Were You Injured on a Neighbor’s Property after a Hurricane?
Hurricanes can cause tremendous destruction—knocking down trees, blowing off roofs, and disordering the landscape. However, this does not mean that a property owner is relieved of their duty under Florida law to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors. If that were true, no one would ever have to fix their property and could always raise as a defense the fact that a hurricane once passed through.
Instead, Florida law certainly gives homeowners a reasonable amount of time to clean up their properties. If you are injured, then you might have the ability to sue for compensation.
Examples of Dangerous Conditions Following Hurricanes
A person might have a personal injury claim in the following types of situations:
- Damaged trees. If a tree is blown over while a storm is in progress, then the owner probably isn’t legally responsible. That could be an “Act of God” which the owner has no control over. However, once the storm has passed, owners must cut down trees that pose a danger of falling over or losing branches.
- Unsafe buildings. The structure to a building could be compromised in a storm, in which case an owner should not invite people over if they suspect it is in danger of collapsing. Many people are injured when the roof falls or the walls lose their stability.
- Unkempt properties are a magnet for vermin, such as snakes, rats, and other creatures. Property owners must eventually clean up their property, otherwise they could be legally liable.
In each of these cases, the key is that the owner does not take reasonable steps after the storm to make the premises safe. The fact that a hurricane came through does not relieve them of their duties to those who visit.
Remember that a dangerous condition cannot be open and obvious. If there is a giant hole in the ground and you walk up to it, falling in, then you willingly confront a dangerous condition that is obvious. You can’t prevail in that type of case. But much hurricane damage is not that obvious.
Trespassing & Children
If you were not invited over to someone’s house, then you might not have much of a legal case if you were trespassing. Things are a little different with children. Florida law understands that children are curious but, unlike adults, cannot appreciate the risks of their behavior. This is the “attractive nuisance” doctrine.
Under Fla. Stat. § 823.08, many different objects can qualify as an attractive nuisance, such as abandoned refrigerators and iceboxes, along with any airtight unit whose doors have not been removed. So someone who leaves a refrigerator on the lawn while repairing their home could have created an attractive nuisance that draws a trespassing child onto the property. If that child is injured, the homeowner could be liable.
Contact a Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
At Bundza & Rodriguez, our Daytona Beach personal injury lawyers are prepared to help injured clients get compensation after an accident. Please call us today 386-252-5170 to schedule a free consultation.