Premises Liability- Stay Safe in Public Places
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue were recently called to a parking lot hotel off Baymeadows Road, where a man was found unresponsive, in life-threatening condition after being shot.
A robbery with injuries happened last month in the Jacksonville parking lot of a fast-food restaurant during the early morning hours.
If you are injured in the parking lot of a business, or inside the store, or on any portion of the premise, business owners and lessees may be liable.
They have a duty to maintain protect your safety.
Legally this is known as premises liability.
You may think people should always look where they are going and just be careful. If they are hurt, it’s their own fault.
But consider what can happen at a business:
- Someone attacks you in a parking lot.
- You are stuck in an elevator or a child’s shoe is trapped in an escalator.
- A waiter spills hot coffee on you causing serious burns.
- You suffer a slip and fall caused by a substance on the floor that was never cleaned up.
- You fall through a cellar grate that was not properly secured.
- A fire exit is closed, preventing someone from leaving in an emergency.
- A swimming pool with no barrier allows a child to fall in.
- A big box store has not secured a large box on its upper shelves. It falls on you or a family member.
These are just a few examples that a concerned property owner must address.
In court, or during settlement discussions, the injured plaintiff must prove that the unsafe condition was caused by the carelessness of the property owner or that, at the very least, they should have known it existed.
If you are involved in an accident on a premise, you must immediately take pictures of the scene as it was. Photograph, or have someone photograph with your cell phone, a broken grate, a spilled substance on the floor or a broken railing.
Something was on the floor and no one attended to it.
If violent crime repeatedly in one location, the owner has a responsibility to have enough security on site and proper lighting.
Criminals don’t want to be caught so they go somewhere else.
Instead, businesses often blame the victim.
There is also something known as comparative negligence that can reduce the liability of the property owner. If, for example, you were drunk when you fell down the stairs, that could reduce any recovery you receive.
Most juries can be convinced that when property or business owner does not take care of its invited guests, they should be responsible for the accidents that happen there.