Dangerous conditions on a property or in a vehicle are very often the result of inadequate maintenance. This is failure to maintain a property or equipment in good condition, and it can encompass a wide range of neglect, including:
- Cracked sidewalks;
- Unrepaired fixtures;
- Poorly repaired equipment;
- Improperly-stacked merchandise;
- Overgrown vegetation;
- Broken locks;
- Loose handrails or balcony barriers;
- Not regularly inspecting truck equipment;
- Failure to fix tools, machines or other equipment.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our inadequate maintenance attorney lawyers know these can be complex cases because there are a number of legal issues at play, including:
- Accepted industry standards;
- Legal requirements;
- Varying levels of care owed by a property owner based on guest designation;
- The duty of care owed by an employer or third-party on a work site.
Success in these cases requires the assistance of an experienced attorney at a financially secure law firm is necessary. Property owners and managers, as well as commercial trucking firms and other employers, know to anticipate that certain structures and systems are going to start to fail or degrade over time. To avoid the risk that these failures will result in an unreasonable risk of harm to someone, property owners need to make sure they initiate repairs and also that those repairs are conducted promptly and properly. That means not cutting corners just to save a buck. It means using reasonable care to identify possible dangers and timely fixing the problem or hiring someone who is qualified to do so.Examples of Inadequate Maintenance
There are many examples of personal injuries that can be caused by inadequate maintenance. These may include:
- Truck and Bus Accidents. Commercial trucks and buses that get a great deal of use and require constant maintenance. If the commercial carrier or owner doesn’t comply with federal laws or industry guidelines, that vehicle may not be safe for the road. Proving these cases often require compelling the company to produce internal records that can help prove the company was not in compliance.
- Premises Liability. Owners and operators of property – both private and public – owe a duty of care to those who are welcomed on site. The degree of care depends on what purpose the injured person had for being on the site. Those who are on the property for the financial benefit of the owner/operator are owed the highest duty of care. Property owners have a duty to regularly inspect a property and ensure it is reasonable safe from foreseeable risks, or else warn of those risks. Social guests/ licensees are owed the next highest level of care. Property owners don’t have to inspect the site regularly for licensees, but they do have to keep it reasonably safe and warn of risks. Trespassers are owed the lowest level of care, which is essentially that property owners can’t intentionally harm them. There are exceptions when the trespassers are children attracted to some feature of the property known to draw youths (i.e., swimming pools, old cars or appliances, caves, etc.).
- Elevator/ Escalator Accidents. This is a form of premises liability that often stems from building owners who fail to comply with guidelines for proper use and maintenance of escalators and lifts. The American Association for Justice reports elevator and escalator injuries and deaths have been rising in recent years, from 4,900 in 1990 to 12,260 in 2013. Some manufacturers and property owners will try to argue gross misuse (i.e., intoxication, horseplay, etc.), but the truth is, inadequate maintenance of these machines is a bigger issue than these companies lead on.
- Overgrown Vegetation. When a property owner fails to keep the trees, bushes or grass on their property trimmed and in good condition, there are all kinds of potential dangers. For example, if that vegetation is near a driveway or an intersection, it can block a drivers’ view of the street or sidewalk, which could result in a serious crash or pedestrian accident. In some instances, failure to trim trees or cut down dead or dying trees can result in serious injury if the branches or truck come crashing down on someone.
- Landlord Liability. F.S. 83.51 is a statute that requires landlords to comply with all applicable building, housing and health codes. Even when those codes aren’t applicable, landlords have a responsibility to maintain the roofs, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations and all other structural components.
- School District Liability. District school boards have to provide proper supervision for construction and ensure adequate maintenance and upkeep of school facilities per F.S. 1001.42 so students can attend classes and school functions without the risk of unreasonable danger.
- Condo/ HOA Liability. F.S. 718.111 requires condo associations to keep property insurance and provide for reconstruction, repair and replacement of public areas.
When injury occurs in Florida as a result of inadequate maintenance, you need a lawyer who understands the laws and industry guidelines and has the resources and commitment to fight for you.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.