When you are on someone’s property, legally, you have certain rights that the owner must ensure. Safety is one of them and if you or someone you know faced injuries when inside some residential or commercial premises, you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
Generally, all property owners are required by the law to keep their visitors safe. Of course, this only applies to those who enter the premises legally and with the owner’s permission. Premises accidents result due to breach of duty of care and injuries in Fort Lauderdale are not as uncommon as you’d think.
To seek fair financial compensation for your economic and non-economic damages in premises liability claims, you’ll have to get in touch with knowledgeable premises liability attorneys in Fort Lauderdale as soon as the accident happens.
Right from the moment an accident like this happens, you’ll have to jump to action. First of all, premises liability is a legal thing and you should pursue legal action in this regard if needed. You must convince yourself that whatever you are about to do is well within your civil rights.
Here are a series of steps that victims should go through to solidify premises liability claims against the property owners:
You’ll need all of your physical and mental strength to handle the task at hand. Thus panicking is out of the option. You’re hurt, probably quite badly, perhaps even bleeding, but panicking won’t make things any better. Instead, you’ll end up losing vital input this way.
Take deep breaths to flush your lungs with fresh air and keep your mind alert. This way, you’ll notice stuff and be able to document the occurrence much better.
When the accident first happens, you probably won’t know what caused it and won’t be able to connect the dots either. However, if you just scan the area for clues, you might be able to draw a complete picture. Look at the area in general, is it safe?
You’ll also have to spot specifically unsafe elements in the area. One of these you’ll already know – the one that caused you harm. Perhaps the tiles were slippery, or there was no protective railing (or inadequate protection) – whatever it is, you’ll have to keep these details in mind and link them with the duty of care that was owed to you by the property owner.
Seek out the person in charge.
In a commercial area, that would be the manager (since the owner may not be available at all times), while in a residential area, you need to look for the house owner. Your words reflect you, your state of mind, and most importantly, your moral grounds in the case – use them wisely.
Be polite and explain the situation to the other party. You’ll have to connect the dots for them, show them how their inaction or irresponsibility (don’t use the same words – use something like: ”you may not have noticed this,” etc.) caused you bodily harm.
Also, try to paint a long-term picture for them, detailing how the accident will affect your earning potential and cause financial drains that may affect your lifestyle and economic stability, even if temporarily.
Evidence is the backbone of premises liability claims.
The insurance company, and maybe even the liable party (if they don’t meet you immediately after the accident) will not take your word for stuff. No matter how detailed and accurate your descriptions are, you will have to gather evidence backing up your premises liability claims.
Photographs will help you document the case, they will also provide insights into how the accident happened and how the other party could’ve acted differently to prevent the accident. You’ll also have to gather contact information from everyone present on the scene as they can become valuable witnesses if things go to a court of law.
You might also want to keep copies of the police reports detailing the case as evidence.
You’re hurt and probably in a lot of pain and suffering. You may even get a phone call from the insurance company of the other party. No matter how much sympathy and compassion you find in the voice on the other end of the line, don’t trust a word coming out of it and don’t give a statement yet, your priority is to get diagnosed and patched up, allowing your premises liability claims to take form.
Only a medical professional can effectively judge how bad or worse your condition is – you’ll need their reports to convince the insurance adjuster of your sufferings.
Don’t delay calling experienced Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers, even if you don’t feel like hiring one – consultation’s usually free, and who knows, you might need their help later on. Also, keep all of your bills and expense proofs with you because you will need them to prove your premises liability claims.
With all the proof at hand and a lawyer by your side, you’ll feel confident enough to face the insurance company and demand fair compensation. If things don’t settle via negotiations, you’ll have to file a premises liability lawsuit and get your lawyers at the forefront of the legal tussle that awaits.
As mentioned earlier, you should’ve been legally present inside the premises – not trespassing (in which case, the compensation will be meager). How you happened to be inside will affect the liability on the other party.
Generally, three categories can define the status of the victim in premises liability claims:
People may be generally expected to be in a certain place, for business purposes, thus their damages should be considered a legal responsibility of the person-in-charge:
The victims of this degree are entitled to the highest level of compensation. This is because the business owner and managing staff are responsible for ensuring safe conditions throughout. For instance, if a section of the floor was wet and not labeled as such, you can sue for negligence.
Perhaps you were at a place but not for business purposes, but as guests to some sort of social event or an informal gathering. It could’ve been a party, or you may have been visiting someone’s home, or perhaps just entering to use someone’s restroom (with their permission).
The owner, in such cases, is bound to keep you safe. If there is an imminent threat inside the building, i.e. broken steps, slippery tiles near the swimming pool, a hole in the ground, etc., they should warn you of such dangers.
If they fail to do so, you can sue for damages.
Falls due to slippery floors and swimming pool accidents are quite frequent, and they yield severe injuries too.
Okay, not all trespassers are crooks and thieves – well yes, thieves are trespassers, but so are a bunch of kids who sneak into someone’s backyard to retrieve their baseball. Any type of visitor who intrudes into someone’s property without permission from the owner is a trespasser.
The owner is legally bound to warn trespassers of any dangerous conditions if they know that they’re inside. And some warning signs should also be placed when necessary, i.e. for an electric fence or if there is a dog on the premises.
Failing to do so can make the owner liable but not very much, since the claim for damages will not be solid enough, i.e. the trespasser had no right to be inside the property to begin with.
All three types of visitors are liable to compensation, to varying extents, for all common types of premises injuries (and other damages) such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, and whatnot.
Both sides must seek someone with experience in premises liability law to strengthen their case and ensure fairness at both ends.
Even if you share some part of the blame, for what happened, you will be able to claim a fraction of the compensation under the comparative negligence rule. The fact that you were partially at-fault does not absolve the other party from their duties, however, it does cut your settlement sum.
Depending on your share of the fault regarding what happened, your compensation will be cut accordingly. For instance, if you had a 25% share in the liability, you will only get 75% of the total sum as compensation.
Skilled premises liability attorneys can help victims seek compensation for all types of injuries to persons involved and property damage liability that resulted due to inadequate level of care, and which is covered under personal injury protection, even if it means filing personal injury lawsuits to bring the liable parties to admit their flawed standard of care.
If you were involved in a premises accident whether it be a workplace premises liability accident or a simple slip and fall at someone’s home due to hazardous conditions, you can sue for damages. The financial, physical, and emotional toll of such injuries is overwhelming, and this financial compensation may be your only shot at regaining the normalcy of your life.
However, most people hesitate to go down the legal road, even when their case is promising enough to win them a decent settlement. People usually try to negotiate with the insurance company to avoid paying personal injury attorneys for their services because they simply can’t afford such expenses at such critical times.
However, at the VG Law Firm, our team of professional personal injury lawyers will take charge of your claim without any upfront fees and we won’t charge a cent for consultation.
Give us a call, and we’ll handle the rest!