Every property owner in Florida has a duty to protect lawful visitors from suffering preventable injuries due to dangerous property conditions. However, this duty can vary depending on the circumstances. The extent to which a negligent landowner can be held liable for a visitor’s accident is impacted by whether that visitor did anything careless to cause or worsen their injuries.
Making sense of how state law and legal precedent address situations like this can be much easier with a capable The Villages premises liability lawyer. With guidance from a personal injury attorney experienced with handling similar cases successfully in the past, you could have far better chances of establishing fault for your specific incident and recovering comprehensive compensation for every loss.
When Are Property Owners Liable for Accidents?
Like other injury cases, premises liability claims revolve around a theory of negligence, which builds itself around the concept of a duty of care. This duty is an implicit or explicit legal obligation for someone to act a certain way to minimize the risk of other people getting hurt. As a property liability attorney in The Villages can explain, landowners in Florida owe different duties to people on their land for various reasons.
A landowner owes the most substantial duty of care to invitees or people like store customers visiting lawfully for a landowner’s financial benefit. In addition to warning invitees of all known dangers on their property, landowners must regularly inspect their property to identify new hazards and address them promptly. The law may hold a property owner who fails to exercise this ordinary care liable for an accident even if they were not directly aware of the harmful condition that caused it.
Conversely, landowners are only obligated to warn licensees—people visiting for their benefit—of known hazards and are generally not liable for dangers they did not know about. Finally, when it comes to unlawful trespassers, property owners in Florida can generally only be held responsible for injuries that stem from unmarked open hazards or hazards that they intentionally created.
How Comparative Fault Could Limit Recovery in a Premises Liability Claim
Even if a property owner violated their duty to keep a particular visitor safe from harm, that visitor’s irresponsible actions can be a factor in a claim if they directly contributed to causing an accident or made its consequences worse. Under Florida Statutes §768.81, any person whose own negligence played a role in their injury may be subject to a proportional reduction in available compensation based on the percentage of total fault they hold for the incident in question.
Fortunately, Florida follows a pure comparative fault approach. No amount of blame an injured plaintiff could share with a defendant would prohibit them from recovering any compensation. That said, guidance from a seasoned lawyer in The Villages can still be vital to minimizing the impact this legal principle has on a premises liability claim’s outcome.
A The Villages Premises Liability Attorney Can Help
Accidents on private property can cause life-altering physical, emotional, and financial trauma. They often stem mostly or entirely from negligent property management by landowners. However, knowing an owner was careless and proving their actions directly led to your injuries are two different elements in a claim. The latter can be virtually impossible without assistance from experienced legal counsel.
Speaking with a The Villages premises liability lawyer about your unique situations can be a crucial first step towards obtaining the recovery you need. Schedule a consultation by calling our team of attorneys today.