How Can I Make a Claim if I Am Injured in a Public Place?
Tripping or falling in a public place can feel embarrassing, but if your fall caused injuries, you may suffer far more than a bruised ego. These preventable accidents can cause physical and psychological, and financial harm.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, premises liability claims involving public places can be complicated and require the guidance of seasoned lawyers. Successful claims hinge on proving that your injury was caused by the negligence of a person or entity who failed to ensure their premises were safe for visitors or failed to adequately warn about potential hazards.
The Orlando premises liability lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright know how complicated these cases can be. We understand the complexities of Florida and fully investigate every case to help our clients pursue the maximum compensation to which they may be entitled under the law.
8 Steps for Filing a Claim if You Were Injured in a Public Place
From parks to government buildings, there are lots of public places in Orlando. Unfortunately, lots of accidents happen in these public places as well. If you have been injured on public property, how can you file a claim? Below, we walk you through what you need to know.
1. Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
As with any type of premises liability claim, if you were injured on public property, it is important that you seek medical treatment right away. Tell your doctor how and where you got injured, and describe your symptoms with as much detail as possible.
2. Confirm Whether the Property is Public or Private
Many spaces that most people would consider “public” are actually owned by private businesses. For example, many sidewalks, parking lots, parking garages, and community pools are privately-owned. Amusement parks, sports stadiums, and entertainment venues are also generally private property even though they are open to the public.
If you have a claim against a private property owner, then your case will be governed by Florida’s “ordinary” premises liability laws. You can learn more about these laws in our premises liability overview. If you have a claim against a government entity for injuries you sustained on public property, then an entirely different set of laws applies.
3. Determine What Government Entity is Legally Responsible for the Property Where You Got Injured
Assuming you were injured in a public place, you will need to determine what government entity is legally responsible. Do you have a claim against a municipality, school board, or other local entity? Or, do you have a claim against the State of Florida? Determining what government entity is legally responsible for public property is not necessarily a straightforward process, so you will need to hire a law firm to investigate.
4. File a Pre-Suit Notice in Compliance with Florida’s Tort Claims Act
Claims against government entities are governed by Florida’s Tort Claims Act. This law establishes several unique requirements, one of which is providing notice to the appropriate government entity before you file a lawsuit. This pre-suit notice must contain all required information in order to be valid, and you must file it on time in order to preserve your legal rights.
5. Calculate the Financial and Non-Financial Costs of Your Injuries
Just like claims involving private property, if you were injured on public property you can seek just compensation for all of the financial and non-financial costs of your injuries. You will need to work with your Orlando premises liability lawyer to calculate these costs appropriately.
Note, however, that Florida’s Tort Claims Act caps the amount of damages that individuals can recover for injuries sustained on public property. As a result, regardless of the actual costs of your injuries, you can recover no more than $200,000 in a premises liability claim against a state or local government entity.
6. Document the Costs of Your Injuries
As your case progresses, it will be important for you to document the costs of your injuries. You should get in the habit of keeping your medical and employment records together in a safe place. You should also take notes describing your pain levels and the other effects of your injuries on a daily basis.
7. Follow Through with Your Medical Treatment
Many injury victims make the mistake of failing to follow through with their medical treatment. When pursuing a premises liability claim against a government entity, following your doctor’s advice is important not only for your physical recovery, but for your financial recovery as well.
8. Choose a Reputable Law Firm that has Experience Handling Premises Liability Claims Involving Public Property
If you have a premises liability claim against a government entity in Florida, your choice of legal representation matters. It is extremely important that you choose a law firm that has experience handling cases like yours. Premises liability cases under the Florida Tort Claims Act are subject to unique rules and requirements, and you need to know that your law firm is capable of asserting your legal rights effectively.
Speak with an Orlando Premises Liability Lawyer for Free
If you were injured in a public place and need to know more about how to file a claim, contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. You can reach us by phone at (800) 766-1000 or get in touch online 24/7.