Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Attorney

Fort Lauderdale, with its stunning beaches, bustling shopping centers, and exciting recreational areas, is a jewel of South Florida. Residents and visitors flock to popular spots every day for a fun outing. But what happens when an unexpected slip or trip turns a fun day into a painful mishap? Such accidents can be unfortunate and financially draining due to medical bills and lost wages. That’s where a Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyer comes into the picture, helping you navigate the complexities of seeking compensation.

Imagine this: You’re window-shopping along the vibrant Las Olas Boulevard, captivated by the colorful storefronts and local artwork. But a neglected sidewalk crack catches your heel, and before you know it, you’re on the ground, nursing a painful injury. Or perhaps you’re at Harbor Shops, balancing bags of fresh finds when a wet floor without warning signs results in a sudden fall. Similarly, picture a day planned with family fun at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center. Yet, because of poor maintenance, a loose tile in the pool area becomes the cause of a preventable accident.

It’s essential to recognize that property owners and managers have a duty to maintain their premises safely for visitors. If they neglect this responsibility and you get injured as a result, you have rights. Enlisting the expertise of a premises liability attorney in Fort Lauderdale can be your first step toward justice, ensuring that those at fault get held accountable for their negligence.

Proving Negligence in Fort Lauderdale Premises Liability Cases

Accidents can happen when you least expect them. You might have a premises liability case when they occur due to another party’s negligence, especially on someone else’s property. However, not every accident on someone else’s property automatically means you can file a lawsuit. Proving negligence is crucial. Below, our Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers look at the essential elements you must establish to prove a premises liability claim under Florida law successfully:

Duty of Care

Initially, you must establish that the property owner or manager had a duty of care toward the injured individual. This duty varies depending on the relationship between the injured party and the premises owner. For instance, a store owner has a higher duty of care toward customers than toward trespassers.

Breach of Duty

Once it’s clear that a duty of care existed, you must prove there was a breach of this duty. This could be due to inadequate maintenance, failure to repair potential hazards, or not providing adequate warnings about dangers present on the property.

Causation

Proving causation means linking the breach of duty directly to the injuries sustained. In other words, the harm you suffered must be a direct consequence of the property owner’s negligence.

Actual Damages

Lastly, you or your Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorney must demonstrate that you sustained actual damages from the accident. This can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses directly related to the injury. It’s worth noting that Florida follows a comparative negligence rule. This means that if the court finds you to be partially at fault for your damages, they will reduce your potential compensation by your percentage of fault.

Filing a premises liability claim in Fort Lauderdale can be challenging, given the complexities involved. It often requires gathering substantial evidence, expert testimonies, and intricate legal knowledge. Engaging a premises liability lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can be invaluable in such situations, ensuring they protect your rights and you have the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?

In an accident or injury on a property, the question of who bears responsibility can often be more intricate than it first appears. Liability lines can get tangled, especially when multiple parties are involved in the property’s ownership, operation, or maintenance. Working with an experienced premises liability lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who knows who to hold accountable in a premises liability lawsuit is crucial to ensure rightful compensation for victims.

  • Government entities. If an accident happens on public property, like a government building or public park, you may be able to hold the respective government entity liable. However, suing a government entity has unique challenges and requirements.
  • Maintenance companies. Property owners or tenants sometimes contract third-party companies to handle specific aspects of property maintenance. If an injury occurs due to negligence in their duties — a faulty repair job or inadequate cleanup — the injured party can hold these third-party entities liable. The nature and terms of their contractual obligations can play a crucial role in determining their level of liability.
  • Property management firms. Larger properties, like apartment complexes or commercial buildings, often have property management firms overseeing their daily operations and maintenance. If an accident occurs due to negligence, they can get pulled into a premises liability lawsuit.
  • Property owners. At the most basic level, property owners have an inherent responsibility to ensure the safety of their premises. Whether it’s a residential property, commercial establishment, or public space, the owner must usually prevent foreseeable harm by maintaining the property and addressing hazardous conditions.
  • Tenants or lessees. In some situations, the responsibility of maintaining a property might fall upon a tenant or lessee, especially if you outlined such agreements in the lease terms. For example, a store renting a space in a mall may be liable for any accidents within its premises, even though they don’t own the mall itself.

Understanding "Duty of Care" in Florida

As Fort Lauderdale premises liability attorneys we are often asked about “duty of care”. In Florida’s legal arena, this concept plays a pivotal role in premises liability cases. At its essence, the duty of care refers to the obligation a property owner or occupier has to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition and to warn visitors of any existing hazards they might not be aware of. However, the extent of this duty often hinges on the visitor’s status. Florida law categorizes visitors into three distinct groups, each with specific rights and associated duties of care:

Invitees

This category encompasses individuals who get invited onto the property for a business-related purpose or for public use. Examples include customers at a store or guests at a public event in a convention center. The property owner or occupier has the highest duty of care for invitees. They must maintain the property safely, actively inspect for any dangers, and either repair hazards or adequately warn visitors about them.

Licensees

Licensees visit a property for a non-business-related purpose, such as social guests. While property owners still have a duty of care toward licensees, it is slightly less stringent than for invitees. Owners must ensure that there aren’t any known hazards that could harm the licensee. If such dangers exist, they must fix or warn the licensee adequately. However, the owner isn’t generally obligated to inspect for unknown hazards for licensees.

Trespassers

The third category consists of trespassers — individuals who enter a property without any right, invitation, or lawful purpose. For trespassers, the duty of care is minimal. Property owners must refrain from causing willful or wanton harm. In other words, you can’t set traps or intentionally harm a trespasser. However, if a trespasser sustains injuries due to a general hazard on the property, the court will typically not hold the owner liable. One notable exception is the attractive nuisance doctrine, where the courts could find an owner responsible if children trespass because of an object or condition on the property that is alluring to them (e.g., an unsecured swimming pool).

Working with a Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyer who understands “duty of care” in Florida is crucial when dealing with premises liability cases. The visitor’s classification significantly influences the property owner’s obligations and, consequently, the potential outcomes of any related lawsuits. Suppose you have sustained injuries on another’s property. In that case, you must recognize which visitor category you fall into, as this will be a significant aspect of any legal action you pursue.

Common Types of Premises Liability Claims

Ensuring the safety of visitors on a property is a responsibility every property owner should uphold. Our dedicated premises liability attorneys in Fort Lauderdale handle various types of cases, each with unique circumstances and legal nuances. Below is a breakdown of some specific types of common premises liability claims:

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can occur in a multitude of settings. Whether shopping at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, leisurely swimming at the Carter Park Pool, or visiting a local business downtown, the risk is ever-present. Broward County property owners may get held liable when they fail to address hazards that lead to such accidents. Being familiar with Florida Statutes 768-0755 is essential, which provides specific guidance on situations where property owners might be deemed responsible.

Accidents on Elevators and Escalators

Elevator and escalator accidents might seem rare, but they can result in severe injuries when they occur. As the CDC points out, mechanical malfunctions, poor maintenance, or inadequate safety precautions can all contribute to such mishaps.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Fort Lauderdale is dotted with public swimming pools, and while they offer a respite from the heat, they also present risks. Unfortunately, slips and falls, drowning, and other pool-related accidents are not uncommon. Florida was the highest state in the nation for unintentional drowning numbers of children ages 1 to 4 from 2018 to 2020, with 6.24 drownings per every 100,000 people. Florida ranked third in the country for accidental drowning deaths in children 0 to 17 years old.

Dog Bites

A dog bite can be a traumatic event; in many cases, owner negligence plays a significant role. The repercussions can be severe, whether it’s inadequate training, failure to leash, or neglect in supervising their pet. The Florida Health and USPS websites show 799 dog bites in Florida from January 2009 to December. Additionally, they found that an average of two Floridians die each year from dog bites and over 600 people get hospitalized from dog attacks yearly.

Negligent or Inadequate Security

Places like nightclubs, bars, gas stations, and convenience stores should provide a sense of security to their patrons. However, lapses in safety measures or inadequate security protocols can lead to incidents that could have been prevented.

Theme Park and Amusement Park Accidents

While theme parks in Fort Lauderdale, like the Xtreme Action Park, Uncle Bernie’s Amusement Park, and Flippo’s Fort Lauderdale, promise a day of fun, accidents can and do occur. Rides can malfunction, the park can overlook safety protocols, or maintenance might be subpar. When visiting these places, being aware of potential risks is crucial.

Injuries on Staircases or Stairways

Staircases and stairways can be hazardous when not adequately maintained or designed. Factors to consider in staircase injuries include poor lighting, lack of handrails, uneven steps, or slippery surfaces. These factors can contribute to accidents, leading to potential legal action if someone gets hurt on someone else’s property.

Our attorneys can take on all these premises liability cases, ensuring victims get the justice and compensation they deserve. If you or someone you know has faced such incidents, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nestled along the southeastern coast of Florida, Fort Lauderdale boasts a unique blend of scenic beauty, cultural depth, and vibrant life. Revered for its intricate network of canals, it has aptly earned the moniker “Venice of America.” Yet, its allure extends beyond its waterways. From sun-kissed beaches to bustling shopping districts and cultural hubs, there’s an activity for every traveler and resident.

For those looking to immerse themselves in Fort Lauderdale’s rich history and culture, the city offers a wealth of attractions and events. Art enthusiasts can immerse themselves in exhibits hosted by local galleries, while nature lovers can explore serene parks and recreational areas. If you’re inclined toward shopping or looking for a great place to eat, the city won’t disappoint. Local hubs like Las Olas Boulevard and Harbor Shops teem with trendy boutiques, restaurants, and cafes that capture the essence of Floridian flavor.

In its vibrancy, Fort Lauderdale remains deeply committed to the well-being of its community. For individuals who have unfortunately sustained injuries, the city is home to top-tier medical facilities prepared to offer specialized care. Kindred Hospital South Florida and Broward Health Imperial Point are beacons of advanced healthcare, ensuring patients receive the best treatment possible. For those on the path to recovery, the Physical Therapy Group of Florida offers comprehensive rehabilitation services to restore strength and mobility.

Experienced Premises Liability Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale

At Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, our Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyer’s dedication to justice and commitment to our clients runs deep. With years of legal expertise, we’ve handled various premises liability claims in the city. Our proven track record speaks to our meticulous approach, relentless pursuit of justice, and unwavering advocacy for those we represent. When you choose Schilling & Silvers Property and Accident Attorneys, you’re not just getting a law firm; you’re gaining seasoned attorneys who understand the intricacies of premises liability and are determined to champion your cause. Trust in our experience, and let us guide you through your legal journey.