What is a premises liability case?
A premises liability case exists when an individual is injured on someone else's property as a result of the negligence of the property owner or the person in control of the property. In Florida, a property owner or an individual in control of property owes people that come onto the property two separate and distinct duties: (1) to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and to (2) warn of dangers on the property that the owner knew or should have known about that the plaintiff could not discover through the use of reasonable care. The duties will vary depending on a person's status on the property.
In Florida, an invitee can be either a public invitee or a business visitor. A public invitee is a person who is invited to come onto land as a member of the public to use the land for the purpose that it is open to the public. For example, if a person goes to a park to have a picnic with their family, that person would be a public invitee at the park.
A business visitor is an individual that goes onto land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with the business dealings of the owner or possessor of the land. This would include patrons of a restaurant, shoppers in a grocery store, or any other situation where individuals go onto the land owned by a business for a purpose connected with the business. Both the public invitee and the business visitor are owed the duties of care explained above from the landowner.
The Florida Supreme Court has also established that a visitor that has been invited into someone's home is considered a "licensee by invitation" and is owed the same standard of care as that of a business invitee. You can read the Florida Supreme Court's decisions regarding the statuses of individuals in Post v. Lunney and Wood v. Camp.
In Florida there are two types of licensees, "invited licensees" and "uninvited licensees." An invited licensee is owed the same duty as an invitee described above. An uninvited licensee is a person that comes onto property solely for his or her own convenience without any express or implied invitation. A landowner or the individual in control of the land owes the uninvited licensee a duty to avoid willful or wanton harm to him and, upon discovery of his presence, to warn him of any known dangers which would not be open to his ordinary observation. This is a lesser duty than the duty owed to invitees.
The last status a person can have on property is that of a trespasser. The Florida Legislature has passed a statute dealing with the duties owed to trespassers by a landowner or individual in control of property. Florida Statute Chapter 768.075 sets forth the applicable duties owed to trespassers by a landowner or an individual in control of property:
Types of Premises Liability Cases we Handle
Our firm has significant experience handling all types of premises liability cases, including:
- Slip / Trip and Fall
- Negligent Security
- Improperly maintained property
- Building collapse
- Construction defects
- Unsafe walking paths
- Dangerous conditions on the property
Transitory Foreign Substances and Notice
If your case involves slipping or tripping on a substance or item on the floor of a business, you will have to prove that the landowner knew or should have known of the substance or item on the floor, or that the substance or item occurred on the floor with regularity. In many cases, this is a difficult element to prove. Florida Statute 768.0755 makes clear that if a person is suing a business establishment for injuries sustained after falling on a transitory foreign substance, the person will have to prove that the business establishment had either actual or constructive notice of the substance.
This element of proof makes it absolutely critical that if you are injured in a business establishment that you secure evidence relating to the substance that caused you to fall. Although your health is always paramount, if you have someone with your or you are able to obtain this evidence, it could make the difference in your case. The type of evidence that you might want to obtain would include photographs of the substance, video from any cameras, or statements from witnesses. Anything you can get to show that the substance had been on the floor for a long period of time or that the business knew about the substance on the floor will help your case. If you slipped and fell on liquid some of the characteristic you might want to look for to establish notice would be the size of the puddle, the coloration of the puddle, if any footprints or track marks were in the puddle, or determine if the puddle had leaked from a specific origin.
Contact us today
If you believe you have a premises liability case, contact us today. At Bodenheimer Personal Injury Law Firm, our main office is located in Hollywood, Florida but we handle cases throughout the State of Florida. You can reach us at (954) 712-7402, [email protected], or you can fill out a contact form on this website. Let us help you get the justice you deserve.