Every property owner has to ensure the safety of any person that enters their property. Under Florida’s premise liability law, property owners are liable for any injuries a visitor sustains at their home or property.
Premise liability claims in Florida are a form of negligence and are under the common law. Therefore, a person can seek compensation for their injuries or damages they incur in someone else’s property due to a defect or hazardous condition in the property.
The law does not only apply to homeowners but also any person that owns any property, be it small business owners or large commercial property owners. In a premise liability lawsuit, the victim has to prove that their injuries resulted from the property owner’s negligence.
Examples of Premise Liability Cases
Several reasons may lead to a premise liability case. But some of the most common examples include:
- A slip and fall accident in a store
- An elevator accident
- A construction defect that leads to an accident such as a hole on a walking pavement
- Accidents due to poor maintenance such as a broken staircase
In a premise liability case, some of the most common injuries that you may sustain include:
- Dog bites
- Head and brain injuries
- Foodborne illnesses
- Back and neck injuries
- Fractured or broken bones
If you’re injured in a premise liability accident, you should get immediate medical attention even if you feel okay. Sometimes, the injuries may not appear immediately after an accident only to appear in the days or weeks that follow.
For a victim to recover a premise liability claim, they have to prove that:
- The property owner knew of the dangerous condition of the property
- The owner did not show any signs indicating the state of the property or make any attempt to repair the condition
- The unsafe condition of the property injured the victim.
If the property owner had no prior knowledge of the property’s condition, they might not be held responsible for any injuries. However, the property owner has to make the necessary repairs of any known hazards in their property. They should also clearly indicate the dangers to warn visitors.
Different Levels of Duty of Care
Property owners owe their visitors different levels of care, depending on the circumstances each person goes into their property. In Florida, there are three different kinds of visitors:
- Business Invitees
These are people that enter a property to conduct business. Property owners owe them the highest level of care. They include shoppers in a grocery store or boutique and people that drive into a gas station for a re-fill. Workers invited to work on the premises also fall under this category.
Property owners have to ensure that the entire premise is safe and in good condition. They should also repair any damages and set up notices of any dangers on the premises. To prevent any premise liability cases, property owners should regularly inspect the property to ascertain there are no dangerous conditions that can lead to an accident.
The term refers to social guests who can appear at the property, whether through invitation or not. They can include family members, friends, and even neighbors. It can also refer to a person that visits their family member at their workplace.
Licensees receive the second-highest level of care. A property owner should keep their property in good condition to ensure that the licensees are always safe. They also must inform the licensees of any dangers that are around the property.
These are people that enter into private property without permission. Property owners still owe them a duty of care to prevent any intentional or reckless injury while on the property. Therefore, they should not set any booby traps that may cause harm to the trespasser. They also have to warn trespassers of any dangers that may not be visible through ordinary observation.
Special Exceptions for Children
The laws of Florida have special rules specifically created to protect children called the attractive nuisance doctrine. In these laws, property owners must protect children regardless of whether they are trespassing or invited, from conditions that may seem appealing and dangerous. A good example may be swimming pools, old cars, trampolines, or even old appliances.
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of a property owner or business, you could suffer serious injuries and incur expensive medical bills. Additionally, your injuries may keep you off from work for several months or even leave you permanently disabled. In such a situation, you should hold the negligent party liable to compensate you. To do so, ensure you consult a knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorney.
About Fetterman & Associates
Fetterman & Associates is a personal injury law firm that has been fighting for residents in Tampa and throughout Florida. The firm has a team of experienced attorneys that can handle personal injury, consumer protection, and business litigation cases.