Premises Liability Law: Determining Fault Under Florida’s Law

Inadequacy or any form of inefficiency to maintain the property safe and sound for visitors leads to “premises liability.” Premises liability, like most personal injury cases, are consequences of the lack of proper care and attention. The plaintiff has to prove that the owner of the property was irresponsible in a certain aspect pertaining to the maintenance of his property.

Premises liability is one of the most crucial legal concepts. It typically comes into the picture when a person is involved in a personal injury case. It is mostly involved in cases where the injury was a result of some form of perilous or defective condition on another person’s property.

However, you should keep in mind that getting injured on someone’s property does not necessarily imply the owner’s irresponsibility. Again, if the property is unsafe in a certain way does not always indicate that the owner is at fault. If it is a premises liability case, the main challenge for you is to prove that the landlord or property owner either should have known or knew about the lurking danger that existed on the premises. Knowing about such peril, he or she should have taken effective measures to eradicate the cause.

In Florida, all the land owners must take substantial steps to maintain the safety of his premises for every visitor. Common situational causes that give rise to premises liability lawsuits are:

  • Animal Bites
  • Inefficient security
  • Small Accidents like slipping
  • Not-so-safe property
  • Bad Security
  • Injury caused by swimming pool
  • Below-average or poor maintenance
  • Children creating any form of havoc or mess on property
  • Injury caused on the retail store premises
  • Injury caused on the restaurant premises

Premises liability law is equally applicable for homeowners as well as small or big business owners. It also applies to the property managers of vast commercial lands like shopping malls, hotels, gym owners and restaurant owners. Also, a tenant leasing a rental property faces liability for injury of the visitor.

In order to win a premises liability case, the must prove points for an injured person are:

  • The property owner either had an idea or ought to have an idea of the likely peril on the premises.
  • The property owner was unsuccessful in repairing or providing warning statements related to this condition.
  • The plaintiff was injured as a result of the perilous condition.

If injuries occur at commercial lands or apartment complexes that are not leased, the landlord is not responsible for the injuries. If the victim is one of the tenant’s guest, then it is the tenant’s responsibility to safeguard his guest’s health. There are exceptions though. For instance, in case the landlord takes the responsibility of the repairs for a tenant, the repairs need to be done in a responsible manner.

For different states of U.S, different rules are followed related to the extent of recovery and the conditions. While certain states focus on the person’s status visiting the property to decide whether it is liable. There is a varied status of the visitor such as invitee, licensee and many others.

In Florida, a person injured on real property owned by another can be successful in producing a claim for damages, depending on the injured person’s status on the property at the time of the mishap. The status indirectly implies to the purpose of the visit. Visitors fall into one of these basic three categories:

  • Business Invitees
  • Typically, property owners need to bestow the highest level of care up on “business invitees”. They are people who enter a property for business purposes. It includes people who enter a fruit market to buy fruits, shoppers who go to a clothes store etc. Plumbers, carpenters etc. who are invited into a home to do work on their fort are considered to be business invitees as well. It is the duty of property owners to keep the property in a safe condition and must repair or provide warning pertaining to valid dangers on the premises. Also, he or she should inspect the property on a regular basis.

  • Licensees
  • The second highest standard of care is to be imparted to licensees referring to social guests. This category includes the near ones such as friends, family members, relatives etc. who enter a property solely for social purposes like a party. It also includes uninvited guests like a neighbors or friends stopping by in need. Property owners must keep the property in a safe manner and repair any unsafe conditions instantly. He should definitely warn his known ones of the possible dangers on the property.

  • Trespassers
  • Property owners have to maintain their duty towards trespassers as well. The aim should be to prevent deliberate or careless injury. The property owner owes a duty to signal the trespasser of any likely dangers that he or she could not normally figure out.

Residential property owners owning swimming pools must make special efforts to protect children who enter their property, even if the child is an uninvited guest. There is a special policy called “attractive nuisance doctrine” that states that property owners must take special care to protect children from dangers on their property. Most times certain conditions might attract children’s attention and cause them danger, be it an open roof or the swimming pool.

In case you have been caused injured on another person’s property, you stand a fair chance to recover for your injuries. Contact a slip and fall attorney who is experienced in premises liability cases. He can efficiently evaluate the particulars of your case and assist you to decide, which is the best route to adopt in order to win the case.

An injured person who is partly or wholly responsible for the injury and cannot recover for damages in the name of a dangerous property condition. A visitor himself has the duty to care for himself and keep himself safe in all conditions. In case the visitor fails to sufficiently care for himself, the recovery has to be diminished by his or her proportion of fault.