As Floridians, we are invited into to places such as homes, grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, etc. every day, and we trust the owners of a residence or business to keep their property safe. When a landowner fails to fulfill their duty of ensuring that their property is safe, they can be held liable for damages sustained by a person who is injured on their property. This type of personal injury claim is known as a premises liability claim. The duty of a property owner is determined by the type of guest they have on their premises. These guests can be divided into three groups: trespassers, invitees, and licensees.
Premises Liability Claims for Trespassers in Miami, FL
Trespassers are generally considered to be people that you do not voluntarily invite on your property, and as such, a landowner owes a very low duty to keep a trespasser safe while they are on their premises. Under Fla.Stat.§768.075(2), a property owner is not liable for injuries or damages incurred by a trespasser. There a few exceptions to this rule, but in most instances, a landowner cannot be held liable if a trespasser is injured on their premises.
Premises Liability Claims for Licensees in Miami, FL
The Florida Supreme Court generally defined a licensee is a person who enters upon the property of another for their own convenience, pleasure, or benefit in Post v. Lunney. This definition encompasses family members, neighbors, social guests, etc. A property owner owes a licensee a duty of care that requires the owner to:
- Keep their property free of dangerous defects
- Keep their property safe
- Warn licensees of dangers on their land that the property owner is aware of
Premises Liability Claims for Invitees in Miami, FL
An invitee is owed the highest duty of care by a landowner. Invitees were defined broadly by the Florida Supreme Court in Luney as a person who enters upon the premises of another for purposes connected with the business of the owner or occupant of the premises, but the Supreme Court took this definition a step further in the Luney decision by defining two classes of invitees:
- Business Invitees: A person who comes on a land owner’s property for business dealings either directly or indirectly connected to the land owner’s business dealings. An example of a business invitee might be someone you have invited to your home to make repairs or install cable.
- Public Invitee: A person who is invited onto a property owners land as a member of the public for the purpose of which the land is held open to the public. An example of a public invitee would be a person who goes to a public park. The visitor does not have a business interest in going to this location like they do in a business invitee scenario.
The first thing a personal injury attorney will do when they are evaluating a premises liability claim is to determine what type of visitor you were at the time of your accident. This information will allow your lawyer to determine whether or not the property owner is liable for the damages you incurred as a result of your premises liability accident.