Premises Liability Lawsuits in Florida: Business Owners Have a Responsibility to Avoid Safety Hazards on Their Property
To some degree, what happens on your property is your business. For example, you can display whatever holiday decorations you choose on your house or your place of business. Likewise, no one can stop you from letting your dog run around in your own backyard. You are legally responsible, however, for making sure that your property is free of safety hazards. If a visitor to your home or a customer at your place of business gets injured in an accident on your property, they can sue you under the theory of premises liability if they can prove that the accident was the result of unsafe conditions on your property.
Which Accidents Count as Premises Liability?
The injured party has grounds for a premises liability lawsuit if he or she can prove that the defendant was negligent in maintaining the property, thus allowing the accident to occur. The following are scenarios where there could be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit:
- A customer gets injured after slipping on a spilled drink at a restaurant. The restaurant staff was negligent by not placing a “wet floor” sign until an employee had time to clean the spill.
- An alligator in a man-made lake at a golf course bites a guest. The golf course staff had a responsibility to call animal control as soon as they noticed the alligator and to close the golf course until it was removed. Likewise, if the golf course is located near a canal, river, or lake, they should always have staff members on the lookout for alligators or better to secure the golf course to keep alligators off of the property.
- A customer at a store gets injured when a shelf collapses and merchandise falls. The store owner should have made sure that employees regularly inspect shelves and repair the ones that are in danger of collapse.
Not All Accidents Are Premises Liability
You only have grounds for premises liability if you can prove negligence on the part of the property owner. It is the plaintiff’s duty to prove that the defendant failed to meet a formal safety regulation or that the defendant could have prevented the accident by keeping the premises safer. Generally, if the property posts signs about potential safety hazards, you will not have grounds for a premises liability suit if you see and ignore those signs. For example, if you swim in a lake at a park when there is a sign that says “no swimming” or “beware of alligators,” or if you get injured at a roller skating rink where there is a sign that says “skate at your own risk,” you will not have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.
Contact Our Office About Premises Liability Lawsuits
If your injuries are the result of an accident at an unsafe place of business, you may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. Contact Bundza & Rodriguez in Daytona Beach, Florida for a legal consultation.