When you visit another property, you assume that the owners of that property, including premises liability accident lawyers, will take minimum steps to keep you and other visitors as safe as possible throughout your visit.

Unfortunately, some property owners may not properly care for their property, increasing the odds of injuring you or other visitors.

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Public Versus Private Property

You may have the right to file an injury claim any time you suffer injuries on someone else’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. That includes incidents on a property where you have the legal right to visit. Private property owners have a duty to inform visitors of potential hazards and provide them with a safe experience when they visit. 

Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents

Many accidents can occur due to the negligence of a property owner. 

1. Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents represent one of the most common premises liability accidents.

Slips, trips, and falls can occur because of: 

  • Failure to clean up spills promptly. Water on the floor from rain tracking in spilled beverages and spilled chemicals can all create significant hazards for people trying to move through the property.
  • Clutter in the aisles. Often, people might trip over an item left on the floor. 
  • Damaged flooring or pavement. If the premises owner fails to properly maintain the property, especially when it comes to the flooring, that flooring can peel up over time. It may also have dangerous cracks that can increase the risk of a trip and fall.
  • Cords spread across walkways. Property owners sometimes may spread cords across walkways and fail to secure them properly. In other cases, vendors visiting the property may not secure cables safely.
  • Damaged stairs or handrails. Going up and down stairs proves more difficult for many people, including very young, elderly, and disabled individuals. Damaged stairs, uneven stairs, or handrails that do not provide adequate support increase the risk of falling while moving through the premises. 

Carefully maintaining the property can go a long way toward reducing the risk of falls and protecting people visiting the premises, as do policies that require prompt attention to spills, flooring damage, and obvious hazards. Slip and fall accidents can cause severe injury and substantial consequences, including broken hips in the elderly, broken bones in the hands and arms, or back and neck injuries. 

2. Falling Objects

Many retail businesses store items on high shelves that visitors cannot easily access without using a ladder or other assistive device. Workers may fail to properly secure these items to avoid the risk of a devastating accident. Falling objects can hit visitors on the head, causing traumatic brain injury, or lead to broken bones, sprains and strains, or back and neck injuries. In severe cases, falling objects, especially heavy or sharp objects, can kill the person they fall on.

Falling objects also remain a serious concern on construction sites, especially if construction workers fail to properly secure their tools when handling tasks around the job site. 

3. Fires

Businesses must adhere to specific fire prevention codes to ensure the safety of their workers and guests. Unfortunately, many business owners fail to take the steps necessary to protect against fire hazards, increasing the risk of a fire.

In addition, business owners often ignore the safety standards related to fire exits, which can increase the risk of serious burn injuries for people trapped in a burning building.

  • Businesses must have clearly marked fire exits. The number of exits and their locations may depend on the size of the building and the number of people that can enter that building.
  • Businesses must have a fire evacuation plan and provide training to employees on how to institute that plan. Knowing how to get people out in an emergency can help save lives and decrease the severity of injuries. 
  • To help protect against the impact of fire, businesses of a certain size must have fire suppression systems, including sprinkler systems, that can put out the flames in the event of a disaster. 
  • Employers must institute training regarding fire prevention practices, including ensuring that their employees know how to avoid potential hazards that could increase the risk of a fire in the facility. 
  • Fire extinguishers should sit at regular intervals throughout the facility. In addition to having fire extinguishers, employers should make sure that they regularly inspect them to ensure that they remain in proper working order. Employers may also need to provide training to help employees know how to use fire extinguishers in an emergency.

Businesses may bear liability for injuries sustained when they block fire exits or fail to properly maintain equipment and increasing the risk of a fire. When a fire occurs due to landlord negligence, including a fire in a private residence, the landlord may bear liability for failing to take care of those critical maintenance needs. 

4. Elevator and Escalator Accidents

Elevators and escalators pose a particular danger in many buildings. When elevator or escalator installation does not include proper safety procedures or the device lacks adequate safeguards, it can cause serious injury.

Elevator and escalator accidents can include:

  • Elevator doors open with no elevator in place.
  • Elevators fail to “catch” at the proper floor, sending them crashing down.
  • Escalators with inadequate safety railings in place. 
  • Elevators that open halfway between floors cause serious injury when passengers try to get out of the elevator. 
  • Crushing injuries from escalators that catch limbs in the heavy machinery. 

Proper maintenance of elevators and escalators reduces the risk of devastating accidents with these vital pieces of equipment. Careful evaluation of those devices on installation can also help protect against accidents that result in serious injury.

5. Negligent Security

Many venues must provide security to help protect visitors to those properties.

Security measures may include:

  • Strong locks on doors, especially hotel room doors or areas where guests expect privacy and safety.
  • Cameras in parking lots and parking garages to help catch intruders.
  • Adequate lighting in parking lots and around the building itself. 
  • Security guards to take care of physical incidents, especially around venues that have a high risk of crime

Facilities that do not provide adequate security can expose their visitors to higher levels of risk from violent or angry patrons. If negligent security causes a serious incident that injures a visitor to that venue, the facility may bear liability for that security lapse. The venue may also bear liability for negligent security when security officers do not step in to deal with a potentially dangerous situation. 

6. Swimming Pool Accidents

Swimming pools serve to help people cool off in the heat of summer. Many people visit hotels and local amenities and attractions for the primary purpose of relaxing in the pool at the end of the day, whether they travel for business or pleasure. Unfortunately, not every swimming pool offers a safe experience for visitors.

Poor maintenance can present hazards that make it difficult for visitors to safely enjoy their swim.

  • Toys, nets, and slides can create entrapment risks, leading to an increased risk of drowning incidents in the pool.
  • Dangerous chemicals in the pool can cause chemical burns or lung problems. 
  • Slippery surfaces, especially those the owners do not maintain regularly, increase the risk of a devastating fall around the pool. 

Furthermore, public and private pool owners may not take adequate precautions to prevent children and pets from slipping into swimming pool areas. Swimming pools count as an “attractive nuisance” that encourages kids to take a peek. Unfortunately, with inadequate fences and poor supervision, swimming pool owners may not keep kids out, which can lead to devastating accidents. 

7. Amusement Park Accidents

Amusement parks offer a great opportunity for families to come together and enjoy a fun day of rides, laughter, and excitement. Unfortunately, when park owners fail to take care of essential maintenance, it raises the odds of a devastating accident.

Amusement park accidents can occur when:

  • Ride operators allow riders to step outside the essential safety requirements of the ride, including riding when they weigh too much or allowing children who do not meet the minimum height or weight requirements to ride.
  • Operators and amusement park management allow rides to run despite clear dangers or apparent signs of problems with the equipment.
  • Equipment wears down over time but does not receive adequate inspections. 

Accidents can also occur because amusement parks do not post adequate warnings to protect against visitors getting into areas they should not: for example, failing to post warnings around areas where the roller coasters come too close to the ground or when patrons may face exposure to electricity due to the presence of open lines. Amusement park accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries as roller coasters fail to complete their journey safely, people fall out of their restraints, or the ride stops in the wrong location. 

Who Bears Liability for Premises Liability Accidents?

The property owner will often bear liability for a premises liability accident.

Owners may bear liability for:

  • Poor maintenance on the property. Poor property maintenance, including failing to fix problems mentioned by tenants or visitors, causes a large percentage of premises liability accidents, including slip and fall accidents and falling object incidents. 
  • Failure to protect dangerous areas. Property owners need to ensure that, for example, children cannot get to swimming pools or visitors cannot get to areas that pose a danger to them.
  • Failure to warn visitors about a potential danger. When visitors do not receive adequate warnings, they may prove more likely to end up in potentially dangerous areas, raising the risk of an accident. 

However, in some cases, the company that operates on a property, or the vendor, may bear liability for the incident. Liability may rest with the company operating on the property, but not the owner, when the company takes dangerous chances.

That may include:

  • Ignoring fire safety regulations and placing dangerous blocks in the way of fire exits. 
  • Failing to provide staff members with adequate training to avoid potential accidents.
  • Failing to clean up dangerous spills or items spread across the area.
  • Offering inadequate or negligent security, or failing to offer security at all, when the area can pose a particular danger to visitors. 

You may also find that vendors bear liability when they commit actions that can place a visitor in danger, like spreading a cord across a path or failing to block off a dangerous source of electricity that could pose a hazard to visitors. In some cases, more than one party may bear liability for the accident, as in cases where a vendor blocks off a fire exit, but the property owner does nothing to stop it. 

A Lawyer Can Help With Your Premises Liability Claim

Steven A. Bagen Attorney for Premises Liability Cases near Gainesville, Florida area
Steven A. Bagen, Premises Liability Lawyer in Gainesville, Florida area

When you suffer injuries in an accident due to a negligent property owner, vendor, or someone operating on a specific property, you may deserve compensation for any injuries you sustain.

A lawyer can determine who bears liability for your injuries, including whether multiple parties bear liability for the incident and how you can best pursue compensation for your damages.

Contact an accident injury attorney in Gainesville as soon after your accident as possible to start collecting evidence and protect your right to compensation.