Property owners in Florida know that they are responsible for property maintenance. If the owner fails to make repairs or otherwise maintain the property and someone is injured, this may result in premises liability. The person who was injured must prove that the property owner was negligent.
If, for example, a store owner knows that the steps leading out of the establishment are cracked and might cause someone to trip and a customer falls and is injured while leaving the store, the store owner may be considered negligent. The store owner may argue that he or she was not responsible and disavow a claim of premises liability. It is the responsibility of the injured individual to prove that the store owner should have taken appropriate actions to make the area safe and, due to his or her negligence in doing that, is liable.
Negligence is often difficult to prove; however, the plaintiff may use a legal theory called res ipsa loquitor to prove negligence through circumstantial evidence. The concept that the circumstances speak for themselves puts the defendant in the position of proving he or she was not negligent.
In order to use this doctrine, the plaintiff must show the incident would not have happened if the store owner was not negligent and must show that the store owner is solely responsible and obligated to provide the customer with safety on the premises. Alternately, the store owner might argue that the customer was not looking where he or she was going and had some degree of responsibility for the accident in which he or she was injured.
An attorney may help an injured individual show a court or jury that negligence existed. The attorney may help the injured individual recover losses due to medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering.