Property owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors. When they fail to do so, and someone gets hurt, the victim can pursue legal action. This is known as a premises liability lawsuit. There are various types of damages victims can seek.
But holding the owner liable isn’t easy. You need a trusted Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorney to advocate for you. Klotzman Property Damage Law is here to stand up for your rights.
The Basics of Premises Liability
Owning property comes with a number of responsibilities. One of those is to keep the property safe for people who visit it. When a residential or commercial owner neglects this duty, people can be hurt. For instance, when visiting a Fort Lauderdale business, you could be injured by:
- Wet, icy, or slick surfaces
- Poor lighting
- Cracks in the pavement or sidewalk outside the business
- Uneven flooring
- Unsafe stairways
- Structural failure of the building
- Negligent security (resulting in a crime)
- Unguarded swimming pools
- Environmental hazards
- Dangerous pets or animals
It’s not possible to completely eliminate the possibility of being hurt on someone’s property. But the law is concerned with owners that allow unreasonable hazards to persist. Premises liability exists to hold those owners legally liable to the accident victim.
What Must Be Proven in a Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Lawsuit?
An accident victim must show the following to prevail in a premises liability claim.
The Property Owner Owed You a Duty of Care
The owner doesn’t owe everyone a duty to keep the premises safe. Whether the owner does depends on which category of visitor you are. People who come onto someone’s property are generally classified as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
An invitee is someone specifically invited (expressed or implied) to be on the property. They are there for a legitimate business purpose. Customers are usually considered invitees. The owner must ensure the property is free from dangers that are known or should reasonably be known. This duty includes inspecting the property to uncover and repair hidden defects.
A licensee visits a property for his or her own purposes. An example might be a salesman at a business or a social guest at a residence. The owner must only warn of any known dangers that could hurt the licensee.
A trespasser has the lowest level of legal protection. But even in the case of someone trespassing, the owner owes some duty. That may include posting a “no trespass” sign or a “danger” sign near a hazard. The owner also cannot intentionally cause harm to the trespasser.
Extra duties are owed to trespassing children, for instance, by keeping swimming pools fenced in.
The Property Owner Breached the Duty of Care
There are various ways to prove this, depending on whether the victim is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. For instance, if a company failed to conduct a routine property inspection, a hazard may go unnoticed. But that doesn’t mean the business can claim ignorance if an invitee gets hurt.
That may not apply in the case of a licensee or trespasser. Your Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorney can explain how the owner may have breached the duty of care.
The Breach Caused Injury to the Victim
The victim must establish a link between the property hazard and his or her injuries. Let’s say you are on the sidewalk, approaching a crack that the adjacent property owner should have fixed. Before you reach it, a person riding a bike on the sidewalk strikes and injures you. Even though the defect’s existence could be a breach of the owner’s duty, it didn’t cause you injury.
The Injury Led to Damages
Lastly, your Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyer will work to prove your damages. These could be such items as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Your attorney may rely on expert witness testimony to help seek future damages, such as lost earning capacity. The objective is to compensate you for not just past damages but those you may also later incur.
Count On Klotzman Property Damage Law
If a property owner’s negligence led to your injuries, it’s time to retain dedicated legal counsel. Accident victims know they can trust the Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorneys of Klotzman Property Damage Law. Give us a call today so we can review your case and explain your legal options.