We all look forward to the holidays because they offer the opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family, take a much-needed vacation, or simply revel in the goodwill and joy of the season. Unfortunately, holiday revelers are also subjected to an increased risk of being injured while celebrating. If you were injured while on the property of another person or business, you should consider pursuing a premises liability lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries.
Why Is the Risk of Injury Increased during the Holidays?
During the holidays, many of us spend time away from home. Whether that time away from home is a few hours or a few days, the odds are good that you will get away from home at some point over the holiday season. You may attend holiday parties, visit friends and family, take in a show, or go shopping for gifts. Some people also take advantage of the time off work to take a vacation or spend a day exploring nearby attractions and activities. Several factors increase the risk of being injured while you are on someone else’s property during the holiday season, including:
- Navigating unfamiliar parking lots, garages, and walkways.
- Packed shopping malls and retail stores
- Overwhelmed retailers trying to keep up with the holiday shopping
- Hotels at capacity with insufficient staff
- Over-indulged guests or family members
- Lack of supervision at swimming pools and water activities
What Are Some Common Types of Holiday Injuries?
A premises liability accident can happen at any time of the year; however, there are some injuries that are more likely to occur during the holidays, such as:
- Slip and fall injuries. Stores may leave boxes in aisles or fail to clean up liquid hazards, causing a slip-and-fall hazard. At a private residence, holiday celebrations may lead to the same type of hazards.
- Swimming pool injuries. Whether at a hotel or a private home, swimming pools pose a known hazard to children. Lack of adequate supervision, faulty construction, or improper maintenance can increase that risk.
- Physical or sexual assault. Hotels, parking garages, amusement parks, and other businesses have a duty to provide adequate lighting and security to decrease the risk of patrons being assaulted. If they fail in that duty, the owner may be held liable for injuries caused by a physical or sexual assault.
- Elevator and escalator injuries. Hotels, shopping malls, and amusement parks frequently use elevators and escalators to move visitors throughout the property. Failing to inspect and maintain an escalator or elevator can lead to injuries.
- Amusement park injuries. During the holidays, visitors from near and far flock to Florida’s amusement parks, often filling them to capacity. The sheer number of people at an amusement park can increase the risk of a variety of types of injuries.
- Falling object injuries. With shelves stocked to the rafters to keep up with the holiday demand, shoppers face the risk of being injured by a falling object every time they walk through a retail store.
What Is Premise Liability?
When you are injured while on the property of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through a premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability is a type of “tort” which is the legal word for the area of the law that allows an injured party to pursue damages for property or personal injuries.
Under the theory of premises liability, the owner or occupier of a property owes a duty of care to those people who visit the property. The extent of the duty of care that is owed to a visitor in the State of Florida depends on the visitor’s legal status as a public invitee/business licensee, a licensee, or a trespasser, defined as follows:
- Public invitee. A public invitee is someone invited to enter or remain on the land as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. Visitors to a city office or recreation area, for example, are public invitees.
- Business licensee. A business licensee is invited to enter a property or remain on site for a specific purpose that is directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the owner/occupier of the property. A hotel guest, visitor to an amusement park, or shopper at a retail store would be classified as a business licensee.
- Licensee. Licensees are divided into invited and uninvited licensees. Invited licensees are typically social guests of the property owner/occupier while an uninvited licensee is on the property for his/her own convenience without being invited.
- Trespasser. Someone who is not legally on the property is considered a trespasser.
What Must I Prove in a Florida Premises Liability Lawsuit?
To be successful in a Florida premises liability lawsuit, you must prove that the owner/occupier breached the applicable duty of care and that the breach caused or contributed to your injuries.
Public invitees, business licensees, and invited licensees are owed the highest duty of care, requiring the property to be kept in a reasonably safe condition and requiring the owner/occupier to make repairs or provide notice of any known dangers on the premises. An owner/occupier can also be held liable for dangerous conditions that they should have known about had they conducted a reasonable inspection.
For an uninvited licensee, the duty of care is the same as for an invited licensee except that the owner/occupier is not held liable for dangerous conditions of which they were unaware. The applicable duty of care for a trespasser only requires an owner/occupier to use reasonable care after the trespasser is discovered on the property.
Why Should I Pursue a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
Injuries sustained in a premises liability accident can be serious, even life-threatening. Despite the serious nature of many premises liability accidents, victims often hesitate to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. Sometimes, this is because the property owner is a friend or family member and they do not want to cause a rift. Other times it is because the victim is unaware that the property owner is potentially liable.
If you were injured on someone else’s property during the holidays, you may have suffered physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial hardship because of your injuries. Pursuing a premises liability lawsuit is the only way to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for all your injuries and financial losses. You may be legally entitled to compensation for things such as medical bills, mental anguish and suffering, and lost wages connected to your injuries.
Contact An Experienced Melbourne Personal Injury Lawyer at Layman Law Firm, P.L.
If you were injured while on someone else’s property during the holidays, contact an experienced Melbourne personal injury lawyer at Layman Law Firm, P.L. to discuss your legal options as soon as possible. We are committed to helping injured victims pursue a just and fair settlement for injuries sustained while on the property of another. If an out-of-court settlement is impossible to reach, we will aggressively fight for a favorable award in court. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 321-773-2111 or by filling out our convenient Intake Evaluation Form online.