Premises Liability and Injury to Property Visitors
Premises liability refers to the duty of care owed to property visitors. A party who operates a piece of property is responsible for the condition of the premises. Under Florida law, the property must be reasonably maintained and kept safe for visitors. This duty may extend to the owner, a tenant or even a party who simply occupies a property. If the responsible party does not take adequate care of the premises, and a visitor suffers an injury as a result, the party may face liability in a court of law.
There are numerous types of incidents that may invoke a Florida premises liability case:
- A visitor drowns or sustains an injury in or around a pool
- An item falls from a shelf and strikes a visitor
- A visitor slips and falls on the property
- A visitor is injured within a work or maintenance area
- In limited situations, a visitor is injured by a third party on the property
What Type of Visitor are You?
Under Florida law, visitors are organized into different categories, depending on their reason for being on the property. The liability of the property operator varies with each classification.
- A business invitee is there to conduct some type of business transaction. The duty of care is high because these visitors are invited onto the property. The operator must ensure that the property is safe and free from dangers. If there is a problem, the operator has a duty to adequately warn the business invitee and fix the problem as quickly as possible. This classification includes restaurants. Food left on the floor could cause a liability issue if a patron slips in it and falls on the floor.
- A licensee is a person who is invited onto the property to socialize. This invitation may be expressed where the operator or owner gives a verbal or written invitation to the licensee. It may also be implied, where the licensee feels welcome to drop by unexpectedly. A family friend, who stops by to say hello, is a licensee with an implied invitation. The operator has a duty to repair any unsafe conditions or warn the licensee.
- Trespassers enter the property without invitation or permission. Even though the property operator is not responsible for the trespasser’s presence on the property, he or she still owes a duty to the party. A property operator may not intentionally or negligently cause injury to the trespasser. For example, an operator may face liability if a trespasser is walking across the property and gets stuck in an animal trap set by the operator.
Proving a Florida Premises Liability Case
For success in a Miami premises liability case, the injured party must prove that the injury was caused by the operator’s negligence in not ensuring that the property was safe for visitors. Proving the condition of the premises at the time of injury is vital to the strength of the case. Having the assistance of an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer shortly after the incident can make this task considerably less challenging. An lawyer can utilize the courts to ensure that the condition of the property is adequately documented before the operator makes any changes or repairs to it.