Whether it’s a puddle of spilled milk in a grocery story or a pothole in a parking lot, a property owner in Fort Lauderdale can’t anticipate every hazard that develops on their premises. However, it is their duty to warn their guests and fix these hazards as quickly as possible to prevent the risk of injury or harm.
While most property owners take this responsibility seriously, others let necessary repairs and maintenance slide by. This puts all those who visit their business or home at risk.
If you were hurt on another’s premises in Fort Lauderdale due to their failure to make timely repairs, section off hazardous areas, or place proper signage around a spill, you may be entitled to compensation. Our slip and fall attorneys will fight to hold negligent property owners liable for the cost of your injuries and more.
Every Property Owner in Fort Lauderdale Has a Responsibility to Protect Their Guests
Property owners in Fort Lauderdale — and in the state of Florida in general — have a duty to those who visit their property. However, their responsibilities and liability depend greatly on the relationship between the premises owner and the visitor.
Invitees – The majority of slip and fall cases involve invitees. An invitee is a person freely invited onto the premises by the occupier, either for the occupier’s own purposes or as part of a general invitation to the public at large. A good example is a customer visiting a grocery store. In this case, the occupier has a responsibility not only to remedy or warn of known hazards on the property, but also to inspect at reasonable intervals to uncover hazards that may have developed.
Licensees and trespassers – A licensee is someone who is not invited on to the occupier’s property and is there solely for their own purposes, such as a delivery person or Girl Scout. A trespasser is someone who unlawfully enters another’s property. In either case, the occupier has only a very limited duty to refrain from recklessly exposing these visitors to danger.
Florida’s “Attractive Nuisance Doctrine”
Certain states, including Florida, have an “attractive nuisance doctrine” to help protect children who are injured on another person’s property, even while trespassing. Under this law, if a property owner fails to lock their property or otherwise alleviate a hazard that may attract the attention of a child, such as an open pool or discarded furniture, they may be liable if a trespassing child is hurt. Specifically, Florida’s “Attractive Nuisance Doctrine” states:
- The property owner knew, or should have known, that children were likely to be present near the property;
- The property owner knew or should have known that there was a condition on the property that could cause harm to those children (such as an unlocked pool);
- The cost or burden of alleviating that danger is slight compared to the potential harm (such as installing a fence); and
- The occupier fails to take reasonable steps to alleviate that danger and a child is injured as a result.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
The most common slip and fall cases our attorneys handle involve hazards such as:
- Inadequate signage warning of a hazardous area on the property;
- Unmarked wet or slippery floors;
- Icy or snowy surfaces;
- Crumbling or improperly maintained sidewalks;
- A sudden dip or rise in floor level;
- Torn or raised carpeting;
- Defective or unsafe balconies or terraces;
- Items left on the ground level;
- Unsafe staircases; and
- Insufficiently lit walkways and staircases.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
Our slip and fall attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience handling premises liability cases. Although past success cannot guarantee future outcomes, our attorneys have previously recovered noticeable damages like an $870,000 verdict for a man who severely injured his back after slipping in a convenience store. As your attorney works to bolster your slip and fall case, he or she may take the following steps:
- Determine how, when, and why you were on the premises in question;
- Collect photographs, police reports, and other evidence from the scene of the accident;
- Determine whether any former similar complaints have been filed against the owner of the premises;
- Consult with medical experts about the nature and extent of your injuries;
- Interview eye-witnesses, if available; and
- Determine what steps, if any, were taken by the owner to decrease the likelihood of an accident happening.
If you or a loved one were hurt on another’s property due to the owner’s negligence, we may be able to help. Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form to learn how our attorneys may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.