Property owners in Florida have a responsibility to keep their sites safe and secure. Anytime you lawfully enter another’s property, you can expect a reasonable degree of personal safety and protection from non-obvious hazards. Those who own or control property have an obligation to fix dangerous conditions, or at the very least offer an adequate warning of the potential risk.
If the owner/ controller of a property fails to keep it safe and you suffer personal injury as a result, you may have grounds for a premises liability claim or lawsuit.
Although there are many theories of liability on which claimants can prevail, it will depend heavily on the individual circumstances. It’s also important to note that this is an ever-evolving area of law, and some elements are less settled than you would think. This makes it all the more imperative to only trust your case to an experienced premises liability lawyer in the Fort Lauderdale area.Florida Visitor Designation in Premises Liability Law
What were you doing on the property?
This is one of the first questions that will arise in any Florida premises liability claim because it will determine the duty of care owed to you by the property owner/ controller. For example, public invitees and business invitees – those who are invited as members of the public or in furtherance of the property owner’s financial interests – are owed a much higher standard of care than licensees (social guests), uninvited licensees and trespassers.
Invitees – These are individuals who are invited to enter the property or to remain on it for the commercial benefit of the owner or controller of the property. These might include a customer in a grocery store, patron in a movie theater or guest in a hotel. These persons are owed the highest duty of care by property owners. That means there have to be regular inspections of the site and warnings about any dangers that can’t be immediately mitigated. Businesses can be liable not only for injuries they actually know about, but also for those they should know about. There is also a duty to guard against a foreseeable third-party crime.
Licensees – These are social guests, including friends and family members, who are invited onto a property. The primary difference here is that the individual is on site for non-business purposes. Property owners still have a duty to address and fix any dangerous are of the property. However, there is no duty to inspect in these cases. Property owners can only be held liable for dangers about which they know, not those about which they should know. In some instances, there can be a duty to protect a licensee from a foreseeable third-party attack. Our Fort Lauderdale premises liability lawyers can advise you on when this duty may apply.
Trespassers. These are individuals who unlawfully enter or remain on the site. In these cases, the property owner is not allowed to willfully or wantonly create dangerous conditions for trespassers (i.e., setting up traps). However, there is no duty to inspect or warn and there is no responsibility to guard against a third-party crime. The only exception here is when the trespasser is a minor child and the hazard on site is an attractive nuisance. The attractive nuisance doctrine holds that landowners can be liable for injuries to children who are trespassing on that land if the injury is caused by an object on site likely to attract children. In Florida, this is usually a swimming pool, though it could also be a trampoline, piles of lumber or sand, abandoned cars, old appliances and the like. Plaintiffs in those cases have to show the landowners was aware children were around who might trespass, that there is a risk of serious injury if they do trespass, that the children are too young to recognize the risk, that the danger can be mitigated at a reasonable cost and the property owner fails to act.
Once the type of duty owed is determined, plaintiff has to show the property owner/ occupier fell short of the duty and therefore is legally negligent and should be liable to compensate you for your injuries.Damages for Premises Liability Injuries
Compensation may include:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Wrongful Death
- Loss of Consortium
Of course, not all injuries will be compensable, but it’s important to have a premises liability attorney in Fort Lauderdale help you weigh your options. Our experienced injury lawyers can help you determine if you may have a viable claim for damages following an injury on someone else’s property.
Call the injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm at (877) 277-3780 or locally in Broward at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties.