Tampa Premises Liability Attorneys
Generally, when you visit a friend’s home or engage in routine activities like going shopping, you usually do not expect to suffer debilitating injuries. All it takes is one slick spot on the floor to change your life forever.
Although premises liability accidents are not often deadly, they can result in devastating injuries and excruciating pain that can lead to extensive medical treatments, bills, and ongoing care that will forever impact not only your life but your family’s as well. That is why, if you have been harmed in a Tampa premises liability accident, you should not have to take on these horrific accidents alone. Fortunately, with the Fernandez Firm’ s Tampa premises liability accident lawyers on your side, you will not have to.
Fernandez Firm—Who We Are
The Fernandez Firm is a personal injury law firm that specializes in a wide variety of injury claims throughout Florida. For over 25 years, our attorneys have been helping those who have been harmed in a serious personal injury accident by standing up on their behalf and going after the justice they need. This is because, at the Fernandez Firm, we know what our clients are going through after a horrific accident changes their lives, and we want to help them get the money they deserve.
As a result of this drive, dedication, and experience, our attorneys have successfully handled thousands of injury claims and have obtained over $100 million in settlement awards and jury verdicts on our client’s behalf. While no result can be guaranteed, contact us today to see what we can do for you.
What Exactly Is a Tampa Premises Liability Accident?
Premises liability is a broad category of personal injury law that includes various claims and situations. These accidents usually occur when there is some unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property, and another person gets injured because of them. These claims can arise on both commercial and residential properties.
Common Tampa Premises Liability Cases
Although premises liability cases can occur for many different reasons, certain premises liability incidents tend to occur more frequently than others in Tampa.
These accidents include the following:
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Animal attacks
- Construction site accidents
- Poor security
- Elevator incidents
- Inadequate conditions on a property
- Defective building maintenance
- Leaking water or flooding
- Amusement park accidents
- Toxic chemicals or fumes
Common Injuries Resulting from a Tampa Premises Liability Accident
Unfortunately, because premises liability accidents are so unique, the injuries that result can also differ depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Yet, following a Tampa premises liability accident, many victims often experience the following injuries:
- Spinal cord damage
- Extensive burns
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Extensive lacerations
- Soft tissue injuries
- Electric shock
- Illnesses from exposure to toxic chemicals
Many of these injuries can lead to a lifetime of medical care and treatments. That is why, if you have been harmed in a Tampa premises liability accident, you should reach out to a premises liability lawyer, like those at the Fernandez Firm, as soon as possible. These attorneys can go over your incident, determine if you have a viable claim, and figure out what legal options you should pursue to go after the compensation you need for the losses and injuries you sustained.
What Is The Property Owner’s Duty of Care in Tampa?
Property owners need to exercise some reasonable care when it comes to the ownership and maintenance of their property. However, the extent of that duty depends on the visitor’s status.
For instance, in Tampa, an individual who enters another person’s property is often classified as an invitee, trespasser, or licensee. Depending on this classification, the duty of care owed to them by the property owner will vary.
Invitees are people who are invited to another person’s property or land. In Florida, there are two types of invitees—a public invitee and a business invitee.
- A public invitee is an individual who is invited to enter or remain on the premises as a member of the public for reasons in which the property is held open to the public. For instance, those that visit West Tampa Branch Library are often considered a public invitee.
- A business invitee is an individual who is invited to enter or remain on the property for a purpose directly or indirectly associated with business dealings with the property’s possessor. Generally, a business invite includes business clients or even store customers, such as those who go to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, or those who go shopping at Publix GreenWise Market or Duckweed Urban Grocery Store.
Invitees are often afforded the greatest degree of protection under Tampa’s premises liability laws. Specifically, the property owner needs to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition and protect invitees from dangers they should be aware of. These property owners also need to warn the invitee of any concealed hazards and those the property owner should know about through the exercise of due care.
According to the Florida Supreme Court, a licensee enters the property of another for their own pleasure, benefit, or convenience. Typically, licensees include social guests such as friends and family invited over for a party or a social gathering. However, a licensee classification can also extend to uninvited guests, such as a neighbor stopping by to borrow something.
In terms of the duty owed to a licensee, property owners must keep their property reasonably safe and fix unsafe conditions. They also should warn their guests of dangers that they know about.
A trespasser is an individual that enters another person’s property without an invitation, license, or other rights to do so and intrudes for their own purpose. A trespasser can also include an idler who has no apparent intent to enter the property other than to satisfy their curiosity.
Typically, the only duty that is owed to a trespasser is to avoid wanton and willful injury. Yet, if the trespasser’s presence is discovered, then the property owner owes them a duty to warn them of any known dangerous conditions that are not apparent to them through ordinary observation.
How the Court Evaluates a Premises Liability Case in Florida
Courts usually use a “reasonableness standard” to determine whether a person is an invitee or a licensee. This standard is based on how an average individual handles a particular situation, meaning that the court will look at the evidence in such a way that an average person would in similar circumstances.
Generally, a court will often evaluate the following factors to determine if an injured guest is a licensee or an invitee:
- Why was the visitor on the property, and what were they using the property for?
- Was the incident foreseeable, or could the property owner have anticipated it?
- Did the property owner make a reasonable effort to warn the visitor of the dangerous condition?
Since the duty owed to an individual depends on a person’s classification, a victim must first prove they fit into a specific category before they can argue they were owed a duty of care. For these reasons, following a premises liability accident, you should speak with a Tampa premises liability attorney, like those at Fernandez Firm, as soon as possible. These attorneys can help you figure out not only what classification you fit in but what specific duty of care the property owner owed to you.
Tampa Slip and Fall Cases
Slip and fall accidents are a common type of premises liability claim in Tampa. However, the laws that apply to these incidents tend to differ from the rest of the county.
According to Florida’s statute, if an individual slips and falls on a “transitory foreign substance” in a business establishment, the injured individual must prove that the business had constructive or actual knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. These transitory foreign substances include any solid or liquid substance, object, or item located where it does not belong.
As a result, in addition to the general premises liability requirements, to collect compensation for their harm, individuals injured in a Tampa slip and fall accident must prove that the business owner had actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition before the injury occurred.
Constructive knowledge is often much more challenging to prove than actual knowledge since plaintiffs often need to show through circumstantial evidence that:
- If the business exercise ordinary care, it could have known of the dangerous condition; or
- The condition occurred with regularity and was foreseeable.
For instance, if a customer entered Rollin Oats Market & Cafe and slipped on rainwater in the entrance, they may have a valid premises liability claim. However, if it turns out the water that caused the fall was there for only a few minutes, and you can provide no evidence of prior incidents or recurring water in that area, the grocery store would not have constructive notice of the wet spot. As a result, the customer probably would not be able to collect compensation for their harm.
The Statute of Limitations for a Tampa Premises Liability Case
The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit following an alleged offense. If you do not bring this suit within this allotted time, you cannot collect compensation for your injuries.
In Florida, the statute of limitations to bring a personal injury claim following a premises liability accident is four years from the date of the incident. However, there may be certain exceptions to this rule that can extend or shorten the amount of time you have to file. For these reasons, don’t wait to get legal help. Instead, reach out to a Tampa premises liability attorney, like those at Fernandez Firm, and let these attorneys figure out how much time you have to file your case.
Get the Legal Help You Need, Contact the Fernandez Firm Today
Although land and property owners in Tampa should keep their property safe for their visitors, this does now always happen. Worse yet, when property owners fail to uphold this duty, innocent individuals can get hurt.
However, as a victim of this traumatic accident, you should not have to handle this challenging ordeal on your own. Instead, you deserve trusted legal assistance that can help you get through this difficult time. Fortunately, with help from the right Tampa premises liability attorney, like those at the Fernandez Firm, you can get this legal help plus so much more.
Once retained, our legal attorneys can:
- Review your case, determine if you have a viable claim, and figure out what legal options you can pursue.
- Investigate the incident, and gather the evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault.
- Interview relevant witnesses that can help prove your claim.
- Hire experts such as flooring experts, engineers, and accident reconstructionists to substantiate your claims.
- Take on the negotiation process with the other side and fight for the just compensation you need.
- Take your case to trial, if required, and go after the maximum damages you deserve.
If you or a loved one was harmed in a Tampa premises liability accident, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. Instead, contact the Fernandez Firm today at (813) 278-1032 for your free case consultation, and let our premises liability attorneys show you how we can fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.
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