Protecting Against Liability Issues for Commercial Real Property Owners and Insurance Coverage & Defense FAQ
Q:Is a landowner responsible for every injury or loss that occurs on its property?
A:No, negligence is not synonymous with strict liability. A property owner is not liable for every single injury or loss merely because it occurred on its property. Rather, the plaintiff must establish that the property owner breached its duty of care owed to the plaintiff and that such breach was the cause of the plaintiff’s damages. In premises liability cases, the property owner’s duty to the plaintiff is dependent on the plaintiff’s status to the land. Rosenthal Law Group can assist property owners in identifying what duty of care it owes to its patrons, consumers and invitees and what property owners should do to avoid and/or minimize the risk of breaching that standard of care.
Q:What can be done to avoid liability for injuries or losses that occur on my property?
A:Liability Waiver agreements are one means to avoid and/or minimize your liability for injuries or losses that occur on your property. However, liability waivers must be clear and unambiguous to be enforceable. Rosenthal Law Group has extensive experience in drafting liability waivers and litigating the enforceability of liability waivers when faced with challenges to enforceability.
Q:Are waiver agreements enforceable against minors?
A:Liability waivers against minors must follow the requirements set forth in Fla. Stat. §744.301. The waiver will not protect a property owner from liability from its own negligence but should protect the property owner against liability for injury or loss resulting from the inherent risks of the activity on the property. Rosenthal Law Group has extensive experience in drafting liability waivers and litigating the enforceability of liability waivers when faced with challenges to enforceability.
Q:What should I do if someone is injured on my property?
A:Promptly notify your insurer of any claim or lawsuit. Preserve all evidence, including any video surveillance of the incident. All initial investigations, including accident reports and witness communications, should remain confidential and privileged. Rosenthal Law Group represents property owners and/or their insurers in defending against premises liability and negligence claims. It is important to retain an attorney from the very onset of the claim to perform an initial investigation into liability and damages, including contacting witnesses, serving subpoenas, and establishing attorney-client privilege issues.
Q:Is my insurance company required to defend and indemnify a negligence lawsuit?
A:Most (if not all) insurance policies require timely notice of a claim or suit. Compliance with a notice provision is a condition precedent to coverage. Promptly notify your insurer of any claim or lawsuit. There is a distinction between a duty to defend and a duty to indemnify. A duty to defend is broader than a duty to indemnify. A duty to defend is triggered if there is a potential for coverage while a duty to indemnity is triggered when there is actual coverage. Rosenthal Law Group helps property owners determine potential sources of insurance coverage when faced with claims and represents property owners and/or their insurers in defending against premises liability and negligence suits.