A property owner could be liable if you suffered serious injuries on the premises, such as due to a criminal assault or attack. You’ll have to establish liability, though, which can be tricky in many cases. A premises liability attorney in Fort Lauderdale from Montero Law can help you establish the key facts of your case and recover damages, so get in touch with us today to talk about your case.
Property Owners’ Duty of Care to Visitors
Whatever the property – hotel, apartment/condominium building, shopping center, bar or night club, restaurant, office building, commercial center, private ad public facility, parking lot, etc. – the owner and manager has a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe.
If the owner or manager was negligent in some way, then the party may be liable for any damages if that negligence led to injuries. Montero Law can help you establish that the owner was aware of the unsafe condition that led to the assault or attack, or should have been aware of it, but did not take corrective action.
For example, a hotel owner may be liable if it did not ensure that its door locks were in working order and somebody was able to break into a hotel room and assault the occupants. Or the manager of a parking lot may be liable if days or weeks went by without replacing a broken light and the inadequate lighting contributed to an assault.
The Nature of the Visit Affects the Owner’s Duty
Just who the visitor is at the time of the accident can determine owner liability.
- An invitee has permission of the owner or property occupant to enter the property for the property owner’s benefit (e.g., store guest).
- A licensee has implied or express permission to enter the property for the visitor’s benefit or pleasure (e.g., a social guest at a home).
- Trespassers are on another’s property illegally or without owner or occupant consent.
Property owners have a duty to provide invitees and lessees a reasonable protection from harm. This means installing adequate lighting in parking lots or dark areas of the property; ensuring door locks are working at a hotel; providing reasonable security especially if the area has a high rate of crime; and more.
Property owners owe trespassers a lower – if any – duty of care. They do owe a duty to warn of dangers on the premises, though, if they know trespassers are on the land or regularly use it.
Common Defenses a Premises Owner May Use if Someone Is Hurt on the Property
A property owner’s insurance company may allege you contributed to your injury through your own inattentiveness or negligence. If the insurer can prove that you are partially responsible for the injuries, it could lower the damages you recover [Fla. Stat. § 768.81 (2)]. For example, the insurer may argue that you were texting while walking through a dark parking lot when you were attacked, and therefore are partially responsible for your lack of attentiveness to your surroundings.
But Montero Law can help you build your defense to prove that the property owner was negligent, the negligence caused or contributed to your injuries, and that you are minimally, or not at all, responsible for your injuries.
Key questions your lawyer must answer include:
- How long did the unsafe condition exist and when did the property owner know of it, or when should the property owner have known of it?
- Did others complain before the incident?
- Does the owner have a history of lax security, maintenance, or refusal to warn of dangers?
Those who successfully bring their claim against a property owner for premises liability can recover damages to cover lost wages, pain and suffering, present and future medical bills, and more. The statute of limitations in which to file your claim is usually four years from the date of the accident [Fla. Stat § 95.11(3)(o)], so get started right away. Contact Montero Law at 954-767-6500 to schedule a free consultation or fill out our case evaluation form.