In the State of Florida, property owners have a duty to make sure that properties are safe for visitors. If a visitor is injured on someone else’s property, he or she may initiate a lawsuit against the property owner. The body of law that deals with these types of suits in Florida is known as premises liability law. If a person slips and falls on an object or foreign substance in a hotel where they are staying, the injured person must prove that the hotel had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken measures to correct it.
Necessary elements for claim.
The injured party must prove that the injuries were caused due to the property owner’s negligence, or the inability to maintain a safe environment for the guest because:
- A property owner knew of or created a dangerous condition,
- A property owner failed to remove or give warning to the dangerous condition,
- The injuries occurred due to the dangerous condition on the premises.
There are times when a property owner may be unaware of a dangerous condition on their property, and if a guest invitee notices a dangerous condition, they should exercise reasonable care for their own safety.
Types of damages.
In the State of Florida, the courts award both punitive damages and/or compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are those that will compensate a victim for a loss that can be measured or calculated; and punitive damages are those that will be a punishment to the person who caused the damage. Personal injury cases usually do not have punitive damages unless a willful act caused the damage.
Damages are classified as economic or non-economic. Economic damages include: medical expenses, lost income, property replacement values, loss of services, and funeral expenses related to loss of life due to the dangerous condition. Non-economic damages include loss that is not financial in nature such as: anxiety, pain and suffering; loss of capacity to enjoy life; and inconvenience caused by the accident.
Statute of limitations.
Florida lawsuits seeking compensation for personal injury have a clock of four years from the date of an accident to file a civil lawsuit. You must file the claim within that time period or the court will refuse to hear your case. Sometimes a person is not aware of an injury they sustained from an accident until sometime in the future, but if the injury can be directly associated with the accident and it was not “discovered” until a separate time, the filing window may be extended in certain cases.
Florida follows the “pure comparative negligence rule” meaning that if you were responsible for any part of the activities that led to your injury, the compensation you will receive will be adjusted in accordance with that percentage of fault assigned to you. Because the court systems in Florida follow this rule in injury cases, you may find that the insurance adjuster will also try to assign a degree of fault to decrease the settlement paid out for the accident.
Seek legal counsel.
Contact experienced legal professionals at Larson Johnson Trial Attorneys for a consultation to see what legal action you can initiate to cover the injury and damages caused from an accident in a Tampa hotel.
Larson Johnson, P.L.
2011 West Cleveland Street
Tampa, Florida 33606