Gainesville Florida Premises Liability Lawyer
Serving Gainesville, Lake City, Live Oak & all of North Florida
The Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC in Gainesville, Florida offers experienced and knowledgeable legal guidance with premises liability cases.
The Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC understands the complex nature of cases involving premises liability. Although most cases involving premises liability involve slip and fall issues, there are many other instances where a property owner may be held liable for injuries sustained on their property.
Who is at Fault?
Premises liability cases in Florida involve claims against homeowners or business owners as a result of injuries sustained on their property. Such claims may also extend to people or companies that are renting or leasing a property or to people on the property providing services, such as maintenance or security companies.
People or companies that manage properties, such as condominiums, apartment complexes/buildings, shopping malls, water parks or theme parks may be at fault in premises liability claims. Also, businesses whose customers frequent their establishments, such as hair salons, health clubs, restaurants and bars and other types of service providers may also be liable in a premises liability case.
One of the main issues involved in a premises liability case is determining the responsible party. Oftentimes, more than one company or individual is responsible.
Premises Liability Lawsuits
To win a premises liability lawsuit, you must prove that you were injured on someone else’s property as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you can prove that, then the negligent party would be liable for the damages associated with your injury injury, including medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering.
In Florida, the injured party must prove the following to win a premises liability lawsuit.
- The person or company you are suing was responsible for the property.
- The person or company that you are suing had knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused your injury, or they should have had knowledge of it.
- The person or company that you are suing failed to repair the dangerous condition and/or they did not properly provide warning of the dangerous condition.
- You sustained physical injuries as a result of the negligence of the persons or entities you are suing.
One of the most decisive factors in a premises liability case is that if the person or company you are suing had no knowledge of the dangerous condition which caused your injures and they also had no reason to know about it, you probably don’t have a case. It is also important to remember that if your own negligence or carelessness contributed to your injuries, the value of your case could be decreased as well.
Examples of Premises Liability
The Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC has handled a wide variety of premises liability cases. Premises liability cases can result from negligent failure to maintain virtually any aspect of the property, both outside and inside.
Many types of negligence can lead to a premises liability case. Some examples include:
- Poorly lit stairways or entrance areas.
- Jagged or deteriorating walkways.
- Faulty or incorrectly installed handrails.
- Broken or improperly installed floors or stairs.
- Damaged driveways.
- Trash or other dangers obstructing entrances, hallways or walkways.
- Vicious dogs.
What is Required of the Property Owner?
The level care required by the property owner in a premises liability case depends on the status of the person making the claim. This “status” generally relates to the reasons why you are on the property. Your reasons for being on the property will define the level of care the property owner owes you. There are three levels of status for a property visitor:
- Business invitees
In Florida, each of these levels requires a different level of care by the property owner.
In Florida, business invitees are due the highest level of care. A business invitee is any person who comes onto a property with the intention of conducting business. Business invitees include repairmen or other service providers who may perform work in someone’s home. They can also be store customers, patrons at a movie theater or entertainment event, diners in a restaurant or package delivery people.
Property owners owe the highest level of care to business invitees. They must have knowledge of what’s happening on their property and either repair anything that is unsafe and/or inform their business invitees of the danger. Property owners must also conduct maintenance, as in cleaning up liquids or debris from the floor, inspecting and repairing stairs and entrances and maintaining any equipment that business invitees may come in contact with.
The second highest level of care is owed to licensees. A licensee is someone who comes onto a property as a social guest, such as friends, family members or members of a social organization or club. They may be there for a party, club meeting, cookout or dinner.
You don’t need to be invited onto the property to be a licensee. People who may enter a property without warning such as neighbors, friends, and family members are considered licensees.
A responsible party has a duty to maintain their property in a safe manner and have knowledge of needed repairs or dangers on the property. They also must inform licensees of dangers on the property. The standard of care is lower in the sense that property owners are not required to routinely inspect the property to search for hidden or unobvious dangers.
Trespassers require the lowest level of care. If a property owner knows or should know that there are trespassers on the property, the property owner is required to repair or warn the trespasser of any dangers on the property that are not open and obvious. If the property owner knows that children are likely to trespass on the property, they may have to go to greater lengths to ensure that the property is safe, as it is foreseeable that children may be attracted to dangerous activities on the property.
Of course, even if the property owner is upset about trespassers on the property, the owner may not intentionally injure the trespasser. Such action would certainly open the property owner to liability for injuries incurred along with possible criminal liability.
Experienced and Skilled Gainesville Florida Premises Liability Lawyer
If you want a Gainesville, Florida attorney who is skilled and experienced in premises liability claims, contact the Law Office of Christopher J. Annis in Gainesville, Florida at 352-264-1910 or contact us online. We will then set up a free consultation with Mr. Annis to discuss your case in person.
If you have a solid premises liability case, Mr. Annis will determine which parties may be negligent and formulate a strategy to deal with their insurance companies. We will always treat you in a professional and courteous manner. We will keep you informed as to what is going on with your case and work with you to ensure that you receive a positive result. If you have a case involving injuries sustained on another’s property, you can trust the Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC to get you fair and just results.