Anyone who allows others onto their private property—whether for commercial, occupational, or social purposes—takes on a “duty of care” that requires them to take certain precautions to protect visitors from harm. However, the exact nature of this “duty” can change a lot depending on the circumstances, making filing suit over an injury sustained on someone else’s land a complicated process.

When you are injured in an accident that you believe stemmed from unreasonably dangerous property conditions, you should make contacting an experienced personal injury attorney one of your top priorities. A Tampa premises liability lawyer at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys could collect evidence demonstrating property owner fault and file a claim seeking fair payments for your losses.

What Makes a Landowner Liable for an Injury?

In general, property owners in Florida are expected to keep their land in a reasonably safe condition and to warn lawful visitors about hazards they know about but have not yet fixed or cordoned off. In addition, if the visitor is an “invitee” who is on the landowner’s property lawfully and either for the landowner’s financial benefit or to use public land for its intended purpose(s), the landowner must regularly inspect their property so they can identify new hazards and address them quickly after they arise.

Things get a little more complicated with “licensees,” or visitors on private property lawfully and for their own purposes. Florida law treats “invited licensees” such as houseguests at a private party as effectively identical to invitees. However, suppose someone is an “uninvited licensee” on private property lawfully but without an express invitation from the landowner. In that case, that landowner is only liable for causing “wanton or willful” injury to that visitor and usually not for any harm the visitor suffers by accident.

Landowners are likewise only liable for intentional harm caused to unlawful “trespassers” under most circumstances. However, this rule has some exceptions, as our knowledgeable Tampa premises liability attorneys could explain in further detail during an initial consultation. For example, if a trespasser is a minor child drawn onto private property by an unsecured “attractive nuisance,” such as a swimming pool.

Personal Liability v. Premises Liability

Premises liability is not the same as personal liability—typically in the form of negligence—despite being similar. Both personal negligence actions and premises liability claims require certain elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

The most important difference is that premises liability deals with a property owner’s duty of care, which varies depending on the victim’s role, as described above. The categories of invitee, licensee, and trespasser determine what duty of care a property owner owes, which in turn lets the legal system determine if the duty was breached and if that breach caused the injury and damages.

Personal liability based on negligence starts from a different duty of care—reasonable actions by a person in the same position. So, instead of a duty assigned to a property owner because someone enters the property, personal liability focuses on the actions (or inaction) of a person closer to the incident before looking at breach, causation, and damages.

A qualified premises liability lawyer in Tampa could help you sort out what kind of claim you can bring based on your injury and accident.

The Possible Impact of Comparative Fault

Even if a landowner is legally liable for a visitor’s injuries based on a breach of their duty of care, that visitor may be prohibited from recovering fully for their injuries and ensuing losses if they, too, were negligent in some way. As per Florida Statutes § 768.81, any percentage of “comparative fault” assigned to an injured person based on the degree to which they contributed to causing their injuries through their own misconduct may be held against them as a proportional reduction from any damage award they ultimately receive.

Fortunately, Florida is a “pure comparative fault” state, which means there is no amount of fault a civil plaintiff can hold that would completely disqualify them from seeking any compensation whatsoever. That said, assistance from a skilled lawyer could be key to contesting allegations of comparative fault and maximizing available recovery during a property liability claim in Tampa.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases

Even if you have a premises liability claim and can navigate comparative fault, you still need to consider the statute of limitations. Every state prohibits civil suits for most claims after a certain period, and Florida limits the window for bringing a premises liability suit.

Under Fla. Stat. § 95.11, most plaintiffs must file a claim within four years, including for premises liability suits. But certain situations and related claims can change that timeframe, such as a claim for wrongful death coming out of a premises liability situation, which must be brought within two years of the death. Negligence actions fall under the two-year limit, too, so if your claim must change to a normal negligence suit instead of premises liability, you may need to move even faster.

Our dedicated team of legal professionals at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys could make sure that the time limits set by Florida’s statute of limitations do not rob you of the chance to make your claim and set things right. By telling us about your accident and the surrounding circumstances, you can bring the right claim at the right time.

Contact a Tampa Premises Liability Attorney Today

Property liability litigation can be challenging under even the most favorable circumstances, especially if you are still dealing with serious injuries due to a landowner’s negligence. Fortunately, you have help available from knowledgeable legal professionals with a track record of getting successful results from cases much like yours in the past.

A conversation with a Tampa premises liability lawyer at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys could provide you with crucial guidance about your rights and recovery options. Schedule a free meeting by calling today.

Perenich Law injury Attorneys

Perenich Law injury Attorneys N/a
2511 West Columbus Dr.
FL 33607
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(813) 694-7940