Who’s Responsible for an Injury at Home in Florida?
Is the homeowner responsible if you were injured while on their property?
As a general rule, Florida homeowners owe it to those who they invite to their house to ensure that their property is reasonably safe. But, should a guest be injured as a result of a homeowner’s negligence or hazards present on a homeowner’s property, they may be able to place a claim to compensate for the injury.
This is considered “premises liability” and holds homeowners responsible for any injuries that occur to others while on their property. Let’s explore some property law basics to better understand who is responsible for an injury at home in Florida.
A Primer on Premises Liability
Premises liability covers various injuries including dog bites, slip and falls, pool drownings, falling on a rotted porch step, and any other mishap that is home-related. There are a couple of “guest” designations to keep in mind in regards to premises liability including:
An invitee is a person who enters the property owner’s land at an implied invitation or to transact business in which both parties are mutually interested. Invitees can include plumbers, electricians, or other repairmen who are considered “business invitees.”
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to keep their property in a safe condition or provide notice of any known dangers on the premises (ex. a beware of dog sign). The homeowner should regularly inspect the property to ensure that it is in a safe condition. If not, they might be held responsible for any injuries that could result in skipping general upkeep/maintenance may be considered negligence.
A “licensee” is designated as a person who enters a property owner’s land for the owner’s convenience or to advance their interests with the owner’s permission or consent. Social guests are included in this category.
Homeowners owe the people that they invite to their house the highest level of care and safety. Licensees can include friends and family who come to the house for birthday parties, casual meetings, or BBQs and can also include a neighbor stopping by to borrow some sugar.
If someone enters a landowner’s prosperity without their consent or knowledge, then they are trespassing. However, under the “discovered trespasser’s rule,” if a landowner finds there is a trespasser on the property, they have a duty to prevent intentional or careless injuries, even though they are considered trespassers.
Even though the trespasser doesn’t have permission to be on the property, the owner of the property is still responsible to prevent reckless or intentional injury.
Unsure about who may be liable for your care after a slip-and-fall, dog bite, or boating accident? You may have a personal injury case. Call our expert personal injury attorneys at Mickey Keenan Law for a free consultation. We work hard to make it right and get you the compensation that you deserve.
How is Responsibility Proven?
Generally, a judge or a jury will evaluate the following factors to determine whether the injured visitor is a licensee or invitee:
- How did the visitor use the property?
- Why was the visitor on the property?
- Was the accident foreseeable, or could it have been anticipated by the property owner?
- Did the owner make an effort to warn the visitor of any dangerous conditions?
In a premises liability lawsuit, the visitor or guest that sustained the injury must prove that their injuries resulted from the negligence of the property owner to ensure that their property is safe.
When seeking a settlement, the injured party must prove the following:
- The property owner knew about the hazardous conditions
- To property owner failed to make repairs or provide warnings about the hazardous condition
- The injured party was injured due to the hazardous condition
Typically, the property owner will not be held legally responsible for injuries caused by conditions on their property that why were unaware of, or had no reason to be aware of. It is also generally expected that anyone who enters another person’s property will exercise care for their own well-being and safety while on the property.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
When children are involved, things can get a bit complicated. Special laws have been created in regards to premises liability and kids in Florida. The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine states that if the victim of a premises liability is a child, then are special legal duties that are extended to the property owner.
If there is something on the property that is determined to be attractive to a child’s natural curiosity, such as a swimming pool, construction equipment, or other “attractive nuisances,” natural or man-made, then liability may be imposed on the property owner.
Other attractive nuisances might include hot tubs, septic tanks, trampolines, empty refrigerators, gravel pits, or anything that hasn’t been “child–proofed.”
Injured on Another Person’s Property?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on another person’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for those injuries. At Mickey Keenan P.A. in Tampa, FL we treat you like family and represent accident victims in all types of injury claims, including premises liability cases.
We would be happy to help fight for your future. We can help you pursue a personal injury claim for your pain and suffering. Call 813-871-1300 to schedule a free case consultation today.