Blogs By K Ryan

Warning signs are one way to prevent premises liability lawsuits.

Can you sue for inadequate maintenance?

When you visit a personal residence or retail establishment, you expect a reasonable level of safety. When that is violated, you can suffer serious consequences. Slip-and-falls can cause lifelong injuries, such as broken bones, spinal issues, and traumatic brain injuries.

Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath believe that you should feel safe when you visit an establishment or are invited into someone’s home. We protect your rights and the rights of others by bringing the defendant to justice.

If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall due to inadequate maintenance, contact our Florida personal injury lawyers today. In your free consultation, you’ll find out our course of action for your case and how we plan to get you maximum compensation.

Call (561) 867-4117 now to schedule your appointment today.

Who can you sue for inadequate maintenance?

You shouldn’t have to bear the financial and emotional losses that come with your accident alone. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath protect your rights to damages and help you determine who is at fault.

Our skilled team has seen many premises liability cases, is constantly keeping up with local laws, and understands the consequences that you are suffering. We put our clients first, even when it means working harder to get them the maximum compensation.

In premises liability cases, several parties can be found liable. Typically you can sue the homeowner or business owner for inadequate maintenance if it is their property. However, those individuals are not always the ones residing in the property. In other cases, you may file a claim against a homeowners’ association for not having adequate requirements, a contractor for not completing their job properly, or an employee who may have been responsible for the hazard.

Property Owners Duty of Care

Property owners, especially business owners, have a duty of care to anyone that they welcome onto their property. This does not necessarily extend to trespassers.

There is a reasonable expectation that when you visit the property you have been invited to, you will be safe. For example, if a friend invites you to a dinner party, or if a business has an “open” sign in the window.

No property owner can prevent all injuries. But if the customers or guests are injured due to inadequate maintenance, the property owner may be liable for their injuries. It must be determined that the injury is due to inadequate maintenance and that the property owner had ample time to repair or warn of this issue.

Some examples of breached duty of care are:

  • The front steps are old and worn, but the property owner does not get them fixed for years
  • There are no wet floor signs
  • Cracked or crumbling pavement is not adequately signposted or repaired
  • The ceiling crumbles onto a customer due to ill maintenance

This list is by no means exhaustive but it demonstrates some of the cases of inadequate maintenance where the customer or guest could file a claim for premises liability damages.

Seeking Compensation for Inadequate Maintenance

To seek compensation for premises liability injuries due to inadequate maintenance, you will need to prove that there was inadequate maintenance, that the owner was aware of it, and that it directly caused your injuries.

This is extremely challenging to do. Work with an experienced premises liability attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to protect your rights throughout this process and to prove damages.

Our experienced team has adequate constructive knowledge and legal awareness to prove that owners violated local ordinances. Where it may be challenging for you to determine whether or not the owner knew of the violation, our skilled attorneys can prove it definitively with the evidence that they collect.

Proving Negligence for Inadequate Maintenance

Citizens of the world have a duty of care to other individuals. This is a legal principle that states that every individual owes a reasonable amount of care for the safety of those around them and should not behave in a way that threatens this.

For example, an individual should not disobey traffic laws, as there is a reasonable expectation that this will cause harm to others on the road.

To prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care, such as providing a safe residence for them to visit, and that they breached it. Every homeowner or business owner should be expected to maintain their property to a standard that is safe for those who enter it. If they do not, then they have breached this duty.

Finally, to seek a claim for damages, the defendant’s negligent actions must have directly caused the injury to the plaintiff.

Explore Your Options with a Premises Liability Lawyer

If you’re considering a lawsuit for inadequate maintenance, contact a premises liability lawyer at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today. Our skilled attorneys are prepared to take on your case. Call us for a consultation.

property owners rights against trespassers

Property Owners Rights Against Trespassers

Spotting an uninvited guest on your Florida property is scary. The initial shock of the intrusion might give you pause, so we’ve created a list of property owner rights against trespassers to help you handle what happens next.

 

Who is considered a trespasser?

Florida law defines trespassers as people who willfully enter a property without invitation, authority, or license and refuse to leave when warned.

There are two main types of trespass: trespass in a structure and trespass outside of a structure. The first covers any type of property considered to be a roofed structure, such as a closed business or a vehicle, while the second covers instances in which a person enters restricted land or stays in public parks after closing. 

There are exceptions that allow structures without roofs to still be legally covered under Florida trespass law, such as if the property was damaged while in a governor-declared state of emergency.

 

How serious is trespassing?

Most trespassing is considered to be a misdemeanor. However, if a trespasser is armed, the crime of trespassing becomes a third-degree felony. There are additional circumstances that increase the severity of the crime, such as if the land trespassed on is a construction or commercial horticulture site.

 

What do I do if a trespasser is on my property?

According to Florida laws about property owners’ rights against trespassers, owners or those permitted by the owner are allowed to detain trespassers if a trespasser is armed. 

To avoid being held liable for false imprisonment or unlawful detention, the property owner must alert law enforcement about the detainee as soon as practical. Additionally, a trespasser may only be detained “in a reasonable manner, for a reasonable length of time.”

Remember that when dealing with a trespasser whom you believe is armed, it’s best to alert authorities to your situation as soon as possible.

 

Does the trespasser know they’re trespassing?

In some instances, a trespasser may have made an honest mistake and will leave of their own accord. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Florida law mentions that some instances of trespassing are reasonably understood to be trespassing, such as in the case of someone entering a closed restaurant without permission, while others would require some type of trespassing warning or signage.

If the trespasser does not know they are trespassing, use your best judgment when it comes to confronting them or calling authorities. Remember that trespassers are entitled to warnings of property dangers in some instances. 

 

What happens if a trespasser is hurt on my property?

Florida law states that property owners are not liable for any civil damages for damage, death, or injury suffered by a trespasser if the trespasser was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time. 

Property owners’ rights against trespassers state that owners are liable for such damages in specific instances, such as if the trespasser had a reasonable belief that they were welcome on the property.

However, Florida law states that property owners are liable for damages, injury, or death suffered by trespassers if any of the aforementioned was caused by gross negligence or intentional misconduct. 

If a property owner knew of a trespasser’s presence, the trespasser becomes what’s known as a “discovered trespasser” and is entitled to warnings of any dangerous conditions. If the property owner does not warn a discovered trespasser of dangerous conditions of their property, they may be held liable for any resulting damages. 

If a trespasser has been injured on your property, you must work with an experienced Florida premises liability lawyer who will know all the legal options available to you.

There is a difference between civil and criminal trespassing. According to Florida law, a property owner isn’t likely to be held liable for negligence that results in the death or injury of a person committing a felony or attempting to commit a felony on the property.

To further complicate premises liability law, Florida also has a “stand your ground” law that may impact the outcome of a case in which a property owner purposely wounds a trespasser. These cases are extraordinarily complex. You must work with a Florida premises liability lawyer who is an expert on property owners’ rights against trespassers.

 

Have more questions about how to handle a trespass case?

Contact a Florida premises liability lawyer today. 

Dealing with a trespasser is rarely a pleasant experience, which is why we want to help alleviate as much stress and frustration as possible. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we dedicate ourselves to approaching premises liability cases with the utmost care for you and your rights. 

Reach out today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an expert Florida premises liability lawyer

 

dog bite premises liability

Dog Bites and Premises Liability

If you’ve been bitten by a dog on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation through a dog bite premises liability lawsuit.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Nearly one million of those bites require medical attention. Some dog bites even lead to dangerous infections and death. 

Florida’s legislation says dangerous dogs are becoming an increasingly widespread and serious issue. 

 

Who’s liable for my dog bite?

Most of the time, Florida law places the liability of dog bites on the dog’s owner. However, there are some instances that lessen the owner’s liability, such as if negligence by the wounded person led to the dog bite. 

More drastically, the owner’s liability is voided except in cases involving victims younger than six years old if the owner had a sign prominently displayed on their property that warned of a “Bad Dog.” 

The only exception to this void is if the dog bite was directly caused by the owner’s negligence or omission. 

 

How does premises liability factor into dog bites?

Florida law protects property visitors from certain types of property dangers. In most cases, premises liability lawsuits require the dangerous property condition to have existed for a long enough time that the property owner must have known about it, to be recurring and therefore foreseeable, or gone intentionally unaddressed by the property owner.

An expert Florida dog bite premises liability lawyer will know what options are available to you and how premises liability law impacts your case specifically. 

 

What if the dog doesn’t belong to the property owner?

If you were at or on public property when bitten, the owner of the dog is liable for your injuries. 

If you were bitten by the dog while lawfully on the dog owner’s property, the owner is liable. To be lawfully on the property means you were invited.

If you were bitten on private property, contact a seasoned Florida dog bite premises liability lawyer today. An expert dog bite premises liability lawyer will know what options are available to you and how best to proceed.

 

Does it matter if the dog has never bitten anyone before?

No. 

According to Florida law, the dog’s owner is liable for damages to the wounded person regardless of whether this is the first time the dog has ever hurt someone. In addition, the dog’s owner still is liable even if they claim to not have known about any previous instances of aggression or viciousness.

 

Was the dog “dangerous”?

Though the answer may seem obvious to you, Florida has specific rules about what qualifies a dog as dangerous. If you were bitten by a dog that has been labeled as dangerous by the state, contact a dog bite premises liability lawyer immediately as this may affect your case.

To be deemed dangerous, Florida requires the dog to have:

  • Wounded or killed a domestic animal off the owner’s property at least once
  • Chased or menacingly approached a peaceful person on public property
  • Bitten, attacked, endangered, or severely wounded a person on private or public property

 

There are some exceptions to the dangerous label. In Florida, a dog may not be considered or declared dangerous if it hurt someone in defense of itself or a person or if it hurt someone who was unlawfully on the property housing the dog.

Though there are stereotypes about what types of dogs are more or most likely to bite, those don’t hold water. It’s important to remember that all dogs can bite a person and potentially cause serious harm and death.

 

Bitten by a dog? Contact a lawyer today.

A skilled Florida dog bite premises liability lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve. Monetary awards from lawsuits can be used to cover medical bills, lost income due to injury, and more. Florida law limits how long you have to file a dog bite premises liability claim, so it’s best to move quickly. 

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free consultation with an expert premises liability lawyer. Call us now at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website to get your free, no-risk consultation. Let us help you get the compensation and treatment you deserve.

wet floor marker sits in high-traffic establishement

Statute of Limitations on Slip and Fall Cases

What is a slip and fall accident? These accidents happen when you trip or fall over on another person’s or entity’s property due to unsafe conditions. If you’ve slipped, tripped, or fallen over unsafe or dilapidated conditions at a Florida property, you may be entitled to compensation through a slip and fall lawsuit.

How long after a slip and fall can you sue?

In Florida, you have up to four years to file a slip and fall lawsuit. However, you should contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. You can contact us today.

Why should I contact a slip and fall lawyer today?

Evidence May Degrade With Time

Though it may sometimes feel necessary to delay the filing of a lawsuit to focus on other issues (i.e. healing from your actual slip and fall injuries), delaying your case may undermine it. The sooner you have an experienced slip and fall lawyer on your side, the sooner they can begin gathering expert and witness testimony, video evidence, and medical records that could make or break your case.

Medical Bills Need Attention Now

The possible compensation awarded during a lawsuit can be used to pay for medical bills that may pile up or gather interest if you aren’t able to pay them out-of-pocket or get your insurance provider to cover them completely. Depending on your injury, you may have ongoing costs, such as physical therapy and surgery.

Some injuries may also mean that you can’t work while you heal or can’t work at all anymore. A slip and fall lawyer will be able to help you recover lost wages and get the best compensation award possible.

In addition to the economic and concrete costs such as medical bills and lost wages, you also may be able to get compensation for not-easily-calculable non-economic costs, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.

An experienced slip and fall lawyer will be able to build the strongest case possible for compensation so you can get the help you need and deserve.

Unsafe Conditions Need To Be Fixed

The unsafe conditions that led to your slip and fall accident may still be endangering other people. Legal action may cause those issues to be rectified or fixed sooner rather than later, which could save other people from suffering your same fate.

Those Responsible Need to Be Held Accountable

When you enter a Florida business, you are entitled to a reasonable expectation of safety. You should not have to jump over broken sidewalks, duck under crumbling doorways, or navigate around blocked walkways.

While you may think that the unsafe conditions that led to your slip and fall accident were themselves accidental, that’s up to the courts to decide. Florida law says several factors open a property owner to being held liable for accidents on their premises.

According to Florida law, the dangerous or unsafe conditions must have existed for such a length of time that the property owner should have reasonably known about the issue, that the condition was a regular occurrence and therefore foreseeable, or that the property owner did not act with the duty of care owed to visitors.

Have you suffered a slip and fall accident?

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you deserve compensation for the pain and anguish you’ve suffered due to a property owner’s negligence. Let us help you.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free slip and fall case consultation.

How do you prove your case in a premises liability lawsuit?

premises liability lawsuitFlorida premises liability law states that business or landowners owe visitors and employees a “common-law duty of care.” This means owners must exercise a reasonable duty of care when it comes to keeping their property free of hazards and potential dangers. 

If you are in a Florida slip and fall accident or trip over loose carpeting and injure yourself, you may be entitled to compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. Here is what you have to prove your case in a premises liability lawsuit.

 

Knowledge of Dangerous Condition

One of the key pieces of evidence in a premises liability lawsuit is knowledge. You must prove that the owner knew about the dangerous condition that caused your injury and that they did nothing to remedy the condition. 

Here are several factors that help to prove the owner knew about the dangerous condition.

 

How long was the condition present?

Florida law states that there is “such a length of time” after which business or property owners should reasonably know about a hazard or condition. Though the statute’s language doesn’t provide a concrete timeframe, it does provide a lens through which to look at the dangerous condition. 

This requirement would apply if the hazard or dangerous condition was present long enough that the business should have reasonably known about it or discovered the issue while caring for the business. 

It would likely not apply if you visited a business right as a terrible windstorm ripped through the area and you tripped on storm debris on the business’ walkway. A Florida premises liability lawyer will know whether your case meets this requirement and how to gather relevant evidence.

In addition to hazards that are present for “such a length of time,” property owners also should know about hazards that regularly occur on their property. Florida law says hazards that occur with regularity are considered foreseeable. 

 

Lack of Hazard Handling and Mitigation

If the property owner knows about the dangerous condition or hazard, then they are required to correct, fix, or mitigate the issue. 

How to handle hazards vary. A grocery store can put out “Caution: Wet Floor” signs, zoos may rope off visitor access to animal exhibits, and a local landscaping store may have hourly checks to make sure walkways aren’t blocked and no dangerous equipment is exposed.

Though the specifics of the mitigation techniques may change, the requirement still applies.

 

Injury Directed Caused by Hazard

When filing a premises liability claim, you must provide evidence that the premises hazard directly caused your injury. This can be as simple as showing that the business’ loose carpeting tripped you, but lawsuits aren’t known for being or staying simple. 

A Florida premises liability lawyer has access to the necessary investigative and medical resources to ensure that the timeline and cause of your injury are concise and easily understandable.

 

Bonus Variable: Intention

In rare cases, the business or property owner’s intentions may play a role in a premises liability lawsuit. 

Florida law states that proving intent in a premises liability case requires providing “clear and convincing evidence” that the property owner is guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.

“Intention misconduct” means that the property owner, with full knowledge of the “wrongfulness” of their actions, purposely created or left dangerous conditions untreated. “Gross negligence” means that the property owner acted without regard to the life or safety of the injured party.

Proving such intent opens you up to receiving punitive damages. It also complicates your lawsuit. You must work with an experienced Florida premises liability lawyer who will guide you through the process.

 

Think you have a premises liability lawsuit? 

Contact a Florida premises liability lawyer today

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property or at a business, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering and the property owner’s negligence. In Florida, you have up to four years to file a premises liability lawsuit, but it’s best to file as soon as possible so potent evidence and testimony aren’t diluted by time.

We understand that you may be focused on healing and getting your feet back underneath you. That’s why we’d like to help. Let an experienced Florida premises liability lawyer fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free premises liability case evaluation.

 

4 Ways Businesses Should Prioritize Your Safety

When you enter a Florida business, you can usually assume that you are reasonably safe from harm or injury. However, dangers still lurk in the most mundane spaces. Slips, trips, and falls are the most common causes of injuries at businesses.

Here are four ways Florida business should ensure your slips trips and falls safety.

Business Should Ensure Walkways Are Clear of Debris

You shouldn’t have to avoid puddles or broken sidewalks to navigate Florida businesses. In addition to the business itself, entry points to and from the business, including parking structures, also should be accessible and free of debris.

If you slip and trip on a “transitory foreign substance” at Florida business, state law says that you must prove the business should have known about the issue and taken action to fix it. A transitory foreign substance is any object, solid or liquid, that is in a place it shouldn’t be. This could range from construction debris to liquid leaking out of a fridge.

Though slips, trips, and falls may not sound especially dangerous, they can cause traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries.

Business Should Have Adequate Lighting and Security

Low lighting makes it difficult to navigate businesses that may have uneven terrain, including steps or loose carpeting. A lack of adequate lighting doesn’t help to protect your slips, trips, and falls safety and may also create opportunities for visitors to become victims of criminal behavior.

Certain businesses in Florida also are subject to security requirements such as silent alarms or security cameras.

Staircases Should Have Handrails

Businesses should outfit staircases with hand or guardrails. Any other structures, such as escalators, that create a danger of falling also should offer visitors a way to steady themselves as they traverse potentially uneven ground.

Elevators Should Be Regularly Maintained

Poorly-maintained elevators expose visitors to the risk of severe injury or death. Businesses should ensure their elevators are working and in good condition out of a reasonable duty of care for visitor safety.

If an elevator is out of service, Florida businesses should provide signs alerting you to the issue and directing you to a staircase or another elevator.

What if a business endangers your slip, trip, and fall safety?

Business and property owners are required to take action and warn you of potential dangers and then correct those dangers if possible.

You’ve probably seen signs warning about wet floors at your local Publix, which shows the business owners and workers took care to alert you to the potential danger and ensured your slips, trips, and falls, safety. Businesses also may offer alternative routes for pathways that feature substandard conditions.

Businesses also must stay up to date on requirements for a variety of business and building standards, including construction, electrical, and plumbing. If there are hanging wires or other obvious structure issues, the business may not be up to state building codes, which would open it up to further liability.

If a business’s negligence led you to slip, trip, or fall, you may be able to sue for compensation to cover medical bills and other costs.

Have you suffered an injury at a Florida business?

Florida businesses are subject to premises liability, which means they can be held responsible for any injuries you suffer while visiting their establishment. Premises liability law says that business and property owners owe you a “common-law duty of care,” which means they must take reasonable measures to ensure your safety.

Premises liability laws are complex, require specific evidence, and have few exceptions. A Florida premises liability attorney will know your options and how best to handle your case.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today for a free case evaluation.

 

Puddles and Rain: Make Them Go Away or Pay The Price

premises liability slip and fallAs one of the wettest states in the nation, Floridians are used to spontaneous rain and severe thunderstorms. It’s not uncommon to see puddles everywhere you go. While puddles may be fun to splash around in, they can turn into a premises liability nightmare for property owners.

Puddles can cost property owners and pedestrians alike a great deal. Learn more about premises liability, slip and fall accidents, and what to do if you find yourself on either end of this scenario.

 

What injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents?

Slip and fall accidents can cause more severe injuries than you might think. Premises liability slip and fall claims have been filed due to injuries such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken arms and legs
  • Torn ligaments
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Back pain
  • Hip fractures
  • Skull fractures 

All of these injuries could happen because of one puddle. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for roughly eight million hospital emergency room visits every year and approximately one million of these were caused by slip and falls

Property owners would do well to take care of any puddles so they can avoid a potential premises liability lawsuit over a slip and fall accident. 

 

Common Locations for Slip and Fall Accidents

Have you slipped and fell on a puddle and injured yourself? If so, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek compensation for your damages. 

Many premises liability claims stem from slip and fall accidents caused by unattended puddles in the following places:

  • Grocery stores
  • Sidewalks
  • Parking lots
  • Theaters
  • Construction sites
  • Parks
  • Business offices
  • Private residences

When it rains, puddles can easily accumulate outside of an entrance, or even inside when water gets tracked in with foot traffic. Property owners, managers, and agents have a responsibility to take care of standing water as soon as they can to protect others from sustaining an otherwise preventable injury. 

The following questions are used to determine liability in a premises liability slip and fall lawsuit:

  • Did the property owner know about the puddle and fail to correct it?
  • Should the property owner have known about the puddle and take the steps of a “reasonable person” to prevent injuries from occurring? 
  • Did the property owner create a dangerous condition that led to the circumstances that caused the accident?

If any of the above is true, the property owner could be found liable for the injuries sustained in the slip and fall accident.

 

Did you slip on a puddle? Contact an experienced Florida premises liability lawyer today. 

If you sustained injuries from a slip and fall accident caused by a puddle or other unsafe conditions, you may have the right to seek compensation for your damages. Our experienced Florida premises liability lawyers can fight for your rights as a victim and help you claim the compensation you deserve.

Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath at (561) 655-1990 today to schedule your risk-free case evaluation. We’ll learn more about your accident, answer any questions you may have, and inform you of your legal rights and possible next steps. We look forward to assisting you.  

 

What Property Owners should know about Premise Liability Law

Premise Liability Law

A commonplace action that most property owners take with built in liability potential is making their premises easily accessible to others. Few people are aware that there are judicial guidelines that determine a property owner’s liability if someone sustains an injury while on their property.  The legal terminology for property owner’s responsibility for premises safety is “Premises liability law” which is, in essence, a sub-category of personal injury law. Read more