$6 Million Verdict against Ford Aerostar

In 2007, Deborah J. Gander obtained a $6 million verdict against Ford in a personal injury case arising out of injuries received when the roof of a Ford Aerostar 15 passenger van failed in an accident.


Premises liability is the legal concept where the owner of a property is ultimately responsible for any injuries suffered by people on those premises due to negligence. Although residential homeowners are liable for their properties, business owners have an even higher standard of care owed to their customers. This is because a business specifically invites people onto its property for its own monetary benefit.

Colson Hicks Eidson has enjoyed tremendous success representing a wide range of clients, and our personal injury lawyers have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts over the decades. Because we are located in South Florida, a popular tourist destination, we have significant experience regarding Florida premises liability cases involving hotels and resorts as well as cruise ship accidents. We also have the resources and experience needed to successfully handle premises liability injury claims nationwide.


Premises liability will arise when a person is injured on another’s property due to negligence. The following scenarios are some common types of premises liability cases, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • Slip and fall accidents due to a hazardous conditions on the floor:
    • Spills on the floor
    • Debris or merchandise blocking the aisles
    • Unmarked wet floors from cleaning
    • Lack of handrails or guardrails
    • Uneven flooring
  • Injury or assault due to negligent security:
    • Failure to provide adequate security personnel
    • Lack of sufficient lighting
    • Lack of locks on doors or windows
  • Harm from a defect on the property:
    • Cracks in the sidewalk for which the owner is responsible
    • Faulty electrical work resulting in electrocution
    • Furniture collapse in hotels or on cruise ships
  • Drowning or other harm at a swimming pool:
    • Failure to fence the pool in accordance with the law
    • Lack of lifeguards and supervision
    • Lack of pool maintenance causing injury


Unsafe conditions on a property can lead to significant injuries for guests, visitors, and workers. At Colson Hicks Eidson, our Florida premises liability lawyers are available to help clients who have sustained the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Other severe neck or back injury
  • Broken bones
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Electrical shock injuries
  • Lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Illnesses caused by toxic chemical exposure
  • Illnesses caused by ingesting harmful food or beverages
  • Drowning or near-drowning injuries


This is not an exhaustive list of the types of injuries that can occur when a property owner or their employees are negligent. If you have any questions about your particular case, please contact one of our lawyers as soon as possible.


In order to prove liability in these cases, an injury victim and their attorney will work to show that another party should be held liable for what happened. There are four elements of negligence that need to be proven in order for a claim to be successful.

  • Duty: Property owners are generally required to exercise reasonable care in the ownership and maintenance of their property, particularly with respect to all persons who might come onto the property. In general, if the injured person had a right to be on the premises, then the property owner owed them a duty of care to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.
  • Breach of duty: After a duty of care has been established, it needs to be shown that the property owner breached their duty in some way. This can include allowing for unsafe conditions to arise on the property. This can be proven in a number of ways and will be done by gathering various types of evidence.
  • Causation: After a breach of duty has been established, it needs to be shown that this breach directly caused injuries to the victim.
  • Damages: Finally, the injury victim must have sustained some sort of injury that can be monetarily compensated.


Proving these elements of negligence can be difficult for a person with limited legal experience and few resources. Our lawyers will be able to handle every aspect of these cases in order to secure maximum compensation for the client.


Studying a basic example of a premises liability case can help you better understand the critical role a Florida personal injury law firm can play in the outcome of your claim or lawsuit.

Perhaps you are shopping at a local grocery store. In the next aisle, another shopper has knocked an item from its shelving to the floor. The other shopper didn’t realize this happened and thus did not place the item back on its shelf.

You turn the corner and, despite generally paying attention to your surroundings, do not see the item on the floor, tripping over it as a result. This causes you to sustain injuries requiring medical treatment.

Now, you want to file a claim to collect from the insurance of the grocery store’s owners. You believe you deserve to be compensated because no one working for the store noticed the item on the floor and returned it to its place on the shelf before your accident happened.

To recover the compensation you’re seeking in these circumstances, you must demonstrate that by the time you were injured, if store management or store employees had been reasonably keeping an eye out for hazards, someone would have spotted the item and removed it from the floor.

This is critical. Premises liability laws only require property owners and managers to take reasonable steps to prevent accidents from occurring on their properties. It would not be reasonable to hold a property owner accountable in this scenario if you slipped over the item just a few short moments after it was knocked down.

There are various ways you could potentially demonstrate that your accident happened because ownership or management was negligent. For instance, there may be security footage of your accident showing that a fairly substantial amount of time had passed between when the other shopper knocked the item to the floor and when you tripped over it. Witnesses might also be able to provide testimony indicating that workers at the store ignored this hazard instead of addressing it before the accident happened.

Gathering evidence and coordinating with witnesses are not tasks you need to handle on your own. A Florida premises liability attorney can investigate your accident and gather the evidence you need to demonstrate that you were injured because someone was unreasonably careless. They will help you strengthen your case so that an insurance company cannot justify denying the claim.


Victims in Florida premises liability cases must understand that insurance companies are not in the business of paying claimants when doing so can be avoided. Even if an insurer is unable to deny your claim altogether, if you do not have proper legal representation, an insurance company might try to convince you to settle for less than you deserve.

This is another reason to hire a Florida premises liability lawyer. We will carefully review the details of your case to thoroughly understand the extent and severity of your losses and damages. If an insurer attempts to settle your claim for less than it is worth, we are prepared to negotiate for a more appropriate settlement on your behalf. Keep in mind that allowing us to handle your case gives you more time to focus on your recovery.


If you have ever been injured on someone else’s property due to their carelessness or negligence, even if a third party was involved, you can rest assured the premises liability attorneys in Florida at Colson Hicks Eidson have the experience needed to represent you in court.

Call 305-476-7400 or submit a form to schedule a consultation with our injury attorneys today.


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At Colson Hicks Eidson, we are committed to providing our clients with the best possible legal representation in litigation. With our experienced attorneys, in-depth knowledge of the law, and commitment to our clients’ success, we are the go-to firm for complex civil litigation matters. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.