If you’ve ever seen a yellow sign with the words “wet floor” printed on it, you’ve encountered premises liability whether you realized it or not. While the particulars of the law can vary from state to state, or even city to city, there’s an unspoken assumption that when you slip and fall in a place of business, it’s the business owner’s responsibility to pay for it.
The legal concept of premises liability is that business owners have a responsibility to you and anyone else who passes through their doors. If a safety hazard exists, the business owner is legally obligated to fix it before someone gets hurt. If they fail to do this and an injury results, they can be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
Like other personal injury lawsuits, the burden of proof is on the injured party, not the accused. This means that the person bringing the lawsuit must prove that the business was negligent, which requires proof that a safety hazard existed in the building, the owner could have fixed it but chose not to, and, finally, that the safety hazard in question was in fact what caused the injuries.
If this sounds complicated, it is. But it gets even more complicated once the case goes to trial. There are many issues in regards to what qualifies as proof, and the threshold can be hard for the average person to meet, even if the business seems clearly at fault. In recent years, Florida state law has adapted to make the process somewhat easier for the injured party, but this isn’t enough for every case.
When to contact an attorney
Premises liability is a complex part of the law, and a personal injury attorney can help you navigate it and, in some cases, do much of the work for you. Katherine is a skilled attorney and can answer your questions, help you with technical aspects of your case, and represent you in court if you choose to file suit. She is a qualified legal counselor and teacher.
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