You may not think much about the hole in your backyard, the patch of ice on your driveway or the water that a customer just brought into your store from the rain outside. However, all of these examples are potential premises liability issues.
Premises liability is an area of law in which property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises clean and safe for clients or visitors. That’s because unsafe conditions such as water, ice, uneven pavement, spills, broken steps, holes, dogs and other issues can cause accidents that lead to serious injury and even death.
Types of Guests
In Florida, those who enter a person’s property are categorized in three ways: invitee, licensee and trespasser. An invitee includes someone that is on a property for business reasons, such as a shopper in a grocery store or a person who comes to a home to install an appliance. A licensee is someone invited into a home house for social reasons, such as a friend, family member or neighbor. A trespasser is someone who enters onto property uninvited.
The property owner owes a level of duty to all of these people and therefore could be liable for any damages they suffer. Any person—even a trespasser—could file a claim against the property owner for injuries.
Duties As a Property Owner
All property owners must ensure that their property is safe for guests and others who enter the property. When people do come over, property owners must them of any dangerous conditions that exist. That’s why you may see “wet floor” signs at stores and restaurants. If there are stay wires or huge holes that someone could fall into, warning signs should exist. This is to help protect the visitors to the property, as well as to protect the property owner from any potential liability for injuries.
Ultimately, however, there are many situations in which a property owner fails to alert visitors to a dangerous condition; and, as such, anyone who is injured may file a premises liability to recover compensation. In general, the basis of a successful premises liability lawsuit falls on a reasonableness standard. Specifically, the injured party must show that the property owner did not maintain reasonably safe premises, and that they failed to correct or warn of dangers that they knew or should have known existed.
It’s important to note, however, that not all categories of visitors are owed the same duty of care. To be sure, invitees may generally demand the highest level of care from property owners, followed by licensees. In the case of trespassers, however, the property owner must simply refrain from willfully injuring them in order to avoid liability.
Overall, the laws surrounding premises liability can be extremely complex. As such, anyone who has been injured in this type of situation is encouraged to reach out to an attorney for help immediately.
Contact a Talented Miami Premises Liability Lawyer
All property owners, including those who own a business, must keep the inside and outside safe, even for trespassers. Failure to do so may lead to serious injuries, and can be the basis of a successful premises liability lawsuit.
If you were injured by dangerous conditions while on private or public property, seek legal help. The Miami premises liability lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can assess your case and determine liability. We can help you obtain compensation for injuries and other damages. Schedule your consultation today by calling (305) 371-2692 or visiting us online.