Many people don’t realize that land and business owners in Florida owe their guests a duty to maintain a safe environment. If your injury occurred because of an owner’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation. Contacting a Florida lawyer with experience in premises liability is essential to winning your lawsuit.
Premises Liability in Florida
In Florida, premises liability covers guests on a property. Land and business owners owe their guests a certain duty of care, regardless of whether it’s commercial or private property. If a property owner learns of and fails to mitigate a hazard, like a spill or poor lighting, the injured guest can sue them for compensation.
However, Florida law differentiates between business (invitees) and private (licensees) visitors and trespassers. Each type of guest has a different level of protection under the law.
Invitees enter a property for a business purpose, either with an implied or implicit invitation. Invitees can include someone entering a restaurant for dinner or going into a bank to deposit a check.
Under Florida law, invitees receive the highest level of protection. Property owners must keep their premises safe, rectifying hazards as soon as they learn of them. Additionally, they must regularly inspect the property for damage.
Licensees are usually social guests of the property owner. They could come by for a game night and beers, a birthday party, or Thanksgiving. Additionally, the term licensees include uninvited but welcome guests, like if your neighbor stops by to say hello.
With the second-highest level of protection, property owners have a duty to keep their homes safe for visitors and fix problems that could pose a danger. However, unlike business properties, they don’t need to inspect for problems regularly. They must merely warn visitors about problem areas rather than immediately fixing them.
For business premises, if someone is asked to leave and does not do so, he or she could be charged with trespassing.
For a home, Trespassers are people who enter without permission of the owner.
Depending on the circumstances, Florida Statute 768.075 “Immunity from liability for injury to trespassers on real property” protects a landowner from liability when an undiscovered trespasser sustains an injury on their property.
While property owners owe less duty to trespassers, they still have some responsibility not to cause harm. For example, in Florida you cannot rig a deadly or harmful trap that trespassers, unwitting or otherwise, could fall victim to.
However, Florida does have a stand-your-ground law, allowing property owners to protect themselves with deadly force if they believe a trespasser has come to harm them.
Winning a Premises Liability Lawsuit
To win a premises liability lawsuit, your lawyer must prove several factors, including negligence on behalf of the property owner.
- Determining the type of visitor
Your lawyer needs to demonstrate to the court what type of visitor you were. Property owners often try to paint claimants as trespassers since that can invalidate your claim or significantly lessen your compensation. Additionally, since invitees have a higher level of care owed to them, it’s easier to prove your case as this visitor type than a licensee.
By determining what type of visitor you were, you have also shown the duty of care level the property owner owed you, which is necessary to establish negligence.
- Foreseeability of the accident
One of the core tenets of a premises liability case is showing negligence through foreseeability. Proving this requires the support of an experienced lawyer.
If a bulb goes out while you’re in a hallway and you trip and fall, the property owner may not be liable. However, if the bulb has been out for several days, and the owner has not changed it, you could likely argue they should have known the dark hallway might cause an injury.
Additionally, because businesses must regularly inspect their building for damages, you can often argue foreseeability even if they weren’t aware of the problem.
You must show that you sustained an injury because of the land owner’s negligence. For example, a victim could show they slipped on an icy walkway on private property and broke their arm. However, if you have a car accident while driving to the hospital to see a doctor about your broken arm, the property owner is still only liable for the arm.
- There are demonstrable damages
You cannot file a lawsuit if you didn’t suffer any damages. You’ll need to have proof of your medical bills, lost time at work, and any other costs you incurred.
Although connected to premises liability, negligent security differs slightly. Under this statute, businesses and landowners have a duty to keep you safe from security risks. Robberies and assaults can cause significant injury, including head trauma, bullet wounds, broken bones, and PTSD. A business should protect you from foreseeable criminal activity by providing appropriate security, fixing locks and broken windows, having adequate lighting in parking lots, emergency exits, and security cameras.
If you receive an injury from an assault or robbery on business property, you can file a negligent security lawsuit to get compensation for your damages.
Types of Compensation
In a premises liability or negligent security lawsuit, you can ask for non-economic and economic damages. Economic damages include current and future medical bills, damage to your property (like a broken cell phone), and lost wages.
Non-economic damages are more complex and provide compensation for your emotional distress. Your lawyer can help you calculate your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship.
Contact Jesse Davidson, P.A. for a Free ConsultationOur La
If you were injured while enjoying a day out in public or at a friend’s home, you might need to file a lawsuit to help cover your medical bills and property damage. Jesse Davidson, P.A., has years of experience with premises liability cases in Florida. Davidson can put together an aggressive and complex legal plan to win you the compensation you deserve.
Call today at (561) 252-7850 to schedule your free consultation and learn how Jesse Davidson, P.A., can help you.