Those who own or occupy property in Florida are expected to keep their premises reasonably safe for those who are lawfully on them. Unfortunately, not all property owners and occupiers adhere to this duty, cutting corners to avoid the costs of repair. Injuries as a result of inadequate maintenance are relatively common. At the Dean Law Firm, our premises liability lawyers are committed to representing people who have been hurt in Ocala and elsewhere in Florida.Assert Your Rights After a Florida Accident
In Florida, two statuses of adult visitors can sue for inadequate maintenance: invitees and licensees. Invitees are people invited onto a property for a business purpose. This can include shoppers at the mall or a hired babysitter at a personal residence. Licensees are those who have permission to enter, such as friends or family. The difference between these two is that property owners must expressly check for dangerous conditions that need repair for invitees, but they do not have to do so for licensees. Generally, trespassers are not owed the same rights as invitees or licensees, unless they are children drawn onto the property by what is called an "attractive nuisance."
Inadequate maintenance can include broken steps or cracked surfaces, broken railings, lack of security cameras in a high-crime area, broken locks, spills that are not mopped up promptly, broken windows, cracked tile, fallen merchandise, overgrown foliage, structural deficiencies in a balcony, or poor lighting. A property owner should repair these conditions when it knows about them. It is common, however, for property owners to deny knowledge of a dangerous condition after somebody was already hurt by it.
Since the landowner or occupier controls the property, he or she also controls the evidence related to your claim, including information related to whether an injury to an invitee was foreseeable under the circumstances. Proving the landowner or occupier knew or should have known about a dangerous condition or taken steps to repair it can be difficult in Florida, making it crucial to consult an attorney with premises liability experience. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after your accident so that the evidence of the condition and what the owner knew or should have known is not destroyed.
An attorney investigating your claim of inadequate maintenance will take photographs of the place where the accident occurred and try to obtain access to security camera footage, if there is any. The latter, as well as eyewitness testimony, can help establish a timeline about when a landowner or occupier knew or should have known that a correction, clean up, or repair was necessary to keep the property safe. For example, security camera footage can establish that a railing in a hotel was wobbly whenever guests went down the staircase. Similarly, testimony from employees and an employee handbook can establish whether an amusement park had any policies and procedures related to keeping the roller coasters in good repair.Discuss Your Slip and Fall Case with an Ocala Lawyer
At the Dean Law Firm, our slip and fall attorneys understand that when you visit a property in Ocala or elsewhere, you do not expect to be injured by inadequate maintenance. Accidents can be devastating both to a victim and his or her family. We are committed to securing compensation for those hurt at a business or on another person's property. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent injured individuals throughout the state, such as in Crystal River and the Villages as well as Citrus, Sumter, Levy, Marion, and Lake Counties.