Property owners in Port Richey have a legal obligation to keep their land safe. If someone sustains an injury because of a dangerous condition (such as a puddle), a landowner can be held legally responsible for these injuries. That means that they have a legal obligation to compensate the injury victim for financial losses, which is something known as premises liability.
Premises liability claims often involve slip and fall accidents. The victim might slip on crumbling stairs, in a poorly lit hallway, or on fallen produce in the grocery store that staff failed to clean up promptly. However, many other accidents can occur due to property hazards that an owner should have addressed.
Many situations can result in premises liability to the property owner. If a slip and fall accident has left you injured, you have legal rights that you want to protect. The experienced Port Richey premises liability lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers are here to help.
At Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers, our Port Richey premises liability lawyers do not require you to pay a fee upfront. We work on a contingency instead, meaning that we will receive an agreed-upon portion of your settlement or jury award. If our attorneys do not get the compensation for you, they do not get paid. Such an agreement makes them a financial partner in your Port Richey premises liability claim.
If an attorney must file a lawsuit on your behalf, the amount of work involved in your case increases dramatically. This increase is why some Port Richey premises liability lawyers may require a higher percentage of your award if they file a lawsuit or proceed through the litigation process.
Filing a lawsuit also incurs other fees, such as court costs, expert witness fees, and other litigation expenses. These, too, must be paid out of any settlement or jury award that your attorney obtains on your behalf. A written representation agreement will clearly state the terms of a contingency fee agreement. Be sure to ask your lawyer if you have any questions about their fees.
In the end, you pay nothing out of your own pocket and are more likely to recover more in damages than if you tried to negotiate on your own—even after your lawyer takes his or her fee. You have nothing to lose by calling us as (727) 845-5972.
All landowners have a legal duty of care, meaning that they cannot allow dangerous conditions to remain on their property. If a property owner violates this duty of care, and someone suffers an injury as a result, the landowner can be held legally responsible (liable) for compensating the victim for these injuries. This is why most homeowners insurance policies carry important liability coverage.
But what does this duty of care actually mean? What must the property owner specifically do? The answer depends on the status of both the landowner and the injury victim.
Private homeowners owe a duty of care to everyone who is on their property. For invited guests, they must warn of any hidden dangers that are known to the homeowner but not apparent to the guest. If there is a trespasser, the homeowner’s only obligation is to avoid intentionally injuring them.
There is an exception to this rule for child trespassers. If the homeowner has an “attractive nuisance” on their property, such as a trampoline or swimming pool, they must take steps to discourage children from trespassing onto the property to see it. If the homeowner does not, and children sustain injuries as a result, the homeowner can be held liable under this attractive nuisance doctrine.
Store owners and other commercial property managers have a heightened duty of care to guests invited onto their property. This duty exists because the owner invites the public onto the property for the owner’s financial benefit. Under these circumstances, the law requires commercial property owners to keep the property safe for the unsuspecting public invited there to spend money. Commercial property owners must actively inspect their land and make it safe. The duty of care applies to retail stores, gyms, hotels, parking garages, malls, and other types of commercial properties, from the Port Richey Walmart Supercenter and the Gulf View Square Mall to the entertainment hotspots in the Waterfront Bayou Business District.
There are many injuries you can suffer in a slip and fall accident and the severity of your injuries and your pain and suffering determines the amount of compensation you receive. If your injuries are severe or aggravated by other medical complications, it will take more money to compensate you for your losses. Below are some of the most common injuries our accident lawyers come across in slip and fall cases.
In some cases, a broken bone requires a simple setting. You might not even need a cast to let your bone heal. But not all bone breaks are this simple. They can become complicated by nerve damage, broken blood vessels, or other internal damage caused by bone shards inside your body.
Some victims have underlying medical conditions that make it harder for a bone to heal. Osteoporosis, for example, affects many people as they age, especially women. This condition makes it difficult to regrow bone tissue. If an osteoporosis patient suffers a broken bone in a slip and fall accident, her bone may never heal properly. She could suffer lifelong pain and discomfort from her injuries, and a negligent property owner would have a legal obligation to compensate her for these losses.
It is very common to suffer a sprain or strain in a slip and fall accident. These injuries affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other non-bony tissue in your body. They can also be difficult to prove. A sprain does not show up on an x-ray or lab results. Usually, doctors diagnose these injuries only on a patient’s reports of pain and discomfort. Insurance companies try to take advantage of this fact to pay less on injury claims involving soft tissue injuries.
A claims adjuster might tell you that your injuries weren’t really “that bad,” or that a jury will think you are exaggerating your pain, or that they are only allowed to pay limited compensation if you have no broken bones. These things simply are not true.
You have the right to be compensated for all of your pain and suffering, regardless of the types of injuries you have suffered. If the insurance company does not make a fair settlement offer, you have the right to take your case to trial and let a jury hear about how your injuries have affected you. They will then get to decide what your pain and suffering is truly worth.
Slip and fall injuries are not always minor. In some cases, a victim suffers a permanent injury or even disabled. These are costly injuries that require a lifetime of medical treatment and care. They also leave the victim with pain and suffering that also lasts for the rest of their life. Certain parts of the body are more sensitive and thus more likely to result in permanent injuries. For example, the brain controls the entire body.
Damage to the brain can result in physical and mental disabilities that seriously decrease the victim’s quality of life. They may never return to work or think as they did before. In very serious cases, the victim might never speak or communicate in other ways.
The spinal cord is another delicate body part. Injuries can leave the victim with poor motor control or impaired sensation. Very serious spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis or even death. You might think that a slip and fall accident could not possibly be this serious. It is, however, possible. Imagine that a victim took a bad fall down a flight of stairs. Or what if a poorly-maintained roof collapsed on the victim?
These are serious cases or premises liability that could result in a serious spinal cord injury. In these cases, the victim should receive compensation for all medical treatment and in-home care required for the rest of their life. They should also receive compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. These costs can become staggering during the course of a lifetime. Many paralysis cases become multi-million dollar settlements.
You might think that a simple slip and fall accident couldn’t really do that much damage. But the reality is that you could suffer many financial losses as a result of a slip, trip, or fall. These losses could continue for years or, in some cases, for the rest of your life. It is important to work with an experienced injury lawyer who understands how to prove all the financial and emotional losses you will suffer as a result of a slip and fall accident.
Your medical bills might not only represent the immediate cost of an ambulance, emergency room visit, surgery, or follow up appointments. You might require ongoing rehabilitation. Additional costs could stem from physical therapy, chiropractic care, or pain management. Some injury victims participate in these treatments for years to try to manage their pain.
If you have complicated injuries, you might need to consult with specialists or go through more testing to better understand your injuries. This process takes time and, even once it is complete, you might have to try several different treatments to find the one that is right for you.
Treatment can be a costly process for many accident victims. Many injury victims continue accruing medical bills for years after an accident occurs, making it clear why it is so important to work with an experienced injury lawyer who knows how to prove the projected future medical expenses you will incur due to the defendant’s negligence.
Most slip and fall victims end up missing some time from work. If you miss only a few hours right after the accident occurs, it is easy to calculate your lost wages by multiplying the hours you missed by your hourly wage. But what if you cannot go back to work full-time? What if you have to take on a lighter workload at a reduced rate of pay? What if you are no longer eligible for bonuses, overtime, or commissions due to your reduced workload or hours? All of these situations result in a decrease in your future earning capacity.
Defendants have a legal obligation to compensate you for all your lost wages, including any lost income in your future earnings. Injury lawyers know how to project these costs by working with expert witnesses. An economist can calculate the difference in your wages before and after an accident, apply that to the number of years between the accident and your expected retirement, then adjust the total for inflation. The economist might also add lost benefits, such as an employer’s contributions to health insurance premiums or retirement accounts.
The physical pain and discomfort caused by your injuries will not magically go away after a certain amount of time has passed. It could take weeks or even months to feel like yourself. If you must have surgery, it could take even longer, and the healing process could be more painful. Some injuries, especially nerve and muscle injuries, can cause residual pain that never goes away entirely, meaning that you could experience pain, discomfort, or other physical effects for decades to come.
This physical pain is in addition to the emotional suffering associated with an injury, such as the loss of pride that comes with the inability to work or the decreased enjoyment of life that comes with no longer engaging in a beloved hobby. These, too, are very real losses, and you deserve compensation for them.
Property owners in the United States are required to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable injuries on their property. What steps are “reasonable” can change based on whether the property has ownership of a business, a college, a nursing home, or a private homeowner. Still, it is important to consult with an attorney about any type of injury that occurs on someone else’s property.
Our experienced Port Richey premises liability attorneys at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can protect your legal rights and answer all your questions about your injury claim(s). The sooner you have an attorney fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be, so be sure to contact our office as soon as possible. In the meantime, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions our attorneys receive about Port Richey premises liability cases:
There are many ways to be injured on someone else’s property. In stores, the most common accident involves a slip and fall. These accidents most often occur in the produce section of a grocery store. When produce falls to the floor, it can leave a sticky mess that is likely to cause someone to slip. Grocery store owners must clear this area and keep it safe for their customers. You can also slip on leaking freezers, broken drink bottles, and other groceries that leave puddles.
Retail store managers must inspect their premises and make them safe for customers. If dangerous conditions are allowed to remain, store owners can be found legally at fault (or liable) for any injuries that they cause.
Slips, trips, and falls are not the only way to be injured. Consider all the many household accidents that occur right here in Florida every year. You could suffer an electric shock or burn because of a defective socket. You could suffer a thermal burn from a faucet connected to a defective water heater. You could suffer injuries by crumbling stairs, falling ceiling tiles, or other items in the house that the owner failed to properly maintain.
Homeowners’ insurance covers these injuries because homeowners are legally responsible (liable) for them. Landlords can also be held liable for dangerous conditions they allow to remain in a rental property or for failing to maintain the common areas of a rental complex in a safe condition.
Homeowners’ insurance covers injuries that occur on private property. This is not, of course, the only place where a person can be injured. Retail stores and other businesses carry large commercial insurance policies that cover injuries to customers. Accidents can also occur at work. Injured workers can often file both a workers’ compensation claim and a premises liability claim against an owner who failed to properly maintain the property.
The Special Rules for Airbnbs and College Campuses. AirBnBs have created an important question in premises liability law. While hotel owners must actively inspect their property and make it safe for guests, private homeowners usually need only warn their guests of hidden dangers. But what about Airbnb hosts? These hosts are usually private homeowners, but like a hotel owner, they are inviting the guest onto the property for their own financial benefit. There is not yet a clear answer on this issue. If you have suffered injuries in an Airbnb, VRBO, or other short-term rental property, be sure to consult with an injury lawyer about the specific facts of your case.
College campuses are also difficult to classify as either a home or a business. The school might have a different duty of care to a student who suffered injuries by negligent conditions in the dorms than it does to a student who suffers a violent attack due to poor lighting on campus. Here, too, it is important to get an attorney’s opinion about the specific circumstances of your injury claim.
The Special Rules for Nursing Homes. Like college campuses and AirBnBs, the rules are a little different when it comes to nursing homes and other care facilities. These businesses operate for financial gain. In exchange for money, they agree to care for those who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves. These limitations make the clients of care facilities vulnerable.
The rules of what is “reasonable” change when the defendant is a business that is making money by caring for an injured victim who is already vulnerable. If a resident slips and falls, it is easier to prove to a jury that the facility did not meet its duty of care because its duty was to specifically help the client avoid injuries.
Premises liability claims at nursing homes are not limited to slip and fall cases. Unfortunately, it is all too common for residents of care facilities to be abused. Their vulnerabilities make it more likely that they will face physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse – often at the hands of the very employees hired to care for them.
People often bring nursing home abuse and neglect cases on a theory of negligence, but they can also involve premises liability claims. If, for example, there were no security cameras to monitor residents in a remote part of the care facility, this could put them at risk for abuse. Or if the facility repeatedly refused to repair a broken security camera, this, too, could be a condition on the premises that leads to abuse injuries.
Many potential claims arise when a victim suffers injuries while in the care of a nursing home or care facility. It is especially important to hold these facilities accountable for their misdeeds to prevent other vulnerable victims from being abused in the same manner.
Like many other states, Florida follows the rules of comparative negligence. This means that each party is legally responsible (liable) for their own negligence. So if, for example, two drivers are equally at fault for causing a car accident, they may only recover half of the value of their injuries from the other driver. This works in a premises liability claim as well.
Suppose that you were in a hurry while shopping at the grocery store. In your hurry, you did not see a puddle of spilled milk on the floor and injured yourself by slipping in it. A jury could find you partly at fault for not being reasonably aware of your surroundings. But the jury is also likely to find the grocery store partly at fault for not maintaining safe conditions in its store. The jury might decide that you were 25 percent at fault and the grocery store was 75 percent liable. If the total value of your claim was $10,000, the grocery store would only have to pay you their portion of $7500.
Insurance companies are very fond of comparative negligence. If they can put any amount of blame on you, it reduces their financial obligations by thousands of dollars. But just because the insurance company says you were partly at fault does not mean that you actually were. Remember, they are trying to pay you as little as possible.
You need your own accident lawyer to give you a fair opinion about whether you were, in fact, partly at fault for causing your own injuries. Even if you were, your attorney can negotiate the amount of fault in the settlement process. By reducing your portion of fault, your attorney can add thousands of dollars to your final settlement. And if you cannot reach an agreement, you have the right to let a jury decide whether you were at fault (and if so, by how much).
As little as possible! Anything you say or do can be used against you by the insurance company. Even something you blurt out in the confusion of the accident (like “I’m so sorry!” or “that was my fault!”) could be used against you. This is why you must find the right injury attorney right away. As soon as the insurance company receives word that you have counsel, they may no longer contact you directly about the claim. All communications must go through your attorney’s office. This important protection ensures that you will not accidentally say something that could hurt your claim.
You are entitled to compensation for any wages you lose as a result of someone else’s negligence. In simple cases, where you miss just a day or two of work, your employer can provide a simple statement showing how many hours of work you lost and what your hourly rate of pay is. (If you receive a salary, this can be prorated, based on a forty-hour workweek.)
In cases of more serious injuries, you might not be able to return to your former position at all. You might have to accept a part-time position or one that is less physically demanding. If you have very serious permanent injuries, you might not ever be able to return to any type of employment. All of these scenarios represent a decrease in your future earning capacity. You are entitled to compensation for the wages you have already lost, the wages you will lose, and any additional components of employment compensation (such as bonuses or benefits) you lose because of your injuries.
For many injury victims, the more pressing concern is how they can pay the bills while they are out of work before their claim settles. This is a very real problem. It is important to plan ahead. Your lawyer can give you a better idea of how long your claim might take once he or she begins negotiating with the insurance company. This information can help you plan. Do not wait until you are already behind on your bills. By then, landlords and mortgage companies are usually not willing to work out a payment plan.
If, however, you explain the situation before you get behind on your payments, they are often more willing to work with you. Do not delay getting the medical treatment you need because of financial concerns. This can make your injuries worse, and it can also allow the insurance company to attack your claim. Your health insurance company – including Medicare and Medicaid – must still cover required medical treatments.
If you do not have health insurance, it is possible to find providers who will work on a lien. This means that they do not accept payment upfront. Instead, they file a lien against your premises liability settlement. When your case settles, and your attorney receives the funds, they will pay the provider from the proceeds before distributing your portion of the funds to you. There are many options for getting the treatment you need. Talk to your lawyer about your options for getting treatment while you are out of work.
How long a personal injury claim takes to resolve depends on many different factors. The more complex a case is, the longer it is likely to take to settle. Cases involving complex medical complications or challenging legal issues can drag out in litigation. The claims adjuster assigned to your case can also make a difference.
If the assigned adjuster is reasonable in settlement negotiations, it can be easier to reach a fair settlement out of court and skip the litigation process altogether. But some claims adjusters are simply stubborn. If this is the case, your attorney might have to file a lawsuit, even if the issues involved in the case are not particularly complex. Our lawyers will be able to give you a better idea of how long your case might take to resolve when you have your free consultation.
The experienced Port Richey premises liability lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers have experience handling all types of injury cases across Southern Florida. We have helped many accident victims get the compensation they deserve, and we will fight hard to protect your legal rights, too. Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. The sooner you have an experienced accident lawyer fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.
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