According to the Tampa Bay Times, a broken sprinkler system drenched condo residents’ homes in early November. A worker on scaffolding at The Stovall on Bayshore Boulevard in Saint Petersburg nearly fell and had to grab onto a pipe to keep from falling farther, quite possibly to serious, or even fatal, injuries. Thankfully, I’m happy to report that the drywall worker escaped uninjured. The pipe, however, broke and let go thousands of gallons of water to spill inside the 22-story tower. Now, in early December, residents still aren’t back in their homes as electricity has not been restored to the 33 units in the close-knit residential community.
Residents of The Stovall are staying with family or friends, in hotels, or in second homes. Damages have been estimated in the millions but hopes are that residents will be able to return to their homes before Christmas. Who is responsible for paying for the damages? How long will it take before every unit has been completely restored to pre-water damage existence?
A spokesman for Tampa Fire Rescue likened the scene at The Stovall to “Disney World’s watery Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.” When firefighters arrived, they rapidly found the source of the problem and turned off the sprinkler pump, but by then, water was reportedly already “inches deep” and flowing into other units. A disaster response team brought in equipment to help get rid of the excess water and ensure the building was stable again. The electrical system of the building sustained major damage, which is why it is taking so long to get electrical utilities back up and running. As well, the water has caused some wood floors to become warped.
Will homeowners’ insurance cover all the damages? Will legal action be necessary to recover any damages not covered by insurance, either homeowners or contractors? Was anyone hurt in the aftermath? Did any of the residents sustain any injuries caused by the water damage or as a result of any water damage? These questions are yet to be answered. What does “personal injury” law or “premises liability” cover exactly?
Personal injury by definition can be rather vague and hard to define, yet it can cover a good many instances. It can also include Premises Liability in the form of tort litigation, which is where one party goes up against another over a matter in civil court. The term “individual” can also be used in place of “corporation” in some instances. In Tampa, personal injury law includes something called “the pre-litigation portion of a claim” and not all cases actually make it to a lawsuit. But, it can be taken to court, and some cases can take months or years to conclude.
Premises law covers cases where someone was injured due to a problem on someone else’s property. It can overlap with a variety of other types of injuries. If a property owner is found to be negligible in a way that causes hazardous conditions to exist and leads to injury of someone, then they could potentially be held responsible. Homeowners or property insurance can cover a good many situations, but if the insurance company doesn’t agree and doesn’t pay a legitimate claim, you do have the recourse to contact a personal injury attorney.
If you have been in a situation in St. Petersburg where you have been injured on someone else’s property, or because of another’s negligence, and you can’t get satisfaction through insurance or other means, contact a personal injury attorney to see if you may be able to file a lawsuit to recoup compensation for any losses you have suffered.