Injuries and accidents can happen anywhere, from your favorite restaurant to a neighbor’s property. So, what actually makes for a premises liability claim? The key to being able to file a claim against another person or entity for your injuries is determining whether the opposing party owed you a duty of care while you were on the premises, whether or not they breached that duty, and if that breach is what caused your injuries.
Florida’s premises liability laws govern a property owner’s responsibility in protecting individuals who are on their property. The best way to evaluate the validity of your potential claim is to discuss the matter with a qualified premises liability attorney.
As you evaluate your situation and decide whether contacting an attorney makes sense, here’s a brief rundown of Florida’s premises liability laws.
What Is Premises Liability?
Florida laws around premises liability set forth expectations for property owners in preventing injuries and accidents on their property. Essentially, property owners or occupiers are expected to maintain safe conditions and adequately warn visitors of potential dangers.
Some common incidents that can be classified as premises liability include:
- Flooding or water leaks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip or trip and falls
- Accidents at an amusement park
- Poor property maintenance leading to injuries
- Toxic fumes or chemicals
- Defects in a property’s structure
- Poor building security
- Accidents on an elevator or escalator
- Dog bite injuries
While all of these are examples of potential premises liability, not all injuries that occur under these circumstances are necessarily eligible for a personal injury claim. Even under the best circumstances, when a property owner does all that they should, accidents still happen.
Additionally, the victim still plays a small role in ensuring their wellbeing and should not act recklessly or carelessly while on another person’s property. That means individuals should abide by all posted signage and warnings to avoid injury. If, for example, you slip in an area clearly marked by a sign, you likely won’t have a case.
Florida Premises Liability Laws
In Florida, the law states that property owners and tenants (or lessees) must maintain a safe property that is free of hazards. Under Florida’s premises liability laws, there are three types of visitors on a property:
- Invitee: Someone who the property owner invites onto the property. This might be for business purposes or as a social guest for a gathering. It also applies to public places.
- Licensee: A licensee is someone who has a license to be on a property. These individuals may or may not have a direct invitation to be on the property, but they do have a license to be there. The circumstances around the injuries that a licensee sustains will dictate whether or not these individuals have a case.
- Trespassers: Unwanted and unwelcome visitors on your property still have some protections under premises liability laws. While a property owner may try to find ways to keep trespassers off their property, intentionally harming these individuals can still make for a personal injury premises liability claim. Property owners need to be careful that they are only deterring these unwanted guests and not harming them intentionally.
Additionally, some premises liability cases include more than one party that is at-fault for an accident. This can happen when contractors or third parties are involved. For example, if a power company does not properly ensure that they are being careful when doing electrical work on a property and they electrocute a property visitor, the property owner may not be the at-fault party. So long as the property owner properly vetted the power company to ensure they were licensed and capable of doing the work properly, it’s unlikely the property owner would be at fault.
In other circumstances, both the property owner and the third party could be at fault. To investigate and dig deeper into who might be at fault for your injuries on someone else’s property, you should consult experienced premises liability attorneys immediately.
Children and Premises Liability
Florida’s premises liability laws have a special exception called the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. This law states that the property owner has a special duty of care for objects or hazards that might attract a child’s curiosity. These objects of curiosity might be a swimming pool, ladder, or other construction equipment.
The property owner must make reasonable provisions to keep children safe when these hazards are present. For example, having a fence around a pool isn’t necessarily enough if the gate’s lock is low enough for a small child to reach and if the lock is simple to open. Instead, the property owner should elevate that lock to a place where the child cannot reach it or make it difficult for a child to open.
Premises Liability Attorneys
Skilled premises liability attorneys know that the courts will look to see if the property owner in question could have possibly predicted the risk to visitors. Additionally, the courts will look at the victim’s actions to determine if they were using the property properly and engaging in normal behavior there.
If you’re looking for reputable premises liability attorneys in Florida, contact Goldman & Daszkal. We have extensive experience advocating for Florida victims of premises liability accidents, and we’re eager to put our skills to work for you in your personal injury case.