if you are injured on another’s property, you might be able to seek compensation through a lawsuit filed in a Florida court. However, many people are unaware of the differences between an ordinary negligence claim, such as a car accident and a premises liability case. While a premises liability case includes substantial elements from a typical negligence case, there are significant differences and legal hurdles to overcome. Below, our skilled Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney from South Florida Law, PLLC, takes a closer look at negligence cases and premises liability claims.
Negligence Claims in Florida
Most person injury lawsuits arise out of negligent conduct on the part of another person or entity. To recover financial compensation for your harm, you must prove that a defendant was negligent. In its simplest form, negligence can be described as behavior that deviates from what a reasonable person would do under the same circumstances. For example, deciding to drive home after consuming two bottles of wine would be considered an unreasonable decision. If that person causes an accident because they are impaired, any injured victim could have a viable personal injury claim.
Proving a negligence claim requires demonstrating four elements – duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In most cases, an injured plaintiff will have to prove that the negligent action caused their harm. In the example above, the harm caused directly caused by someone driving under the influence of alcohol.
Premises Liability Claims in Florida
A premises liability claim is a negligence claim. However, the claim arises from a condition present on a property as opposed to the negligent conduct of another party. Typically, someone will file a premises liability claim if they have been injured because of a dangerous or hazardous condition on property owned or managed by another person or company.
These additional requirements of a premises liability lawsuit are in the defense’s favor. A premises liability claim is typically more challenging to prove and easier to defend than a claim arising from ordinary negligence.
A premises liability cause of action could arise from a wide range of conditions on a property. Some common types of cases include slip and fall accidents, electrocution, chemical exposure, and assaults. If you have been injured on another’s property, you should contact our experienced Hallandale Beach personal injury lawyer to help determine if you have a viable claim against the property owner or manager.
Florida Premises Liability Cases and the Type of Person on the Property
In an ordinary negligence claim, a defendant must owe the injured defendant a duty of care. The exact duty depends on the relationship between the two parties. For example, your surgeon would owe you a different duty of care than another motorist on a highway would. However, at its core, a duty of care is an obligation not to cause harm to another individual.
In a premises liability case, the obligation a property owner or manager owes another person is based on whether the individual is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. In Florida, a court will use a reasonableness standard to determine the category of injured individual given the particular circumstances surrounding the case.
Some of the factors considering in determining whether an injured person was an invitee, licensee, or trespasser include how the person was using the property, why they were on the property, was the accident foreseeable, and whether a reasonable effort was made to warn the person of the dangerous condition. For more information on these conditions, talk to our South Florida premises liability attorney.
Premises Liability Claims and Invitees in Florida
if a person enters another person’s property to conduct a business transaction that benefits both parties, the property owner has expressed or implied an invitation to enter the premises.
Property owners and managers owe the highest level of care, or duty, to invitees. Some examples of invitees include people shopping in grocery stores or shopping malls. Another common invitee is someone who is invited onto a residential property to repair or remodel a kitchen or provide another service. An invitee is also someone who is on public property using it for how it was intended.
To protect the safety of invitees, a property owner must keep their premises in a safe condition, repairing or providing adequate notice of any dangerous or hazardous conditions. This includes regularly inspecting the property for conditions that could cause harm. A property owner or manager could be held liable for hazardous conditions that they should have known existed. To learn more, contact our Hollywood premises liability lawyers.
Licensees in Florida Premises Liability Claims
A licensee is an individual who enters on another’s property for the owner’s convenience and who has the owner’s consent and permission. A common example of a licensee is a social guest, family member, or the like. They can also include uninvited guests, such as someone stopping by unannounced to borrow a cup of sugar. These individuals are afforded the second-highest duty of care. Property owners are required to maintain their property in a reasonably safe manner, repairing any unsafe conditions that arise. While a property owner might not have to have a sign posted that their rear deck steps are broken, they are required to warn their guests of the dangerous situation.
Trespassers and Premises Liability Claims in Florida
A trespasser is a person who enters a property without the permission, knowledge, or consent of the property owner. Under Florida law, a property owner who is aware that a trespasser is on their property must use reasonable care to ensure that person’s safety. This means that a property owner cannot take any action that would intentionally or recklessly injure the trespasser. For instance, a property owner is not permitted to rig a gun on their property that will cause harm or death to a trespasser. However, a homeowner would not have to provide a warning of their broken deck step.
Call Our Experienced Florida Premises Liability Attorney for a Free Consultation
While a premises liability lawsuit still contains many of the hallmarks associated with an ordinary negligence claim, there are substantial differences and legal hurdles that require the representation of a knowledgeable Hollywood, FL premise liability lawyer. At South Florida Law, PLLC, our attorneys understand the legal nuances and challenges of a premise liability claim. Call (954) 932-7877 to schedule a free appointment if you have been hurt on another’s property.