Owning or renting property in Florida is a big responsibility, especially when that property is opened up to guests or the public.
Property owners and tenants alike have certain responsibilities to inspect their property at reasonable intervals, make necessary repairs to keep the property reasonably safe, and warn guests and others of unavoidable hazards. When these steps are not taken, the results can be devastating and tragic.
Even a simple fall on a wet or icy patch of a parking lot can mean tens of thousands in medical bills, weeks or months of missed work, and perhaps permanent aches, pains, and limitations.
The Orlando slip and fall lawyers of Morgan & Morgan understand how serious these injuries can be and know who to look to for compensation and how to force those parties to be accountable.
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The Duty of Care of Property Owners in Florida
The precise duty owed by a property occupier – which for our purposes includes both owners and tenants of property – depends on the nature of the relationship between that owner or occupier and the person coming onto the premises:
- Invitee – An invitee is a person freely invited onto the premises by the occupier, either for the occupier’s own purposes or as part of a general invitation to the public at large. An example would be a customer in a retail store. In this case, the occupier has a proactive duty not only to remedy or warn of known hazards on the property, but also to inspect at reasonable intervals to uncover hazards that have developed.
- Licensee and trespassers – A licensee is someone who is not invited on to the occupier’s property and is there solely for their own purposes. A trespasser is someone who comes onto another’s property unlawfully. In either case, the occupier has only a very limited duty to refrain from wantonly or recklessly exposing these people to danger.
As a practical matter, the vast majority of successful slip and fall and premises liability claimants in Florida will be invitees.
The “Attractive Nuisance Doctrine”
Children who are injured on another’s property, even while trespassing, may still have the right to receive compensation under the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” which is still followed in Florida.
This rule essentially states that a property occupier may still be liable for an injury to a trespassing child if:
- The occupier knew or should have known, that children were likely to be present near the property
- The occupier knew or should have known that there was a condition on the property that could cause harm to those children
- The cost or burden of alleviating that danger is slight compared to the potential harm
- The occupier fails to take reasonable steps to alleviate that danger and a child is injured as a result
Florida Slip and Fall Attorneys May be Able to Help You Get Justice
Getting compensation after being injured by a dangerous condition on another’s property is not easy. There are often several parties involved, including landowners, tenants, property managers, and maintenance contractors, each trying to blame the other and all trying to blame the victim.
At Morgan & Morgan, our Orlando slip and fall attorneys understand these difficulties and know how to get through the smokescreen that property owners and tenants use to avoid responsibility.
If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall accident or by another type of dangerous condition on another’s property, call us today at (407) 420-1414 or contact us online to have your case evaluated for free by an experienced attorney.