Premises Liability

Serving Daytona, Deltona and Palm Coast

(updated 2/22/2017)

If you have been injured while on another’s property you may have a right to recover the costs of your damages. Florida courts have heard a lot of disputes regarding responsibility for injuries at different locations. Premises liability law has evolved to protect people who are injured when property owners’ fail to keep their properties safe.

The law attempts to cover all possible scenarios, but is based on the single premise that property owners have an obligation to keep their premises safe. The sometimes strict law can burden responsible parties, but it exists to prevent injuries. For example, if an owner is aware of a hazard on his property, he has a duty to make it reasonably safe. If for some reason he cannot fix it, because perhaps it will take too much time or money, he must at least warn visitors of the danger. 

If the property owner does not meet this duty and someone is injured, he will be liable for all injuries and any related damages the injured has suffered, like lost wages from time out of work or a family member’s loss of consortium. The law attempts to restore the injured party to as close to as he was before the defendant’s negligence or malicious act caused the injuries.

Why Type of Guest Were You?

Because people visit properties for different reasons, and have different expectations while they’re there, property owners are held to different levels of care under premises liability:

  • Invitees – are owed the highest level of care. Property owners own a business and invite customers to come in and spend money. They have a duty to inspect the premises and make sure it is safe. This the highest duty because owners may be liable for a hazard they didn’t even know about – a spill in a grocery store that may cause someone to slip and fall.
  • Licensees – are owed a slightly lower level of care. Property owners invite guests onto their property but not for commercial purposes. They have a duty to fix and/or warn about hazards they know about, but will not be liable for a danger they should have known about – in other words the guest has a higher duty of responsibility for himself.
  • Trespassers – are still owed some level of care. Property owners obviously do not invite trespassers on their premises, so they owe them a low level of care. Still, they will be liable for injuries caused by hazards that they created intentionally, and perhaps for attractive nuisances with regard to children – an unsecured pool where children’s trespassing is foreseeable.

Your reason for being on the premises, and the property owner’s knowledge of the hazard that caused your injury will be key factors in determining your recovery in an injury suffered on another’s property. A law firm experienced in investigating accidents and assessing damages will also be key in determining your recovery. If you have been injured and believe another property owner had some responsibility for your damages then consult an attorney to have your case evaluated.

Florida Premises Liability

Florida law requires an owner of a property to maintain that property responsibly so that visitors are safe.  The owner of a property must maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.  Failure to do so may entitle a person who is injured on the property to hold an owner responsible for medical expenses and other damages that arise out of an injury.

Responsible Party

Although Florida law requires an owner to take reasonable care to ensure safety of their premises, the degree of that obligation can change depending on the type of relationship an injured party has to the property. For instance, an invitee is considered to be “any business invitee, including a customer or visitor, who is lawfully on the premises of a public or private employer.” 

Property owners who run a business are held strictly liable for keeping a safe environment. Thus, business property owners must be active in an attempt to protect against and warn of dangerous conditions in a timely manner. On the other hand, if one is considered to be a trespasser to property, property owners do not have a responsibility to warn or fix dangerous conditions on their property. 

However, in the instance that a property owner has reason to believe a trespasser may enter the property without permission, that owner could become liable for injuries that occur as a result of a defect on the property. Lastly, if one is what is considered to be a “social licensee,” property owners may be liable for the injuries that arise on their property, depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury.

Common Accidents

Premise liability cases cover a large spectrum of cases. For instance, a property owner could be found liable for any of the following:

  • Slip and falls
  • Sexual assaults on their property
  • Physical assaults on their property
  • Trip and falls
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Dog bites
  • Swimming pool injuries

Injuries & Damages

Many different injuries can result from a premises liability accident.  For instance, drowning is a leading cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 4.  Drowning can result from a premises liability case where a property owner does not ensure that there are proper lifeguards and other staff to protect invitees or licensees.

 Additionally, injuries like fractures, lacerations and/or spinal cord injuries can result from a slip and fall accident due to poorly maintained premises. Medical treatment for injuries can be expensive.  Often times, individuals who have suffered an injury will require more than just one visit to a medical doctor.  Months or even years of treatment can result from the most minor injuries.

Legal Action

Legal action may not always be required in a premises liability incident, but when it is you or a loved one will need the help of an experienced premises liability lawyer who can get you the outcome you deserve.  When another person is responsible for your injuries, you are entitled to just compensation.

If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property and are unsure of what the next steps should be, our specialized premises liability lawyers can help you. You can call us at (386) 777-7777 or fill out our online contact form below for a free case evaluation. Get the compensation you deserve.

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