If you are hurt on someone’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Premises liability laws impose a duty on property owners to prevent an injury on the property. Whether the property owner is liable to you depends on many factors, including your purpose for being on the property.
Determining a Property Owner’s Liability for Injuries on the Property
Premises liability laws determine the responsibility of a property owner when someone sustains injury on the owner’s property. In Florida, if you are on someone’s property, you are either an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Your classification determines the amount of care the owner owes you.
Property Owner’s Liability for an Injury to an Invitee
A property owner invites an invitee onto their property. You are a public invitee if the property is open to the public. For example, when you shop in a store or eat in a restaurant, you are an invitee. You are a business invitee if you are invited on the property for a business purpose, such as to deliver a package to a house.
The property owner owes the highest duty of care to invitees. The owner must keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. If there is a danger or hazard, the owner must warn the invitee or correct the problem.
Property Owner’s Liability for an Injury to a Licensee
A licensee enters another’s property for his or her convenience. For example, if you are a social guest of the owner, you are a licensee. The owner owes a lower degree of care to a licensee than to an invitee.
If the owner knows or should know of a danger on the property, the owner must warn you. One example of a danger would be if an owner knows a step is broken and could cause an injury.
Property Owner’s Liability for an Injury to a Trespasser
A trespasser is on the property without the permission of the property owner. If you are a trespasser, the owner does not have a duty to warn you of any danger or hazard. Under Florida law, the owner is immune from liability. Two exceptions can apply:
- If the owner knows the trespasser is on the property, the owner may have a duty to warn of known dangers.
- Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, an owner can be liable for not taking proper care if something on the property attracts a child onto the property. One common example is an unfenced swimming pool.
Cases When a Property Owner is Liable for Injuries to Persons on the Property
Your purpose for being on the property is important in determining liability when you are injured on someone’s property, but other concerns may come into play.
The Property Owner’s Liability for a Trip, Slip, or Fall on the Property
The most common type of a premises liability case is a slip and fall, such as the following:
- You slip on a piece of lettuce in a grocery store.
- You trip over merchandise in a department store.
- You fall on an uneven sidewalk.
In a slip and fall case, you must show that the owner knew or should have known of the hazard in time to remedy the hazard or warn you of the danger. If you fall at a business, you can take steps that will help your case:
- Take photos of the area, especially the object or condition that caused your fall.
- Make sure management knows about your fall.
- Get names and contact information for anyone who saw you fall or saw what caused your fall.
- Seek medical treatment for your injuries.
- Consult a lawyer.
The property owner may claim that you were at fault for your injury. For example, they may say you were not watching where you were walking. Under Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine, the compensation you receive for your injuries will reduce by the percentage of your fault. For example, if you are 25 percent at fault, you can only recover 75 percent of your damages.
Contact a premises liability lawyer in Florida at The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a free consultation. Our attorneys can investigate the accident, interview any witnesses, and work with the owner’s insurance company to see that you get compensation for your injuries.
The Property Owner’s Liability for a Dog Bite
If a dog bites you while you are on someone’s property, you can obtain compensation for your injuries. Under Florida law, an owner is strictly liable for dog bites. You do not have to show the dog bit someone previously or that the dog had a dangerous propensity. The owner only has a defense if you provoked the dog to bite you.
The Property Owner’s Liability for Failure to Take Proper Security Measures
Under certain circumstances, a property owner can be liable for failure to take proper security measures. For example, the owner of an apartment complex may have certain duties to protect its residents from criminal acts of third parties. You will need to show that the harm was foreseeable and that the owner did not take reasonable measures to protect you from being injured.
In Florida, an owner of a convenience store is presumed not to be liable for the criminal acts of a third party if the store takes certain security measures, such as installing a security camera.
Other Situations Where the Owner Can Be Liable for Injuries on the Property
Examples of other situations where the owner can be liable include the following:
- Injuries at the swimming pool of a hotel
- Injuries on equipment at a fitness center
- Accidents on stairs or elevators
- Injuries when items fall off shelves
- Injuries on amusement park rides
Get Compensation for Injuries on Another’s Property
If you prove a property owner is legally responsible for your injuries, you can recover your medical expenses, your lost wages, your future lost earnings, and compensation for your pain and suffering as well as your mental anguish.
If you are injured on another’s property, call a premises liability lawyer in Florida at The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733. The initial consultation is free. If you hire our attorneys, you will not owe anything unless you are compensated for your injuries.