A property owner may owe you a duty while you are on the owner’s property. The duty you are owed will depend on your reason for being on the property. If you suffer an injury, you may get compensation from the owner.
Duty Owed to You While You Are on Someone’s Property
In Florida, the duty a property owner owes you while you are on the owner’s property depends on your classification. You can fall into one of three categories:
- A business invitee
- A licensee
- A trespasser
Duty a Property Owner Owes a Business Invitee
A property owner owes the highest duty of care to a business invitee. A business invitee enters the property of another for a business purpose:
- You enter a grocery store to shop and buy food.
- You enter a department store to shop and buy merchandise.
- You enter a hospital to visit someone who is sick.
- A worker enters a residence to make a repair.
The duty owed to a business invitee includes an obligation to keep the property safe and to correct or warn you of any dangers the owner knows are on the property. The owner must inspect the property and may be liable for failing to inform you of a threat the owner should have known about.
For example, if a grocery store employee knows there is a spill, he or she must warn you of the danger. A duty exists if a hazard has been on the floor long enough that an employee should know it is there, or if a hazard occurs on a regular basis. If the employee does not remove the hazard or notifiy you, the store can be liable for your injuries in a fall.
If you suffered an injury caused by a hazard on another’s property, call a premises liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine. Our attorneys will talk to witnesses and employees, get any footage from a surveillance camera, and examine the safety and cleanup policies of the business.
Duty a Property Owner Owes a Licensee
A property owner owes less of a duty of care to a licensee on the property. A licensee is someone who enters another’s property for a social reason. For example, you visit a friend’s house.
The property owner owes a licensee the duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe manner. The owner must warn you of a known danger. For example, if the owner knows about a broken step and does not warn you, the owner will be liable for your injury if you fall on the step.
Duty a Property Owner Owes a Trespasser
A property owner owes very little duty of care to a trespasser. A trespasser enters the property without the permission of the owner. The property owner cannot intentionally injure a trespasser. For example, the owner could not set a deadly trap.
Duty Owed by a Property Owner to Children
An owner can be liable if something on the owner’s property attracts a child onto the property and injures the child. Examples include an unfenced swimming pool or a trampoline.
Conditions That Can Lead to a Property Owner’s Liability
Scenarios that can give rise to a premises liability claim include the following:
- Slip and fall: You slip on water in a restaurant, slip on a piece of fruit in a grocery store or trip on a piece of merchandise in a department store.
- The condition of the premises: You step into a hole in a parking lot, fall on a broken bleacher at a basketball game, or trip on an uneven surface in a sidewalk.
- Inadequate security: A business may be liable for having inadequate security if an assault occurs on its premises.
- Dog bites: In Florida, an owner is liable if his or her dog bites you while you are on the owner’s property, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before and has not shown a dangerous propensity.
If you suffer an injury on someone’s property, contact a premises liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for help.
Defenses in a Premises Liability Case
The owner of the property may claim you were responsible for your injury. For example, a store owner may say you were not paying attention to where you were walking. In Florida, your fault, even if more than 50 percent, does not bar your recovery. Your fault only reduces the amount of your recovery by the percentage of your fault.
You must file a personal injury suit within four years in Florida. If you wait more than four years, you cannot recover even if the property owner was responsible for your injury.
Compensation You Can Recover for Your Injuries in a Premises Liability Case
The compensation that you can recover for your injuries in a premises liability case includes the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity (the difference in what you earned before your injury and what you can earn after your injury)
- Pain and suffering
An insurance company may contact you shortly after your injury with an offer to settle your case. Do not sign anything until you speak to our attorneys. Settlements are final, and our attorneys will let you know the pros and cons of the settlement.
Our attorneys can negotiate with the insurance company to get you fair compensation for your injury. Most cases settle, but if we cannot reach a reasonable settlement, we can take your case to court and let a judge or jury decide the outcome.
If you suffered an injury on someone’s property, call a premises liability lawyer in Jupiter, FL, at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine at 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation.