Invitees In Florida Premises Liability
Premises liability is a common-law legal theory that has been codified (written into the statutory law) in Florida, with the intention of protecting visitors to other people’s premises if the owner is negligent. There are three different groups of visitors, and the group to which a person belongs will change the degree of care owed to them by the owner. Invitees are the group to which the most care is owed, but determining who qualifies as one can be difficult.
Invitees Owed Highest Duty Of Care
At common law, there were three groups of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Trespassers are, as one might imagine, people who are present on someone’s land without permission. Licensees are those who are on the land for business of their own – the common example is a person who enters a business to use the restroom, rather than to buy something. Invitees, the most common category, are people who come to the land or business at the owner’s invitation. Later on, the category of invitee was split further, into commercial, business, and social invitees, but there is no tangible legal difference between them.
The category of invitee is thus quite broad: everyone from a customer in a business to a social guest to a museum patron will qualify, and is thus owed the highest duty of care by the owner of the land or business they are visiting. Under Florida law, trespassers are only owed the duty to refrain from intentional injury; licensees are owed that plus the duty of the owner to warn of a non-obvious danger. Invitees are owed these responsibilities plus more.
Status May Not Be Enough
Florida requires land or business owners to perform several specific duties to protect the safety of an invitee. They must:
- Maintain their premises in a ‘relatively safe’ condition;
- Fix any dangerous condition that is known (or should be known) to them but would not be obvious to an invitee; and
- If a condition cannot be corrected, the owner must warn the invitee of its existence.
It can be difficult to prove that an owner failed to do these things, but it is not impossible, particularly if there have been other incidents involving the dangerous condition. That said, if a landowner can establish that a dangerous condition was “open and obvious” – in other words, that it should have been obvious to any visitor without warning being required – mere proof of your status as an invitee may not be enough to receive compensation. Enlisting an attorney can help clarify issues for you.
Call An Orlando Premises Liability Attorney
Most of the time, visiting someone’s premises will be reasonably safe for all comers – but it is because these laws exist to ensure they are kept that way. If you have been injured on someone else’s premises, and you believe that their negligence played a role, an Orlando premises liability attorney from the Hornsby Law Group may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call our office today for a free consultation.