Early last week, a young boy was unfortunately killed in a tragic accident while he was looking for his pet hamster. A local Florida newspaper reported that the boy was 12 years old and lived in Bradenton, Florida. The young child’s pet hamster had become lost on the day of the incident. The boy proceeded to look for the hamster in an elevator at his home, an apartment complex. When the child was searching for the hamster, somehow the elevator malfunctioned. When he was in the elevator shaft, the elevator lowered on him.
The impact of the elevator crushed the young child. Emergency personnel arrived at around 11:30 a.m. The boy was declared dead shortly after that time at the scene of the accident. Apparently, the child’s father was home at the time of the accident. The news has not currently reported any more details regarding any fault in the accident.
Premises Liability in Florida
Although the above case is a particularly tragic one, it does not negate liability for the owner of the property or the operator of the elevator. Florida, like most of the country, has certain rules regulating how property owners must maintain their premises. When an individual is hurt on someone else’s property and wants to bring a negligence suit against the owner or operator of the property, he or she must determine what his or her status was at the time of the injury. There are three general types of statuses: trespassers, licensees, or invitees.
In the above case, it is unclear what the status of the young boy was. There are several things that may be at play, including whether the family owned or rented the property, whether the elevator malfunctioned, and whether there was any mistake or negligence on the part of the young boy.
In Florida, if an individual was allowed to be on the property during the time that the accident took place, that individual will likely be considered a “trespasser.” Generally, trespassers are given the least amount of protection and property owners in these situations are not often held liable. Next are “invitees,” who are individuals who are invited and allowed to be on the property. These people are given the highest amount of protection. In the middle lies the class of “licensee.” A licensee is someone who is on the property for his or her own convenience. They are not usually expressly invited but are allowed to be on the land. The landowner usually just has to keep the land reasonably safe for licensees.
If, for example, the family in the aforementioned case wanted to bring a suit against the property owner, it would be important for them to determine their status. Then they would need to establish how the property owner was negligent, including evaluating the maintenance and security of the elevator.
Have You Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
If you have been injured on another’s property due to that party’s negligence, you may be able to bring a suit under a premises liability theory. It is important to contact an attorney in these cases because there are many crucial elements of the case that need to be established before the case can be heard by a judge or jury. Compensation awards can include amounts for past medical bills, future medical expenses, and potentially pain and suffering. Call 352-387-8700 to contact one of the dedicated and experienced attorneys at the Dean Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation with an attorney.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Helicopter Crash Results in $16 Million Verdict, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 3, 2014.
Florida Police Patrol Car Gets into Accident with SUV, Ocala Injury Lawyers Blog, published December 13, 2014.