Understanding Premises Liability in Florida
While visiting another’s property, you have the right to expect that you are on reasonably safe grounds. If you are injured because of an unforeseen hazard or any failure by the property owner to reasonably maintain or repair the premises, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. These are referred to as premises liability cases and involve property owner liability for injuries sustained by invitees, visitors, social guests, and even trespassers.
As a property owner in Florida, you are legally expected to keep your property in a reasonably safe condition. This is to protect the safety of guests and others when on your property or premise. If you fail to maintain your property to a reasonable standard, and someone is injured as a result of that negligence, you can be held legally responsible for their injuries.
For a free legal consultation with a premises liability lawyer serving Lakeland, call 863-250-5050
Defining Premises Liability
As a property owner, you owe some duty of care to anyone who enters your property. Guests or visitors to your property can be categorized into three groups: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
The classification that a particular visitor falls under determines the standard of care to which they are owed.
Lakeland Premises Liability Lawyer Near Me 863-250-5050
Differences Between Invitees, Licensees and Trespassers
The primary difference in liability pertaining to these two types of guests is the owner’s duty of care in each situation.
Invitees, which are people who enter the property because the landowner extended them an express or implied invitation, are owed the highest standard of care. This includes customers of a business, invited house guests, hotel guests, apartment tenants, etc.
An owner owes a higher duty of care to an invitee because they have invited that person on to their property and typically stand to gain something from their presence.
When dealing with invitees, a property owner is responsible for exercising reasonable diligence in spotting and correcting issues on the property that could put guests in harm’s way. If the issue can not be immediately corrected, it is their duty to make guests aware of the present danger.
Licensees are people who are permitted to be on the property for their own benefit, and not to the benefit of the owner. For example, if you owned land in a rural area and allowed someone else to hunt or fish there, then that person would be considered a licensee.
Since a licensee is on the owner’s property for their own benefit, they are not owed the same standard of care. While owners are still obligated to make licensees aware of known hazards, they are not specifically expected to inspect the property for dangers before allowing licensees to enter.
When it comes to trespassers, they are owed a much lower duty of care than invitees or licensees. Property owners typically are not held liable for any injuries sustained due to unsafe conditions.
However, owners are not allowed to intentionally cause unnecessary harm to trespassers by setting up “traps” or things of that nature. Property owners are allowed to defend themselves if a trespasser presents an imminent threat, but they are not permitted to harm the intruder simply for the sake of intruding.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
Premises liability cases can be highly complex. Establishing the duty of care and whether this duty was breached can be challenging, but our Lakeland premises liability lawyers have a firm understanding of Florida statutes and case law on these matters. We can identify property owner liability with accuracy to help our clients recover fair compensation.
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Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
Dismuke Law serves Central Florida from offices in Lakeland and Tampa, fighting for people who have been injured as a result of property owner negligence and wrongdoing.
We can take on premises liability cases involving:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Negligent security personnel
- Inadequate security measures
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog attacks
Proving a Premises Liability Claim
If you have been injured on someone else’s property and wish to pursue a premises liability case, there are a few things that must be proven.
- First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was the legal owner of the property at the time the incident occurred, and that they neglected to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition.
- Then, the plaintiff must prove that they were injured while on the owner’s property as a result of their negligence.
- Furthermore, the plaintiff must also prove whether they were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser at the time of the incident. Honesty is extremely important when establishing status on the property. Even if the plaintiff was trespassing, it is better to be honest than to lose credibility if they are caught in a lie.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, or if you have more questions, give us a buzz at1-800-ASK-DAVE. We’re here to help!