December 16, 2017

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Florida Premises Liability

Jacksonville Law Firms

Under premises liability, if you are injured on property which is owned or controlled by someone else, you may be able to recover financial compensation. Owners and controllers of property have a duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions for customers, employees, and other guests.

Invitees and Licensees

The highest duty of care is owed to invitees and licensees:

  • Public invitees include people who are invited and allowed to remain on a property that is open for a public purpose, such as a park or museum.

  • Business invitees and those who are invited and allowed to remain on a property for business purposes which benefit the owner, such as shoppers at retail stores and movie-goers.

  • Licensees by invitation are social guests

Uninvited Licensees and Trespassers

Uninvited licensees are people who enter a property solely for their own purposes. This can include someone who enters a convenience store to get change or ask directions, but does not shop or purchase anything, and loiterers.

In general, the only duty that Florida business and property owners owe to uninvited licensees is the refrain from willful or wanton injury, such as booby traps. But, some Florida courts have held differently.

Trespassers are those who enter a property without invitation or permission of any kind. Florida property and business owners owe trespassers no duty of care except to refrain from willful and wanton injury.

Child Trespassers – Attractive Nuisance

Child trespassers are owed a higher duty of care, depending on a number of factors. If you have known hazards on your property, such as a swimming pool or old refrigerator, which a child could be drawn to and become injured, you can be held liable if you did not take the appropriate steps to protect trespassing children from the hazard.

The court will take into consideration the child’s age, intelligence, knowledge, and experience, on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of Premises Liability Accidents and Incidents

The following are examples of accidents and incidents, which can fall under premises liability if they are the result of dangerous conditions:

  • Slip and fall or trip and fall

  • Failure to properly supervise a child or at-risk adult

  • Elevator and escalator accidents

  • Construction accidents

  • Fires

  • Falling objects

  • Food poisoning

  • Assaults and attacks due to negligent security

An important element of negligent security is foreseeability. Factors which can be used to establish foreseeability include:

  • High-risk business type, such as banks

  • Property is located in a high crime area, even if there is no history of crime on the property

  • Prior similar crimes on the property

  • Prior non-similar crimes on the property, which were of a nature that one could reasonably see the potential for escalation to a violent crime

  • Knowledge of direct threats