

Negligent Security

The intent of security guards and security devices such as cameras or motion-sensitive lights is to add a more significant measure of safety for visitors. Security guards, for example, should intervene in situations where crimes like theft or assault take place. Security cameras should act as deterrents to discourage theft by being a “perfect witness” and, should that fail, preserving images for investigation and evidence in prosecution.

However, if security guards don’t do their job or security cameras are broken and not repaired, the crimes they are supposed to prevent or record go unpunished. The victims are in even more distress. If someone is victimized by crime when security measures should have prevented it, that’s premises liability.

Building Code Violations

Building codes are put in place to protect residents, visitors, and property owners themselves. However, obeying these codes does mean spending more money. Therefore, sometimes owners, in an effort to save money, ignore these codes.

If this results in injury or even death, such as a property owner knowingly using code violating flammable materials in a building repair because it’s cheaper, that’s premises liability if a fire arises.

If you or someone you know in Southwest Florida is the victim of premises liability due to someone else’s negligence, talk to an experienced premises liability attorney and determine how those responsible can be held accountable for their actions.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

5 Most Common Types Of Premises Liability In Southwest Florida

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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