When you patronize a business in Florida, you expect that the property will be safe for you. Businesses have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a manner that keeps their customers free of hazards and safe from injury or harm.
Nonetheless, thousands of people are injured every year while working at or patronizing Florida businesses. When employees are injured, they have the option to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Customers, on the other hand, have the option to file a personal injury claim against the business and its insurers. If successful, injured patrons can recover compensation that can be used to cover medical expenses and lost wages, and compensate for pain and suffering.
For more than 20 years, I’ve been helping clients pursue premises liability claims against businesses that failed to keep their patrons safe from harm. At Glober Law Firm, I represent clients throughout the State of Florida, including Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville. So if you or someone you know has been injured while on property owned by a business in Florida, reach out to my firm today to schedule a free case consultation.
How Premises Liability Works in Florida
Premises liability laws are designed to hold business owners accountable when an individual is injured or harmed while on their property. Businesses owe a duty of care to their customers to properly inspect and maintain their property to reduce risk and eliminate any foreseeable danger. For example, a business could be found liable for any injuries sustained in the following circumstances:
- A customer in a convenience store slips on a wet substance on the floor and suffers injuries requiring medical attention. The substance had been there long enough for employees to walk by it and they failed to either place cones or warning signs around the hazard or to clean up the substance in an effort to make the walkway safe.
- A customer in a big box store walks to the end of an aisle, turns right, and trips over an empty end cap at the end of a shelving unit. The customer was not looking down at their feet and did not notice the end cap, and without proper signage to notify the customer of the hazard, the customer trips and injures an ankle.
Business Liability Laws
Under Florida law, businesses must have had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition or hazard and an opportunity to have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge can be shown if it can be proven that the dangerous condition had existed long enough that, with ordinary care, it should have been discovered and remedied. Alternatively, if the condition happened with enough frequency that the business should have anticipated and corrected it, this could also be evidence of negligence.
Business owners may attempt to argue that an unsafe condition was “open and obvious,” and no warning was needed. They may argue you, the patron, should have noticed and avoided the hazard. Determination of fault under these circumstances can come down to which side makes the better arguments.
Property owners should also avoid unsafe conditions that would harm trespassers on their property; however, property owners have no duty to warn trespassers of potential dangers unless the owner knows of the trespasser's presence.
Florida’s Attractive Nuisance Doctrine is an exception to liability regarding trespassers. The doctrine can hold businesses liable for injuries to trespassing children if they trespass because they are attracted to something that proves dangerous to them, such as refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, swimming pools, fountains, and abandoned vehicles.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Florida
As with many other Florida personal injury claims, a suit for injuries sustained on someone else's premises must be filed within four years from the date the injury occurred.
Florida injury law also recognizes comparative negligence laws. That means that if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, the compensation that you recover will be reduced. For example, if you were injured in a trip and fall accident after slipping on a spilled substance, but you were found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident because you were running when you slipped, then your compensation will be reduced by 20 percent to account for your own liability in the accident. That means that if you are awarded $100,000 in damages, you would only be able to receive $80,000 from the business.
Work with an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida Today
If you have been injured on a Florida business property, you have the right to seek compensation for injuries you have suffered. The good news is, you don’t have to face this legal battle on your own. Premises liability claims can be extremely difficult to prove, which is why it’s so important to have an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney on your side to protect your rights and take on the insurance companies and their lawyers.
With over 30 years of experience handling personal injury and premises liability cases, I have a proven track record of success and believe can help you pursue the best possible outcome for your case. So if you or someone you know has been injured on a business owner’s property and you live in Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, or anywhere else across the State of Florida, call my office today to schedule a free case consultation.