Often our blog entries that start out with a weekend party end with a reminder about the dangers of drinking and driving. However, our work as your Panama City injury law firm includes a wide spectrum of legal issues in addition to those stemming from automobile accidents. This includes claims stemming from dangerous property conditions, including those that fall into the realm of premises liability claims. As a story out of the state capitol reminds us, property dangers can turn a party into a frightening scene.
According to WJGH, officials estimate that around 100 people attended a gathering at a Tallahassee apartment that lasted into the early morning hours on Sunday. The party took an abrupt turn when the floor of the second-story apartment collapsed. Attendees and debris fell from the four-bedroom home into the building's clubroom. The incident occurred at the Seminole Grand apartment complex, a group of nearly 40 buildings on 44 acres constructed in 1995. Officials report that 55 people suffered injuries, with most involving broken bones and sprains. Initial estimates place the property damage at $250,000. The complex is close to both Florida A&M and Florida State University. Some reports suggest the fire code only allowed 11 people in the residence at a time.
As a general matter, a premises liability claim arises from the duty of a landowner or other party to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition or to provide warning to others who may not know of a potential property danger. A key element of proof in these cases is the defendant's right to maintain control over the property. Ownership alone does not show control. For example, if the owner leases the property out and has no right under the agreement to enter or control the property, the owner will not be liable in a premises liability case. Often, both an owner and tenant have some degree of control. The liable party must also have active or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.
The duty to maintain a safe property also depends on the status of the injured party. In order from the highest liability to the lowest, visitors are divided into three main groups:
We have experience representing injured people in Panama City premises liability lawsuits. We also understand other legal principles that may come into play in these cases, such as Florida construction defect law. Please call for a free consultation.