Articles Posted in Premise Liability/Negligent Security

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National Weather Service records indicate it has never snowed in Naples or Fort Myers, even as overnight temperatures have dipped into the freezing territory in recent weeks. Our northern neighbors – even those just in the northern part of the state – have been dealing with frozen precipitation. This buildup of snow and ice has the potential to generate numerous hazards, including those entering and exiting businesses. In many states where this is a regular hazard, the courts follow something called the “continuing storm doctrine.” This means that business owners have no duty to customers to remove snow and ice from sidewalks when a continuing storm does not allow the owner a reasonable opportunity to remedy the issue. slip and fall lawyer

This type of case is known as a “premises liability” cause of action, more commonly known as a slip-and-fall. Premises liability claims in Florida are heavily dependent on the legal status of the visitor (which dictates the duty of care they are owed). For instance, those who are on site for the financial benefit of the property owner are owed the highest duty of care.

F.S. 768.0755 indicates that when plaintiffs are injured in Florida slip-and-fall accidents caused by transitory foreign substances on a walking surface, plaintiffs must prove defendant had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition and failed to address it. Constructive knowledge is proven via circumstantial evidence that shows:

  • Condition existed for such a length of time that the business would have or should have discovered it in the exercise of ordinary care;
  • Condition occurred with such regularity it was foreseeable.

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When examining liability for a South Florida car accident, our injury lawyers in Cape Coral will of course first examine the negligence of the other. We’ll examine the potential vicarious liability claims of the vehicle owner, the driver’s employer and the motor carrier (if applicable). We may even look closely at whether there was a vehicle defect that would render the auto manufacturer or repair shop responsible to cover damages. In some cases, the local county or municipality could be liable too if there is evidence the entity failed in its duty to maintain public roads.car accident

It’s not often in these cases that we will lodge a premises liability claim – but it’s not something that should be discounted. Premises liability involves the responsibility of property owners to maintain their site in a reasonably safe condition. Usually, these types of claims would include things like slip-and-fall accidents or trip-and-falls or drownings. However, it may arise in a car accident claim if there is evidence some condition on the property that posed a danger to drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians. There are a number of successful Florida premises liability claims that have stemmed from car accident injuries.

The California Supreme Court recently considered one such case involving a pedestrian accident that resulted in the injury of a church member who was struck crossing the street from the church overflow parking lot to the main parking lot on his way to attend services. The court ruled that a landowner does not owe a duty of care to assist invitees to cross a public street when the landowner maintain a parking lot requiring invitees to cross the street to access the landowner’s main site – as long as the typical dangers of a public street aren’t in some way magnified or hidden by some condition of the landowner’s property or by some action taken by the landowner.  Continue reading →

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Fans of rapper Travis Scott know that when they go to one of his concerts, it’s going to be high-energy. Not only will the bass be loud and the crowd riled, fans routinely form mosh pits, crowd surf and stage dive. But now, one of those fans has suffered serious injury after attending one of these events, and the question is to what extent was this an assumed risk and to what extent could the venue and Scott himself be liable.injury lawyer

The New York Times reports 23-year-old man became paralyzed and must now forever use a wheelchair after he was allegedly pushed form a third-story balcony and dragged on stage during one of the rapper’s performances this spring in Manhattan, New York. Plaintiff accuses Scott of negligence, as well as his manager, the concert promoter and the security company hired to provide protective services that night.

Representatives for Scott said they were conducting an internal investigation of the incident. A representative for the concert promoter declined to comment on the pending injury lawsuitContinue reading →

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A woman in Tarpon Springs has filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking at least $15,000 in damages for injuries suffered in an alleged slip-and-fall accident.slip and fall

The incident occurred in a Wal-Mart store, which has been no stranger to such claims, given that it gets an estimated 138 million visitors every week. In fact, the company hires not just attorneys to handle cases as they arise, but also a claims management firm, with the sole aim of reducing the store’s liability in slip-and-fall and other negligence cases.

Such claims are harder to win in Florida, especially in recent years since legislators tightened plaintiff’s proof burden under F.S. 768.0755. In order to prevail in a Florida slip-and-fall lawsuit arising from a transitory foreign substance on the floor of a business establishment, plaintiffs need to prove the company had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and yet failed to take action – whether warning you about it or cleaning it up.  Continue reading →

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Landlords and other property owners have a duty of care to maintain their site in reasonably safe condition for those who enter lawfully. Landlords in particular have a statutory responsibility under F.S. 83.51 to maintain their premises, which involves compliance with all applicable building, housing and health codes and maintaining all structural components in good repair, capable of resisting normal forces, loads and plumbing. Florida law also requires the extermination of certain insects, including wood-destroying organisms. defective stairs

Wood-destroying organisms, or more specifically, termites, were at the center of a recent defective staircase lawsuit in Rhode Island, where a woman fell through a stair board that had rotted through due to termites. She suffered a myriad of injuries and sued her landlord for damages. However, the trial court ruled in the landlord’s favor, finding plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence of actual or constructive notice of the defect. The Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed.

We should point out that case law and statutes vary from state-to-state, but some of these same general provisions outlined in this case are applicable here in Florida too.  Continue reading →

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A grieving Florida widower is suing the property management company as well as the security company for the gated community where he and his wife lived, claiming these entities were negligent in providing security to their community. The case was filed after the brutal stabbing death of plaintiff’s wife in a Davie home invasion robbery.window

According to The Sun Sentinel, a 22-year-old man is accused of breaking into the couple’s home in September 2014, tying up and assaulting the 59-year-old victim, stabbing her to death and then leaving her body in the bathtub, where her adult son later discovered her. The accused is awaiting trial and faces the death penalty if convicted. He made headlines over the summer after he escaped from a Broward County courtroom and was on the run for six days. A number of others were later arrested in connection with assisting his escape.

While it may seem odd that anyone other than decedent’s killer could be held responsible for her death, a claim of negligent security asserts that a defendant had a duty to protect her and failed. Continue reading →

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Lack of security at a nightclub bathroom led to a brutal sexual assault, leading jurors to award a $5.4 million verdict against the nightclub. Now, that verdict has been affirmed by a California appellate court, illustrating the way in which a business can be held responsible for failure to protect patrons against third-party violent crimes. womanindark

In this case, Janice H. v. 696 North Robertson, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District, Division Three, Hollywood producer plaintiff, 37, had consumed several drinks at other nightclubs before entering this one to meet some friends, grab a drink of water and use the restroom.

However, when plaintiff entered the unisex bathroom, a man unknown to her – later identified as a staffer at the club – followed behind her and proceeded to sexually assault her.  Continue reading →

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In personal injury cases, it’s essential to prove defendant owed a duty to plaintiff, that duty was breached and the breach caused the injury. moonlight

What many plaintiffs don’t realize is that they too owe a duty of care – to themselves. They have to take reasonable measures to protect themselves from known or knowable hazards, or else risk forfeiting the right to recover damages for it.

Thus, a key defense in these cases is the “assumption of risk.” The assumption of risk doctrine holds plaintiff knew of a dangerous condition and voluntarily exposed himself or herself to it.

This was the defense used in Griffin v. Haunted Hotel, Inc., before the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One. Continue reading →

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Liability waivers are not generally favored by Florida courts because they relieve one party of the obligation to use due care, and further shift the risk of injury to the party likely least equipped to take necessary precautions to avoid injury. For this reason, they are usually strictly construed against the party seeking to be relieved of that liability.vendorballoon

That said, releases of liability will be honored by the courts if it can be shown there was specific language that makes it clear the injured person fully appreciated the implications of that release.

In most of these cases, liability waivers are signed prior to a certain activity. For example, if you’ve ever ridden a rented jet ski, you probably had to sign a liability waiver. Similar releases are usually required for common Florida tourist activities like parasailing, boating or kayaking. However, most liability waivers don’t generally cover activity that occurs prior to signing that release. But that’s what defendants in Peterson v. Flare Fittings, Inc. et al. tried to do. Continue reading →

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Property owners are responsible for maintaining the site in a way that ensures it is safe from unreasonable hazards for guests. When it comes to businesses and public buildings, that includes the parking lot area. pavementcrack

That means owners have a duty to fill cracks and holes in the walking surface. That means making sure any variations in walking surface height should either be gradual or there should be a warning to pedestrians about the potential hazard. It also means making sure there is adequate lighting, adequate security and regular inspections for areas or aspects that might pose a fall risk, such as oil, cracked wheel stops or other debris.

Failure to do this can result in litigation if someone is injured as a result, and the danger wasn’t obvious to the person who was hurt. Continue reading →