Different Types of Visitors On a Property Are Owed Different Legal Duties

While many states have abandoned considering why the accident victim was on the property, Florida law still recognizes differing legal duties for different types of visitors. As a result, the facts in your case may make a critical difference. These differences can be difficult for non-lawyers to appreciate, but a Boca Raton premises liability attorney can explain how they apply to your case.

Property Owners Owe No Duty to Trespassers

A property owner owes no duty to trespassers when it comes to maintaining the property. If you are trespassing on someone else’s property and are injured, you will likely be unable to pursue a claim for compensation even if the owner’s negligence is obvious and the condition was incredibly dangerous. The one exception to this rule is for children where the property has what may be considered an “attractive nuisance.”

The attractive nuisance doctrine applies to property conditions that a property owner can reasonably expect to attract children. For example, an unfenced swimming pool, dangerous machinery with easy access, or ungated pits or shafts are the type of conditions that would entice a child’s curiosity. In those situations, the property owner may be held liable for any accidents that occur even though the child was trespassing if the owner did not take precautions to prevent access.

What is a Licensee?

Most premises liability cases involve licensees – people who are allowed to be on the property for a variety of reasons. There are two main types:

  • Invited licensees: these are people who are on the property by invitation, as the name implies. Social guests of a private property owner are considered invited licensees. For invited licensees, property owners have the legal duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the property to eliminate potential hazards.
  • Uninvited licensees: these are people who are not trespassers but are on the property without an express or implied invitation. For example, a door-to-door salesman would be an example of an uninvited licensee. The property owner’s legal duty is limited to avoiding causing willful or wanton injuries (such as traps intended to cause injury to unaware visitors).

As you can see, property owners have a higher obligation to those visitors who are invited versus those who are uninvited. However, the difference between being an invited guest and an uninvited guest can be subtle in many cases, especially if the invitation was implied or assumed. If this may be an issue in your case, it is best to talk to a Boca Raton premises liability attorney about your case before making any decisions.

About Business and Public Invitees

Business and public invitees are owed the highest degree of protection under Florida law when it comes to premises liability.

  • Business invitees: these are visitors who are on the property for reasons directly or indirectly connected to the operation of a business. Examples would be a customer at a grocery store or a courier delivering documents to an office.
  • Public invitees: these are visitors to public facilities who are on property that is held open to the general public. People who are at public parks or government buildings would be considered public invitees.

In both cases, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the property in a reasonably safe condition. In addition, the property owner is obligated to correct any known hazards or at least provide a warning to visitors. For unknown hazards, property owners have an obligation to make a reasonable effort to inspect the premises for any potential hazards.

Of course, people can disagree as to what constitutes a reasonable effort or what could be considered reasonably safe. A Boca Raton premises liability attorney will be able to identify the critical facts that can be used to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Our Boca Raton Premises Liability Attorney Provides Answers to Your Questions

Can I pursue a claim if the property owner was unaware of the hazard?

In many situations, the property owner can be held liable for hazards that they should have known about. In situations involving business and public properties, the property owner has a legal duty to routinely inspect the property to identify potential hazards that could lead to accidents that are reasonably foreseeable. If you have been injured and the property owner is claiming that the hazard was unknown, you should contact a Boca Raton premises liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Does premises liability include injuries caused by another person?

As with any other type of premises liability claim, you will have to prove that the property owner knew or should have known that injuries caused by another person were a reasonable possibility. A property owner may be held liable in the following situations:

  • A nightclub owner fails to have sufficient security personnel to deal with intoxicated patrons
  • A parking garage fails to install sufficient lighting
  • The security personnel at a sports venue fails to take action with regard to aggressive and unruly fans

If you have been assaulted while on public property or at a business, a Boca Raton premises liability attorney can discuss whether you have a claim.

What if the property owner is unable to correct the hazard that caused my accident?

Florida law does not require property owners to go to any length in order to address potential hazards. Instead, they must make a reasonable effort, which is determined by a variety of factors including the potential cost and the practicality of the solutions available. These are the situations where the property owner likely has a duty to warn visitors. For example, property owners may not be reasonably expected to be constantly mopping a tile floor on a rainy day, but they may have an obligation to post “wet floor” signs.

Turn To A Boca Raton Premises Liability Attorney At The Grife Law Firm

No Fees Unless You Win

If you have been injured because of someone else’s careless actions, you should contact a Boca Raton premises liability attorney at The Grife Law Firm to learn more about your legal options. We assist injured individuals throughout Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, including in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Call us at 855-998-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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