Your Premesis Liability Injury Lawyers
Your Christian Law Firm, Dean Burnetti Law represents Personal Injury Victims in Polk County, including: Lakeland, Auburndale, Bartow, Haines City, Lake Wales, Mulberry, Polk City, and Winter Haven; in Hillsborough County, including: Brandon, Tampa, and Plant City; in Pinellas County, including Clearwater, St. Pete, Gulfport, Treasure Island, Largo, Oldsmar; and all of the surrounding Greater Central Florida and West Central Florida Areas.
Proverbs 17:22 - “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
In law, the term “premises liability” refers to the way that the law is applied to determine the party who might be financially responsible when someone is involved in an accident (other than a vehicular or work-related accident) that causes an injury or death.
An invitee is a person that the premises owner or occupier has invited or welcomed onto the premises. An invitee can be a patron of a store, hotel, theme park, restaurant, public swimming pool, sporting event, or other business, or even a guest in someone’s home. When an “invitee” is injured, unless their injury is found to be caused by their own negligence, the person or entity who will likely be held financially responsible for those injuries is generally the owner or occupier of the premises. The personal owner or business owner of the premises where someone is injured or killed for a reason other than their own negligence has the highest level of responsibility to invitees.
A licensee is someone who rents, sublets, leases, or otherwise pays to use property and/or a building, facility, or home that is owned by another person or entity. A licensee may be someone who rents a home (including their family who also live there), someone who rents office space or another type of business area (such as a hair stylist station), a person or company who leases a retail space, etc. When a “licensee” is injured on the premises or property they are licensing, unless their injury is found to be caused by their own negligence, the person or entity who will likely be held financially responsible for those injuries is generally the owner or licenser of the premises. The personal or corporate owner of a premises where a licensee is injured or killed for a reason other than their own negligence typically has a lesser level of responsibility to a licensee than that of an invitee. While the owner must warn the licensee of any potential dangers that the licensee can’t easily see, they are not typically under any duty to maintain or repair other dangerous conditions on the premises.
The lowest level of financially responsibility when someone is injured or killed is when the injured or killed party is a trespasser. While a property owner is not allowed to intentionally injure or kill a trespasser for reasons other than self-defense, they are typically not held liable for such injuries. The exception to this is if the trespasser is a minor child that was enticed to trespass onto the owner’s property to play with a dangerous object or in a hazardous condition by the owner. (For example, irresistible or lifelike holiday decorations that shock or electrocute a child.) If a trespassing minor child is injured or killed under these conditions, the owner of the property may be held liable under the “attractive nuisance doctrine.”
The majority of personal injury cases stem from some sort of negligence, and premises liability cases are no exception. In order to win a premises liability case, the injured person must prove that the property owner was negligent with respect to ownership and/or maintenance of the property. In general, negligence means that the property owner failed to use reasonable care in connection with the property.
A significant side note is that just because someone might have been injured due to an unsafe condition at a particular property, this does not mean that the property owner is automatically negligent. The injured party has a duty to prove that the property owner knew or reasonably should have known that an unsafe condition existed on the property, and that despite that knowledge, the property owner neglected to take the appropriate steps needed to rectify the dangerous condition prior to someone getting injured.
Premises Liability injuries are not always dog bites or slip-and-fall accidents. In fact, many injuries and deaths each year in the United States are attributed to various other types of Premises Liability accidents such as:
Gas Explosion Accidents
Both businesses and homes use various types of gases on a daily basis. Though popular and economic sources of heat and power, the risk of potential for an explosion causes concern due to the combustible nature of most consumer gasses.
While literally millions of Americans use natural gas to heat their homes and propel their appliances, because natural gas is a fossil fuel, it cannot be detected by either sight or smell. If a home experiences an undetected leak, an act as insignificant as lighting a cigarette or rubbing one’s feet on a carpeted floor and causing a nearly indistinguishable spark from the friction can cause a deadly, not to mention costly, explosion.
A different type of gas commonly used by consumers is Propane. Propane is a heavy gas which has been liquefied for the convenience of transportation. Propane is typically used for the purposes of igniting fires in barbecue grill, but is also commonly used to propel camping appliances, and in home heating units such as gas fireplaces. Propane explosions are very similar to natural gas explosions, however they add the danger of the tanks that they come in also exploding. Even if a person is unscathed by an actual propane explosion, they can suffer serious injuries or death from the propelled fragments of the tank that contained the propane.
In the United States alone, each year sees an nearly 5,000 injuries due to gas explosions, and more than 100 deaths. When this happens, the owner of the property or the person or entity responsible for maintaining the gas source is liable.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Elevator accidents are responsible for an estimated 27 deaths and over 10,000 injuries in the United States every year! The majority of these elevator accidents are caused by door malfunctions and carriage misalignment with the building’s floors.
Escalators, on average, cause an additional 3 deaths and 7,000 injuries each year in the United States.
Rudimentary elevators were used in ancient Rome as far back as 336 B.C., with the first reference of one being built by Archimedes, although the first record of a dedicated passenger elevator was used by King Louis XV in 1743. He enlisted its construction at Versailles to carry him from his quarters on the first floor to his mistress’ quarters on the second floor. It was a simple design called a “flying chair” which worked by men stationed in a chimney pulling on the ropes. In 1823, two British architects invented a steam-powered “ascending room” to take tourists up to a platform for a view of London. Several years later, the ascending room was improved by architects who added a belt and counter-weight to the steam power. However, in 1852, a man named Elisha Otis solved the elevator safety problem, creating a safety device that would kick into place if the cables broke. He developed a wooden frame at the top of the car that would snap out to the walls of the shaft, stopping the elevator from plummeting to the ground.
The idea of the first escalator was patented in 1859 when Nathan Ames thought of the concept for “revolving stairs.” However, he never created a working model of his idea. In 1889, another intelligent dreamer patented four separate ideas for moving stairs, but he, too, never created any working models. It wasn’t until 1892 that Jesse Reno patented the “Endless Conveyor” then actually made his idea come to life, calling it an “inclined elevator,” which he installed at Coney Island 4 years later.
Four years after that, Charles Seeberger developed a prototype escalator that was built by the Otis Elevator Company, and he coined the word “escalator” by combining the Latin root words scala, e, and tor, which is roughly translated as “means of traversing from,” and it was his intent for the word to be pronounced “es-CAL-a-tor.”
The owner of leaser of a property that has an elevator and/or an escalator has a duty to maintain them so that they are safe to use by all invitees who may use them.
Selecting the perfect hotel is one the first items we check off our lists when planning a dream vacation. However, despite our best laid plans, each year, thousands of injuries – nearly 2% of all personal injuries in the Unites States! - occur in hotels. Hotel injuries result from various mishaps such as falls in the shower, burns from faulty shower settings, injuries from poorly positioned shelves or cabinets, structurally damaged beds or furniture, loose handicap rails in the bathroom, defective electronics, falls from balconies or open windows, broken tiles or walking surfaces, poorly lit stairways, loose carpeting, a leaking ceiling causing a wet, slippery floor, poolside accidents, drowning, lack of security enabling assault to guests, and more. (These examples don’t even include other hotel injuries such as injuries to hotel employees or food-related injuries in the hotel’s restaurant or from room service. Also, not included are acts of mass terrorism or single perpetrator rapes or robberies to targeted hotel guests.)
When an unforeseen accident happens, a long-awaited dream vacation can abruptly end in nightmare, leaving you or a loved one with a potentially life-changing injury.
Your stay at a hotel qualifies you as an invitee, and thus, makes the facility’s owner (whether personal or corporate) liable for your injuries if they were due to the negligent condition or maintenance of the hotel’s staff.
Swimming Pool and Poolside Accidents
While swimming pools provide hours of enjoyable entertainment during warm weather, they also offer the risk of potential injury or death. (Swimming pools are not the only water-based amenity to blame – Spas, hot tubs, whirlpool baths, and Jacuzzies are also potential deathtraps.) In fact, the World Health Organization credits drowning as the leading cause of unintentional death worldwide. 20% of people who drown are children under 14 years old, and the CDC accredits drowning as the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. In adults, alcohol is blamed for nearly three-fourths of pool-related accidents and deaths.
On average, the United States sees 10 people drown each day, and this figure doesn’t even compare to the thousands of swimming pool and spa-related injuries each year. For every child who drowns, another 5 require hospitalization for non-fatal submersion injuries. More than half of near-drowning victims require either hospitalization or other long-term care facility admission for their water accident-induced brain damage, temporary or permanent memory deficiencies, learning disabilities, permanent coma-state, or complete loss of basic functioning (vegetative state).
Swimming pool and spa related deaths and injuries are 100% preventable, and it is the pool and/or spa owners’ job to make sure their water recreational areas are safe. This includes keeping a security gate or fence around pools and spas in private homes and maintaining the pool deck area by making sure there are no cracks, holes, or other tripping hazards in the walkway around the pool, removing puddles of standing water or slimy areas which may cause someone to fall, keeping the area around the pool free from debris, toys, or other items which might cause a person to trip and fall, not allowing guests who have had too much to drink to lounge around the pool, and not allowing guests to dive if their pool is not deep enough to accommodate such activity. In public places such as community pools, health clubs, hotels, country clubs, etc., the facility’s due diligence must include keeping lifeguards on duty, maintaining the pool deck area by making sure there are no cracks, holes, or other tripping hazards in the walkway around the pool, keeping the area around the pool free from debris, toys, or other items which might cause a person to trip and fall, removing puddles of standing water or slimy areas which may cause someone to fall, not allowing guests to dive if their pool is not deep enough to accommodate such activity, not allowing guests who have had too much to drink to remain around the pool, providing adequate lighting for nighttime swimming, and having an impenetrable locked gate in place to close the pool area during times of lightening or other inclement weather, night time, times when the pool is closed, times when there is no lifeguard on duty, and to prevent unwelcomed guests or trespassers from sneaking in to use the pool and other water facilities.
Few would deny that hours spent on a trampoline are not only fun, but they provide exercise, agility, and strengthen core muscles. In fact, trampolines have been a popular backyard fixture ever since they were invented in the 1930s. It’s also why so many “trampoline parks” are popping up all over the place these days. (On average, more than 5 new trampoline parks open each month.)
However, despite the entertainment, fun, and even health benefits a trampoline can bring, they can also bring severe injuries, paralysis, or even death! That’s why homeowners’ insurance companies generally require additional liability coverage of between $50,000 to $100,000 on top of the standard $300,000 for homes without trampolines. That’s also why they have the right to cancel your policy if they learn that you have an unreported trampoline on your property.
The fact is, trampoline accidents in the United States are responsible for over 100,000 emergency room visits each year! Nearly one-third of those injuries include broken bones. 1 in 200 of these result in permanent neurological damage. And as many as 1 in 10 of these go on to require hospitalization. Common injuries from trampoline accidents include fractures, broken arms or legs, head injuries, concussions, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, and even death.
For trampolines at private residences, the incidence of children’s injuries can be greatly reduced by requiring adequate adult supervision, ensuring there is adequate protective netting and padding in place, inspecting the protective padding, net, and other safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition, not allowing children under the age of 6 to use trampolines, not allowing more than one person at a time to jump, and removing steps or ladders from the trampoline when not in use to prevent children from climbing on it without an adult present.
Theme Park Accidents
There’s no denying that theme parks provide some of the best fun in the world. There’s a reason that millions of people from all over corners of the globe flock to places such as Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Universal Studios, and other such places. In fact, Disney World alone boasts an average 52,900 visitors a day and 19,332,000 visitors per year. While many local residents may enjoy having an annual pass to any given theme-park, allowing them multiple visits per year, the majority of guests visit only once in any given year (and sometimes in their entire lifetime).
With numbers like these, the estimated 4 deaths per year attributed to amusement park rides seems rather unlikely. After all, these rides are inspected daily, and have been considered safe for decades.
However, injuries at amusement parks are a different story. In the Sunshine State alone, an average 1,200 people are injured annually at Florida’s theme parks. Theme park injuries are not only cause by the obvious rides. (In fact, most theme park injuries are not related to rides at all.)
Many theme park injuries (or deaths) are caused by trip-and-falls from debris on walkways or structural damage to walkways, slip-and-falls from slippery surface areas, cardiac events caused by undiagnosed illness, excessive heat or sun exposure, falls from broken or defective seating, cracked or broken teeth from non-food items found in food, dehydration, animal-related injuries, guests ignoring “keep out” or “keep off” warning signs, accidents involving trams, monorails, busses, or other park-provided transportation, injuries caused by other guests, airborne or waterborne illnesses, drownings, injuries caused by inclement weather or lightning, and the consumption of too much alcohol.
Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Call (863) 287-6388 in Polk County or (813) 287-6388 in Hillsborough County today to schedule a free confidential consultation with an attorney at Your Christian Law Firm, Dean Burnetti Law.
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We declare that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all. That the Holy Spirit abides in the midst of all within our halls. That the power of prayer is our shield and sword.
We declare that Christ is the cornerstone of this firm.
Lakeland: (863) 287-6388
Brandon: (813) 287-6388