7 Dangerous Property Conditions in Florida
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of John Romano with Romano Law Group.
Whenever dangerous conditions on a public or private property result in serious injury, the person responsible for maintaining that property could be liable; in these cases, the liable party is often a landlord, property manager, or business owner who should reasonably have been aware of the dangerous condition and taken steps to correct it prior to the event that caused the injury.
While premises liability claims exist in every state, the most common types of claims as well as the rules for filing them can vary significantly from one state to another. For example, the statute of limitations or window of time in which an injured person can file a premises liability claim in Florida is four years from the date of the injury.
7 of the most common conditions that make a property dangerous in Florida include:
- Slippery surfaces and walkways. Whenever a floor, walkway, stairs, or other area where people can reasonably be expected to pass through on foot presents significant hazards for slip or trip and falls, the property owner may be liable. A few examples of this may include wet floors, greasy surfaces, and walkways overgrown with plantlife.
- Poor lighting. A wide variety of injuries can occur when the lighting is poor, from assault and theft to simply missing a step on an unlit stairwell and tumbling the rest of the way down. Adequate lighting is imperative to allowing anyone to operate safely in a given space, as well as to ward off anyone with criminal intent. Clubs, bars, parking garages, and apartment complexes are notorious for poor lighting and negligent security leading to unsafe situations.
- Hazardous stairs, ramps, or railings. Broken or missing steps, ramps, and railings are a big problem that can make a property extremely dangerous. Whenever someone is climbing to or descending from a height, it’s important to have something reliable to hold onto, as well as to know that the area on which you are stepping is in good repair and will not break under your weight.
- Unprotected pools. Drownings and water injuries are a big problem in Florida, although some people might be surprised to learn that the majority of these injuries occur in pools. In a state that is warm and balmy throughout the year, it makes sense that people might want to relax in the water closer to home rather than going to the beach. However, pools that are not surrounded by a safety fence can allow children and animals to wander in and drown. Additionally, pools of all kinds should be well-lit, properly marked, and never left unsupervised with children or weak swimmers in the water.
- Negligent security. Negligent security refers to any missing or lacking security measures that make an area unsafe. Poor lighting is a common problem that can lead to negligent security, but it is not the only one. Lack of security cameras, untrained or poorly trained staff members and broken or missing locks can also contribute to negligent security, increasing the potential for assault and other crime in that area.
- Unsecured animals. Contrary to popular fears, alligators might not be the biggest thing a visitor to Florida needs to worry about. Unsecured domestic pets with aggressive tendencies are far more likely to cause injury, for which the pet’s owner would typically be considered liable. Owners with pets that have exhibited aggression before can ward off both injuries and liability by installing warning signs, kennels, repairing broken fences, and keeping their animal leashed and controlled at all times in an unfamiliar environment or around unfamiliar people.
- Uneven surfaces. Like slippery surfaces, uneven surfaces are a common cause of trip and fall accidents. Broken sidewalks, potholes, cracked tile, and more can all create situations where someone is bound to catch their foot, trip, and potentially suffer serious injuries. While there is a tendency to view slip and fall or trip and fall injuries as minor, these injuries can be serious and have lifelong consequences, especially if the head or spine is injured in the fall.
If you or a loved one were injured due to dangerous property conditions in Florida, you may be eligible to file a premises liability claim against the negligent party to compensate your damages. The attorneys that handle these cases typically offer free consultations and work on contingency, allowing injury victims and their family to focus on healing and recovery rather than worrying about money. To learn more about premises liability claims in Florida, or for help investigating your own, reach out to an experienced Florida premises liability attorney.