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The Basics of Establishing a Premises Liability Claim

12/18/2020
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Section 768.0755 of the 2020 Florida Statutes establishes the rules for premises liability in Florida, stating that a premise liability claim may be brought in Florida if a person slips and falls on some foreign substance, such as a spill, and that the business actually knew or should have known of the spill.

When people in Florida are injured due to their contact with unsafe conditions on someone else’s property; for example, by slipping and falling on spilled oil on the floor of a business, they may have a premises liability claim against that business. 

In other words, premises liability claims are a type of personal injury claim that people may assert against a property owner or property manager if they are injured in some way by a dangerous condition on the property.

If you have been injured while on someone else’s property, contact the Florida premises liability attorneys at Searcy Denney.

Establishing a Premises Liability Claim

To successfully establish a premises liability claim in Florida, you must prove the following four elements:

  1. The property owner or manager owed you a duty of care,
  2. The property owner or manager breached the duty of care owed to you,
  3. This breach caused you to suffer injuries, and
  4.  You did indeed suffer injuries.

Duty of Care

The duty of care is the most complicated element to establish because the proper duty of care depends on the reason the person was on the property. People who enter into another’s property are generally classified as invitees, licensees, or trespassers for the purpose of determining the duty of care owed to them.

  • Invitees. Invitees are people who enter onto another’s property for some legitimate business purpose; e.g., customers. Property owners and/or managers owe the highest duty of care to invitees, which is to keep the premises safe, including regular inspection of the property and either repairing or warning invitees of any dangerous conditions that they knew or should have known to exist on the property.
  • Licensees. Licensees are people who enter onto another’s property with permission for a social purpose. Licensees are typically house guests or social guests, who are on the premises to attend events like parties or social gatherings. Licensees are owed the second highest duty of care, which is to keep the premises reasonably safe, fix unsafe conditions, and warn licensees of any known dangers on the property. This duty of care is lower than that owed to invitees because property owners only need to warn licensees of dangerous conditions they actually knew about.
  • Trespassers. Trespassers, on the other hand, are those that enter onto another’s property without permission. Because they lack permission to be on the premises, trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care, requiring property owners and/or managers to merely exercise reasonable care so as to prevent reckless or intentional injury to trespassers when they are on the property.

Breach of Duty

Breach of duty simply means that the property owner and/or manager failed to exercise the duty of care owed by not satisfying the appropriate inspections, warnings, and repairs, as described above.

Causation

Showing that the breach of duty actually caused the injuries to the plaintiff (e.g., slipping on spilled oil caused you to fall and break your hand) is again fairly simple to understand but can be difficult to prove.

Damages

Finally, a plaintiff has to establish that they were actually injured (e.g., broke your hand).

Contact Our Florida Premises Liability Attorneys for Help With Your Premises Liability Claim

Premise liability injuries can be serious and expensive to remedy. No matter how you are categorized, you have a right to reasonable safety when you are on someone else’s property. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, contact the Florida premises liability attorneys at Searcy Denney. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis. If you need our help, contact us online today.

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