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Protect Yourself From Being Sued – Remember Your Property Is Your Responsibility

Property, whether it is residential or commercial, is a highly prized asset for most people. Many Americans dream of owning a home, and a private residence of their own is that dream come true. But property is also critical for business needs, whether that is retail, commercial or industrial.

However, once you own a property, things don’t just end there. A property owner must manage a property, whether that is on their own or by hiring managers. And one chief reason to do this is to have a safe environment that can avoid premises liability.

What Is Premises Liability?

Owners of property or vehicle operators have a fundamental responsibility known as “duty of care.” Duty of care is when an owner takes all the reasonable precautions expected from ownership of a specific asset. In the case of property, this varies a lot. Still, there are many aspects to the duty of care, though they all center on the idea of creating a safe environment.

For example, for a homeowner, duty of care may mean not leaving a loaded firearm sitting on a coffee table where a child can pick it up and play with it. Or properly restrain an aggressive dog that is known to bite people. For commercial property owners, the duty of care can range from cleaning up motor oil spills in a garage, so no one slips and falls or ensuring that an amusement park ride is safe for customers to use.

Failing Duty Of Care

Suppose a property owner, or the manager of a property that an owner has hired, sees a possible safety risk and chooses to ignore it. In that case, that is being negligent in the duty of care responsibilities. While that is ethically and professionally poor in itself, it has legal consequences if that negligence results in someone getting an injury.

For example, if a homeowner leaves out a firearm and a child discharges that firearm, that is, in legal terms, an act of negligence. The homeowner knew there was a risk of children playing with the gun but chose to leave the weapon on the coffee table anyway. The child shooting the gun and hitting or killing someone is a direct consequence of that negligence.

The Legal Consequences

Negligence that results in injury is illegal. While it is usually not considered a criminal act, negligence can result in lawsuits where the victims or relatives of the victims can sue for financial compensation. This compensation might be for the cost of medical care if the victim was injured or, in the worst cases, compensation for wrongful death if the victim dies.

However, negligence that causes premises liability must meet two essential criteria. First, the negligence itself must be a clear breach of duty of care. A fight that occurs between customers in a bar that results in injury, for example, may not be the fault of the property owner at all. The other criteria are that sufficient evidence must exist of the negligence that can be submitted in court.

If you are injured on someone’s property due to negligence, get the compensation owed to you. Talk to a personal injury lawyer about premises liability for your slip and fall or other injuries.

Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.

Protect Yourself From Being Sued – Remember Your Property Is Your Responsibility

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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