Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to an accident that occurs due to the negligent maintenance, operation, or design of property owned by someone other than the accident victim. In order to be successful in your premises liability case, you must prove that you were injured on the property of another and that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property.

FLORIDA PREMISES LIABILITY LAW

The Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute § 768.0755, which requires that for all personal injury claims resulting from a foreign transitory substance, the injured party is required to show that the business owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it.

Thus, in order to establish liability, Florida courts require plaintiffs in slip and fall cases to show that the premises owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. When a property owner or a person responsible for the maintenance of a property fails to quickly respond to dangerous or hazardous conditions, those who are injured as a result can hold those parties responsible and may be able to receive compensation.

COMMON CAUSES OF PREMISES LIABILITY ACCIDENTS:

  • SIDEWALK ELEVATION CHANGES
  • WALKWAY IMPEDIMENTS
  • WET FLOORS
  • DEFECTIVE STAIRCASES
  • ELEVATOR & ESCALATOR ACCIDENTS
  • INSUFFICIENT LIGHTING
  • LACK OF FLOORING MAINTENANCE
  • DEFECTIVE CONDITIONS ON PREMISES
  • INADEQUATE MAINTENANCE OF PREMISES
  • CONCEALED HOLES

IS THE PROPERTY OWNER LIABLE FOR YOUR INJURY?

Being injured on the property of another does not guarantee that the property owner was negligent. The circumstances surrounding the accident must show that the property owner knew or should have known that the property was in an unsafe condition and failed to take appropriate measures to remedy the unsafe condition.

Property owners, property managers, and those responsible for the maintenance of property are generally responsible for the safety of the property they are responsible for maintaining.  If the property is not properly maintained, and that negligence led to your injury a landowner may be liable.  In addition to property owners, homeowners may also be held liable for dangerous or defective conditions on their property – whether inside or outside of their home.

In Florida, the degree of care a property owner is obligated to provide depends on the relationship of the injured victim to the actual property in question. Different classifications of injury victims afford different legal protection under law. Property visitors that are injured will likely fall into one of the following three classifications:  INVITEE, LICENSEE, or TRESPASSER.

  • INVITEES:  Property owners who run a business owe a duty of maintaining a safe environment for potential customers and visitors.  Businesses must actively prevent or repair dangerous conditions in timely manner or give clear warnings in order to protect against accidents.  Invitees are granted the most legal protection under Florida law as the property owner has a legal duty to protect those invited to their property for personal or business purposes.
  • LICENSEES:  Visitors and guests who have permission to enter a public property, but who are not there for business purposes, can still hold the property owner responsible for accidents that occur due to the unsafe conditions in many cases. Licensees are granted less legal protection than invitees under Florida law, but more legal protection than trespassers.
  • TRESPASSERS: Generally, property owners are generally not responsible to provide warning for or remedy dangerous conditions. If the property owner has no reason to believe that others may enter the property without permission, the property owner may not be liable for accidents or injuries that occur on the premises to those trespassing on their property. Trespassers are granted the least amount of legal protection of the three classifications under Florida law.

DEFENSES TO PREMISES LIABILITY

  • OPEN & OBVIOUS:  In Florida, a property owner may avoid liability for a victims injuries caused by dangerous conditions that are found to be an obvious or glaring danger to any reasonably observant person.
  • KNOWLEDGE OF DANGEROUS CONDITION:  Property owners commonly assert the defense that the victim had prior knowledge, or reason to know of the dangerous condition caused by the accident and therefore, assumed the risk.
  • NO KNOWLEDGE OF DANGEROUS CONDITION:  In some cases, property owners outright deny responsibility by claiming to not have had any prior knowledge, or reason to know of the dangerous condition responsible for the injury.
  • CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE:  A common defense used in a premises liability case is that the victim acted carelessly or negligently and therefore was at least partially at fault for their injury.  Florida utilizes the comparative fault system whereby the victim’s damages will be reduced according to percentage that their own negligence contributed to the injury.
  • TRESSPASSING:  Generally, property owners are not responsible to provide warning for or remedy dangerous conditions. If the property owner has no reason to believe that others may enter the property without permission, the property owner may not be liable for accidents or injuries that occur on the premises to those trespassing on their property.

SPEAK WITH AN ORLANDO PREMISES LIABILITY ATTORNEY

After a personal injury impacts your family, call on a skilled Orlando attorney at Atherley Law Firm. Our office is located in downtown Orlando, and we are proud to serve injury victims in Orange County, Osceola County and the surrounding areas. For a free initial consultation, call us today at (407) 459-7046, contact us online, or schedule your own consultation.

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