Liability in Tampa premises liability cases is determined by who can prove what caused the accident. In Florida, if you can prove that the person who owned or controlled the premises was negligent in the maintenance of those premises and that negligence caused the injury, then you could prove that they are liable for that injury. Liability can be complicated, and working with a skilled premises liability attorney is essential to help streamline the process and ensure liability is sufficiently established.
Role of a Visitor
When determining liability in a Tampa premises liability case, there will be certain considerations taken such as the duty owed to the individual, which depends on whether they are an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. If an individual is a public invitee, they are invited to enter or remain on the premises as a member of the public for public purpose. If the individual is a business invitee, they are invited on the premises for a business dealing with the owner or controller of the premises. The duty to these individuals is to correct or warn of any dangers that the owner or person in control either knows about or should know about by use of reasonable care, and which the individual cannot know about by the use of reasonable care. The owner or person in control has to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, including protection from foreseeable third-party crimes in Florida.
An uninvited licensee is somebody who comes on the property for their own convenience or gain without an invitation. A trespasser is an individual that comes on the premises without permission. In these two situations, the duty owed to these individuals is to refrain from willful or wanton injury, e.g., no booby traps or anything like that. The owner or controller of the premises does not have the same duty as they would to an invitee. A lesser duty is required regarding a trespasser or someone on the premises without permission or without invitation. They are only required to do nothing to harm them.
In contrast, the owner or controller of the premises has a duty to warn invitees of any dangers, to prevent bad things from happening to them, and to maintain the premises in a safe condition.
There is contributory negligence decided by a percentage when determining liability in a premises liability case in Tampa. As an example, if there is water on the ground and somebody slips on the water, the jury will have to decide whether or not the injured person should have seen the water and stepped over it, e.g., the person was 25% at fault because they should have seen the water and the store was 75% at fault because it should have fixed the leaky air conditioning or it should have cleaned the puddle off the floor. The jury can assign percentages of negligence depending on what they see and what is proven to them regarding who should have prevented this injury from occurring.
If there is something on the ground that should not be there, and a person tripped or slipped on it and was injured, that person probably has a good premises liability case. If the person was doing nothing negligently and was injured at a place of business or somebody’s house, and they realize that if the owner would have done something differently or kept the premises in a safe condition that they would not have gotten hurt, then they have a premises liability case.
Working with an Attorney
An attorney can prove very helpful when determining liability in a Tampa premises liability case. They can gather all the insurance information from the residence or commercial property to see who is in control of it or who owns it, do an investigation as to what caused the fall, obtain video surveillance and witnesses statements, obtain medical records, and keep an ongoing tally of medical costs for their client. The attorney will analyze all of these factors and send a demand letter to the property owner in an attempt to settle the case. If the property owner is unwilling to settle out of court, the attorney will file a lawsuit based on the facts compiled from his investigation, thus protecting the rights of the injured party.