Understanding Florida Premises Liability Standards
The highest duty of care is owed to a public invitee. A public invitee is a person who is invited to enter or remain on land as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. An example of a public invitee would be a child who is in a public park. A landowner or possessor of the property has the duty to: (1) correct or warn of dangers that the owner knows or should know by the use of reasonable care, and which the visitor cannot or should not know by use of reasonable care; and (2) to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. In situations where certain property hazards are deemed “open and obvious,” landowners are under no duty to warn of conditions. This rule, however, does not completely foreclose victims from pursuing legal remedies. Moreover, even if landowners do not have a duty to warn, Florida landowners still have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition.
A business invitee is a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the possessor of the land. Examples of business invitees would be patrons of a convenience store or ticket payers at a professional sporting event. Business invitees are owed the same duty of care as public invitees.
Licensee by Invitation
A licensee by invitation is another term for a social guest. The duty owed to a licensee by invitation is the same duty that is owed to a public invitee.
An uninvited licensee is a person who chooses to come onto a premises solely for their own convenience without invitation that is either expressly or reasonably implied under the circumstances. An example of an uninvited licensee would be teenagers who are tailgating in the parking lot of a business. The duty owed to uninvited licensee is not the same duty that is owed to a public invitee, a business invitee, or a licensee by invitation. For uninvited licensees, the duty owed by the landowner or possessor is to refrain from willful or wanton injury. For instance, owners are under an obligation to remove any concealed “traps” of which they have actual knowledge.
A trespasser is a person who enters a premises without a license, invitation or other right, and intrudes for some definite purpose of their own, or at their own convenience, or merely as a idler with no apparent purpose, other than perhaps to satisfy their own curiosity. The duty owed to trespassers is the same duty that is owed to uninvited licensees.
The duty that is owed by landowners or possessers can be an intensely disputed issue. However, it is not the only factor that is considered in determining whether a person is entitled to compensation for a dangerous condition that results in a personal injury. Other important factors include negligence, comparative fault, proximate cause and the connection between the injuries and the accident.
Contact Our Experienced Legal Team
When social duties are breached, a claim for harms and damages is available to the injured party. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Wittmer & Linehan PLLC represent hundreds of clients and their families who are injured in accidents. To speak with our team of knowledgeable attorneys and staff contact us at 941-263-8314.