Public property is owned by the government, and it can be difficult to litigate cases against the government. If there is a break in the sidewalk, for instance, and a person trips over it, that is not necessarily the same level of negligence as if a person is in a public place and there is a hole in the ground. There is more red tape to cut through and things take longer to get fixed allowing the governmental entity more time to be considered reasonable for them to fix any hazards. There also is a $250,000 statutory cap on what a person can collect on public property. That cap does not exist when a person is injured on private property.
There are many important considerations to take when dealing with public property, and the help of a skilled premises liability lawyer can be essential. A Tampa public property premises liability can help their client pursue compensation for their damages.
Duty of Care
Most governmental agencies, municipalities, cities and counties, do not settle public property liability cases. They will take them to court and prove their case, so it can be extremely difficult in Tampa to fight the government in premises liability cases.
That being said, a public invitee is someone who is invited to enter and remain on the premises, as a member of the public, for the purpose in which the land is held open to the public. An example would be a park where there may be a person running or jogging or walking their dog.
The duty owed to the person in a Tampa public property premises liability case as a public invitee by the government is to correct or warn of any dangers that are known or should be known about the property. They still have the same duty to create safe conditions on the public property not to cause injuries to public invitees that are on the property.
Filing a Claim
When filing a public property premises liability claim in Tampa, an injured person would send a notification to the governmental agency that they believe is in control of the property. Some governmental agencies have different procedures and policies in place, but will work with the injured person filing the claim with the right public governmental agency.
These claims have the same negligence standard as most other premises liability claims. If it is a governmental agency that controls the property, it has a duty to keep the conditions safe. If it breaches that duty by not maintaining the property in a safe manner and that breach causes an injury to someone, then that is the same premises liability case that a person would have on private property.
Determining Liability Laws
The State Legislature makes the public property premises liability laws in Tampa. The judge or the jury decides the cases. Different jurisdictional bodies that can be sued in public premises liability cases. An injured person can sue the State of Florida, the county, the city, the municipality, or a homeowner’s association if the injury occurs in a private neighborhood. It depends on where that injury occurs. The injured person, through an experienced attorney, will decide the right jurisdictional body to sue.
The Legislature revisits liability laws all the time and periodically updates them. Subjects are divided into Committees who meet a couple of times every year to review the laws. As an example, the Committee reviewing traffic laws that are in place will bring to the Legislature any changes that it believes need to be made. This does not mean the recommended changes will be made, but the laws are constantly being reviewed and updated to make sure that they are proper. A Tampa public property premises liability lawyer is essential to someone after an accident to stay updated on the regulations that matter in their case.
It is more difficult to litigate against a public entity as opposed to a private entity. One reason is the insurance companies are more likely to settle than the government is, and the statutory cap on damages with sovereign immunity is $250,000. Sovereign immunity is paramount. There are some things a person just cannot sue the government for. The government is immune to being sued for certain things. For instance, some T-Groins are put out at the beach because there is a problem in the water with the current. The government feels it is necessary for the safety of the residents to put these T-Groins in the water that affect the waves and the current.
If the government feels it is necessary for safety to put those T-Groins in, but then somebody gets injured on them, that person cannot sue the government due to the fact the T-Groins were there to fix a safety hazard.
If the government entity is redoing a street and it tears up the road, someone runs into that construction and gets injured, the injured person cannot sue the government for that because it is reconstructing the street for the betterment of the public. There are sovereign immunity issues that make it more difficult to sue the government also.
Sovereign immunity can prevent them from getting certain kinds of damages depending on what the actions of the government are. If an injured person does have a good public property premises liability case in Tampa, that injured person can collect past medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, and all of the same damages that a person could recover in a private property premises liability claim.