If you obtain an injury on someone’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Residential and business owners owe a duty not to harm persons on their property. The extent of that duty depends on the reason you are on the property.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine in Port St. Lucie, FL, can review your case and help you determine your legal options. Contact our team of unsafe premises and property negligence lawyers at 1-800-747-3733.
The Duty of the Property Owner Depends on Your Classification
In Port St. Lucie, Florida, persons on another’s property fall into three categories:
- Business invitee: You have a business purpose for being on the property.
- Licensee: You have the owner’s permission to be on the property.
- Trespasser: You do not have the owner’s permission to be on the property.
The property owner owes some duty to each category, and that responsibility is known as premises liability. The legal responsibility of the property owner varies depending on the category.
A Property Owner’s Duty to a Business Invitee
Property owners owe the greatest duty and highest standard of care to persons whom the owners invite onto their premises for a business purpose. The business owner must make sure the property is safe and free of hazards. The owner must make necessary repairs to protect you from an injury. The owner must protect you from known dangers and conduct a reasonable inspection to discover unknown risks.
Business invitees include:
- A shopper in a grocery store or a department store
- Someone eating in a restaurant
- A guest at a hotel
- Someone at a movie theater
- Someone working out at a fitness center
A Business Invitee Slips and Falls While on the Property
A common example of an injury to a business invitee occurs when the business invitee slips on water or an object on the floor. If you, while a business invitee, is injured, what must you prove?
You must prove that the business knew the substance on the floor. This knowledge can be actual (an employee saw the spill), or it can be constructive (the substance was on the floor long enough that the business should have known of its existence).
You must also demonstrate that the business had time and did not correct the problem. If the business knows or should know of the hazard, the business must take action. It must clean up the spill. If the floor is wet, it should put up a “wet floor” sign to warn of the danger.
The case will require you to show that you are not at fault. If you see something on the floor and do not try to avoid it, you may be at fault for the accident. You will have to prove that the fall caused your injury. If you already had a bad knee and your fall does not make it worse, you cannot recover from a knee injury. You do not have to collect and prove this all on your own. A personal injury attorney can help.
Other Hazards that Can Injure a Business Invitee
Many other hazards can cause injuries to you as a business invitee:
- A defective step causes you to fall
- You step into a hole in a parking lot
- A stack of merchandise falls on you
- You trip on an uneven step on a sidewalk
You must prove the owner knew or should have known about the unsafe condition of the property.
A Third Party Causes an Injury to a Business Invitee
The owner of a business is required to take some action to prevent criminal acts on the property. For example, business owners must take security measures if numerous assaults occur within a narrow timeframe at a business.
A Property Owner’s Duty to a Licensee
Property owners owe a lesser degree of care to you if you are a licensee on the property than if you are a business invitee. Licensees include visitors in your home or social guests to a party at your house.
What the Property Owner Must Do to Prevent an Injury to a Licensee
The property owner must make sure the property is safe from dangers the owner knows about, but the owner is not required to inspect the property to discover unknown hazards.
Injuries Occur While a Person is on the Property with Permission
If you are visiting someone’s home, and you step into a large hole in the yard, you may be able to recover if you can show that the owner knew the hole was a hazard and did not warn you. If you fall on a broken step, you may be able to receive compensation for your injury if you can show that the owner knew the step was dangerous.
A Dog Bites a Licensee on the Property
What if a dog bites you while you are visiting someone in their home? You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. According to Florida law, you do not have to show that the dog bit someone previously or that the owner knew the dog was vicious. Your damages will reduce if you were negligent, for example, if you provoked the dog in some way.
A Property Owner’s Duty to a Trespasser
If you are on someone’s property without the owner’s permission, you are a trespasser. The property owner owes a duty to you, but it is a low standard.
An Injury to a Trespasser on the Property
If you are a trespasser on someone’s property, the owner has a duty not to injure you intentionally. For example, an owner cannot set a trap that will severely harm you.
Trespassing Children on the Property
Property owners owe a duty to trespassing children on the property. If an owner knows of a condition on his or her property that may attract children, for example, a swimming pool or a well, the owner must make the property safe. If the child is injured, the owner may be responsible because he or she failed to take steps to prevent the injury, such as putting a fence around the swimming pool.
Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today
If you have an injury from an accident on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a free case review. At this review will be able to explain your legal options as well as discuss what your case is worth. Call 1-800-747-3733 today to schedule.