Sliding Glass Door Accidents
To take advantage of Florida’s beautiful ocean views and balmy weather, many residents choose to install sliding glass doors in their homes and businesses. While this may make it easier to enjoy all that Florida has to offer, it can also pose a risk to visitors. While those who are injured by someone else’s glass door may be able to collect compensation for their losses, whether or not they are able to do so will depend on whether they can prove that the placement of the door constituted a dangerous condition. Proving this can be an uphill battle and the advice of an attorney can make all the difference in the outcome of the case, so if you were injured on someone else’s property in a glass door accident, it is critical to speak with an experienced premises liability lawyer who can protect your interests.
What Qualifies as a Dangerous Condition?
In Florida, property owners who have dangerous conditions on their land are required to take certain steps to keep visitors safe. This includes warning them of the danger and taking reasonable steps to fix the problem. When property owners fail to fulfill these duties, they can be held liable in court. However, whether glass doors qualify as a dangerous condition is not always clear and depends on a series of factors, including:
- The location of the door;
- The age of the injured party;
- The light conditions at the time of the accident;
- Whether there were decals or other markings that would indicate whether the door was open or closed;
- The amount of activity on the premises; and
- Whether the door had been consistently opened or closed all day.
These conditions apply to all glass doors, regardless of whether they are used in residential homes or in commercial spaces.
Glass doors are not all made out of the same kind of glass. For example, some people choose to use tempered glass, which is also known as safety glass, when installing their doors. Tempered glass is generally safer in the event of breakage, as it crumbles into small bits when enough force is applied. Ordinary glass doors, on the other hand, tend to break into large, dangerous shards, some of which fall from the door while others remain in the door frame. When a building code requires that all glass doors be made with tempered glass, landlords and homeowners who fail to comply can be held liable for damages. In these cases, the Florida Supreme Court has clearly stated that non-compliant glass doors do qualify as a dangerous condition. Because it is so difficult to tell what a door is made of just by looking at it, blame cannot always be laid at the feet of landlords who are not required to look for latent defects. However, if the landlord or tenant had known that the doors were not made of safety glass and failed to warn tenants or guests, they could be required to compensate injured victims.
Similarly, store owners are not held automatically liable for glass door accidents, but can be required to pay damages if a court determines that the owner could reasonably anticipate the type of events that would allow a glass door accident to occur.
Get the Legal Representation You Deserve
Although difficult, it is possible to recover damages for a glass door accident in Fort Lauderdale. Please contact Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 to discuss your case with a dedicated premises liability lawyer.