Florida 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.