Florida premises liability laws outline a landowner’s duty of care toward individuals when they are on the property. But what does it mean to be a visitor and how might that affect an injury claim? Well, there are three types of visitor classifications that are relevant to determining liability in these cases:
Under this visitor status, landowners have the greatest duty of care according to Florida law. An invitee may be a person who is a member of the public invited to use a public place, such as a park or hospital. They may also be a business invitee who enters the property for business dealings. And of course, an invitee may be a guest you invited into your private home.
A licensee can be invited or uninvited. An invited licensee might be someone like a third-party vendor that provides services to you or your business. This could include plumbers, electricians or other workers that help maintain the premises. You have the same duty of care toward these invited licensees as you do invitees. Then there are uninvited licensees. An example of an uninvited licensee is a salesman who visits your home or business. Because you did not invite this person, your duty of care is to not intentionally harm them.
A trespasser is an unwanted individual on your home or business property. A landowner cannot intentionally harm a trespasser unless the trespasser is posing a serious threat to someone else on the property. But a trespasser does not have the same expectation of landowner protection as an invitee or licensee.
OUTLINING A LANDOWNER’S DUTY OF CARE
The law outlines several precautions that a landowner must take to protect invitees and licensees.
First, landowners must maintain upkeep for the premises so that it is reasonably safe for visitors. When maintaining the area, landowners should also protect visitors from crimes as best as they can.
Secondly, for any dangers that the landowner cannot immediately remedy, the owner must warn visitors of the dangers present. This can be through signage or verbally instructing visitors to watch their step or use extreme care when entering the facility.
As explained above, the visitor’s status will determine the landowner’s duty of care toward them. Individuals evaluating whether to pursue a premises liability case should discuss their purpose on the property with a Florida attorney.
WHEN A VICTIM CONTRIBUTES TO INJURY
Even if you are an invitee or welcomed licensee, you’re not guaranteed protection if you’re injured on someone else’s property. Another important aspect of a premises liability case is whether the victim acted safely and appropriately given the circumstances. For example, if a hazard is apparent and a reasonable person would be able to recognize that hazard, then the courts might rule that the victim was partially at-fault for the accident.
LANDOWNER KNOWLEDGE OF THE HAZARD
Another determining factor is whether the landowner knew about the hazard or should have known about it. Consider, for example, a spill in a grocery store. Immediately following the spill, someone could get injured by slipping and falling on the hazard. But if there was not a reasonable time for the grocery store staff to respond, their liability might be limited. In this case, the landowner (or property owner) was not negligent because they didn’t know there was a hazard and had no time to be made aware of such a hazard through reasonable means.
LEGAL INSIGHTS FOR FLORIDA PREMISES LIABILITY CASES
Premises liability cases are complicated because so many factors go into determining who was at fault for the incident. And in some cases, an accident is just that – a terrible incident that is unforeseeable and unpreventable.
It takes a deep knowledge of the law to know how a visitor’s status plays a role in a premises liability case as well as the victim’s actions while on the property. Led by Scott Aigen, Esq., Aigen Law Firm is a Florida personal injury law firm with in-depth knowledge across various facets of state and federal laws.
If you’ve sustained injuries while visiting someone else’s property, contact us today.