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Orlando Man Awarded Over $1 Million In Suit Against City

An Orlando man who was seriously injured in 2012 when a tree fell on him while he was in his car was recently awarded $1.165 million in damages. The plaintiff’s suit alleged the city knew Laurel Oak trees planted around the city were severely damaged after a 2004 hurricane swept through the area but did nothing to alleviate the hazard.

According to the premises liability suit, the city knew back as far as 2007 the potential dangers the oak trees posed after ordering an inspection of trees citywide. Despite the knowledge, the trees were allowed to stand.

The victim in this case suffered multiple, severe injuries and had to undergo extensive corrective surgery including cervical fusion, a lumbar fusion, and carpal tunnel surgery. His total medical bills added up to almost $500,000 and he suffered excruciating pain in the process.

While the award came to over $1 million in damages with awards for pain and suffering, the plaintiff is only able to receive $200,000 under Florida’s sovereign immunity laws that limit damages. However, injury victims awarded compensation over the damage cap may be able to claim the rest of the award by filing a claims bill with the state legislature.

Orlando premises liability lawsuits

The plaintiff’s premises liability suit hinged on the legal doctrine that property owners owe a legal duty to visitors and travellers to take steps to prevent them from being placed in harm’s way and mitigate any reasonable foreseeable hazards. In this case, since the city conducted a survey of its trees in the downtown area, it was essentially “on notice” about the dangers the trees could pose and was negligent for its failure to remove them.

Negligence is the key component to premises liability and other personal injury lawsuits. Florida’s negligence laws hold plaintiffs must prove four key components of negligence to prevail in their lawsuit. This includes showing:

  • Duty – The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to behave in a certain way. In this case, it would be to remove the dangerous trees.
  • Breach – The defendant breached its duty by failing to act accordingly. Here, the plaintiff’s lawsuit showed the city did not remove the damaged trees.
  • Cause – The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of harm the the plaintiff. The case examined in this article shows the plaintiff was indeed harmed by a tree falling on him which the city knew to be dangerous.
  • Damages – The plaintiff must have suffered some kinds of damages as a result of the negligent acts allegedly perpetrated by the defendant. Medical bills and pain and suffering are some of the types of damages the plaintiff was able to recover in this tragic accident.

Orlando personal injury lawyers

If you or a loved one were hurt on someone else’s property, it could be because the owner, manager, or maintenance company did not take reasonable steps to prevent guests from being hurt. For a free consultation about your case, contact the experienced Orlando injury lawyers of The Pendas Law Firm. Our dedicated personal injury lawyers serve clients in Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.

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