Articles Posted in Premise Liability

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A 14-year-old was recently injured in a Florida amusement park accident when she was reportedly thrown from a ride while it was in motion, eventually landing on the metal walkway that surrounded the ride. The Tallahassee Democrat reported the ride moves in a circular loop, but does not leave the ground, operating something like a fast carousel. The high school freshman later said she felt her feet start to slip and she was unable to hold on.injury lawyer

The girl’s mother said her daughter had not been engaging in horseplay or flouting the rules in a manner that would have resulted in her being thrown from the ride. She said she shouted at the ride operator to halt the machine, but the music was too loud to grab his attention. The girl was initially unconscious and was later transported to the hospital with a broken nose and a large gash on her forehead requiring stitches.

The ride was shut down for the rest of the evening and into the following morning, but was later cleared for re-opening, following an inspection by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ ride inspection unit. The unit reportedly ascertained there was no malfunction of the machine. Specifically, it appeared the lap restraints were working properly and the speed was within the limits of the manufacturer’s recommendations.  Continue reading →

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The National Floor Safety Institute (a non-profit dedicated to reduce slips, trips and falls through education, research and development of standards) reports falls account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits annually. Bone fractures occur in about 5 percent of all falls, which are a leading cause of missed time off work for laborers and a top cause of death among the elderly. injury attorney

When one suffers a fall at a store or other place of business, the question of whether a claim for damages is viable will depend on numerous factors, including how obvious the hazard was to whether the store had “notice” (actual or constructive) of it. Slip-and-falls in particular can be tricky because of more stringent standards of proof passed by the legislature in 2010 and codified in F.S. 768.0755.

Recently, a slip-and-fall lawsuit out of Wyoming resulted in a plaintiff getting a second stab at pursuing her case, after a trial court had previously dismissed her claim for failure to state a genuine issue of material fact. The Wyoming Supreme Court disagreed and reversed, remanding the case back to the lower court for trial. That doesn’t mean plaintiff will necessarily win, but summary judgment (which is decided by a judge as a matter of law) is inappropriate for a case where there are unresolved matters of genuine material fact (which are to be decided by a jury).

The case underscores how complicated the simple matter of a fall can be, legally speaking. Continue reading →

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When an employee causes injury to someone else in the course and scope of employment, their employer can be held vicariously liable for those injuries. The legal doctrine is called respondeat superior, which is Latin for, “Let the master answer.” injury attorney

Of course, an employer could also be found directly liable as well for things like negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent supervision or negligent security. But respondeat superior does not require a finding that the business was negligent. As long as the negligent employee was acting in furtherance of the business at the time the incident occurred, the business may be liable.

This is what is alleged in a Florida personal injury lawsuit recently filed against Apple Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case is filed federally because, while the injury occurred in South Florida, the company is headquartered in California.  Continue reading →

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Jurors awarded $148 million in damages to a former dance student who was permanently paralyzed as a result of a poorly-maintained pedestrian shelter at a bus stop of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. That amount fell shy of the $175 million plaintiff’s attorneys sought for her injuries, but it was far more than the $30 million defense attorneys suggested to jurors.injury attorney

According to The Chicago Tribune, the City of Chicago, which is responsible for maintenance at the airport, conceded liability in the case. The only matter to be decided by jurors was how much should be paid in damages.

In Florida, when someone has been injured in any type of accident, there may be grounds to pursue both financial (economic) as well as non-economic damages. Economic damages are calculated by determining the cost of things like medical bills, therapy and lost wages resulting from the incident. Non-economic damages, meanwhile, are intended to cover the kinds of intangible negative impact of an injury. For instance, non-economic damages would cover things like pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, permanent disfigurement or loss of consortium.  Continue reading →

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A bar injury involving a mechanical bull resulted in an $81,000 settlement prior to trial, after a customer was thrown violently from the ride, suffering a broken ankle, torn ligament and other injuries. The same bar has paid at least $200,000 in damages to at least six other patrons who suffered similar injuries over a ten-year time frame.injury lawyer

Mechanical bulls are a staple at some Western-themed bars across the U.S., including in Florida. This particular case occurred in New York, but the same basic legal theory of premises liability applies.

Property owners and property managers have a responsibility to make sure their site is reasonably safe for paying customers (also known as “business invitees”). That means addressing conditions that are unreasonably dangerous, and warning customers about them if there are no immediate fixes. It’s unclear in this case whether there were any warnings or liability waivers signed by those who rode the bull, but defendants in these cases have been known to assert the defense that claimants assumed the risk when they chose to ride. Continue reading →

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In Florida, if you get injured on someone else’s property, whether it is a private home or a business frequented by the general public, the law that controls whether the property owner is liable is known as premises liability law.  The basic rule is that a land owner will be liable to an injured guest in many situations, but it depends on the reason plaintiff was on the property at the time of the accident.

Deerfield Beach Injury LawAt common law, and still today, there is a distinction between licensees and invitees. A Licensee is someone who is on the property solely for his or her own enjoyment.  Basically, this person is on the property and is not benefiting the landowner.  This comes from a landmark legal decision from the Supreme Court of Florida entitled Stewart v. Texas (1953).  In this case, it was held that landowner only owes a duty to warn of known dangers, keep the property in reasonably safe condition, or intentionally places plaintiff in harm’s way.  An example of a business licensee would be someone who comes into a store to get change for a parking meter, but not to purchase anything. Continue reading →

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Anytime personal injury lawsuits are settled, there may be terms and conditions that must be read carefully. There are some situations wherein the language could prohibit any and all future claims against other potential defendants – and that may not be a scenario you want, depending on the circumstances. mechanic

In a recent appellate case out of California, the language of an earlier settlement agreement became an issue in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit filed by a mechanic against a property owner. The question before the appellate court was whether plaintiff’s claim against these entities was barred because of a settlement with one defendant

Here’s what happened: In 2011, plaintiff, a mechanic, was hired by the auto sales company to figure out why a vehicle owned by the sales firm wouldn’t start. Unbeknownst to plaintiff, the towing company had recently towed the vehicle to the site and disconnected the transmission shift linkage when it did this. However, the towing company employee did not reconnect the shift linkage. Plaintiff said he put the vehicle in park and climbed underneath to troubleshoot. When he went to test the electrical connection to the starter, the vehicle ran over him and dragged him through the parking lot.

Plaintiff’s spine was crushed.  Continue reading →

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In the height of this holiday shopping season, patrons should feel safe when they get to the store. That means there should be adequate security and lighting. Boxes should be safely stacked. Spills should be promptly cleaned up. Employees should be regularly checking the site for possible hazards to minimize the risks. shopping cart

Property owners owe business invitees the highest duty of care to make sure the site is free of unreasonable hazards. However, if a patron does encounter a danger and is injured as a result, he or she will still face challenges in asserting liability and obtaining compensation. Specifically as it pertains to slip-and-fall hazards, F.S. 768.o755 spells out the stringent proof burden plaintiffs have to meet in order to prevail in an injury lawsuit against a business. In these cases, plaintiff has to show:

  • The business had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition.
  • The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, had the business been using due care, the business establishment should have known about it.
  • The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.

Continue reading →

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The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled in the Orlando negligent security lawsuit of Anderson v. Hilton Hotel that plaintiff is entitled to have his attorney’s fees covered, per F.S. 768.79 and Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.442.parking lot

Plaintiff’s victory comes after he won $1.7 million in damages from four different defendants, though three of those were characterized as a single entity during trial. It was this issue that complicated the matter of whether plaintiff was entitled to attorney fees.

Normally, personal injury plaintiffs do not pay attorney fees upfront. Instead, lawyers offer services on a contingency fee basis, which means clients pay nothing upfront and agree to sign over a portion of their damage awards if they win (usually somewhere around 30 percent, though it varies depending on the facts/ complexity of the case). This type of agreement allows more meritorious civil actions to make their way into court, rather than creating an impossible bar for persons with limited means. However, there are situations in which the other side can be ordered to pay attorneys’ fees to the winner. For a plaintiff, this occurs when a reasonable settlement offer is made, not accepted within 30 days and then plaintiff wins the case, being awarded in excess of 25 percent of that original offer.  Continue reading →

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When someone suffers a work-related injury, typically the only remedy they have against the employer is a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, the exclusivity provision of workers’ compensation law does not prohibit injured workers or their families from seeking compensation from negligent third parties. In some cases, that could include the owner of the property where the work was being conducted. propane

One such case was recently weighed by an appellate court in California. In Regalado v. Callaghan, justices were asked to consider whether the trial court made any mistakes that resulted in a finding that a homeowner was liable for the injuries suffered by an employee of a pool contractor. Jurors at trial had found the homeowner 40 percent liable for the worker’s injuries based on theories of negligence and premises liability and ordered him to pay $3 million in damages.

According to court records, the homeowner was a licensed subcontractor who wanted to build a “dream house” for his wife in the Coachella Valley. He acted as an owner-builder for his home project, meaning he obtained the permits for construction and served as the person responsible for overseeing the construction – similar to the role a general contractor would take on. Continue reading →

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