Who is liable for an injury on private property?
In the state of Florida, there are two types of private property: residential and commercial. Regardless of how the private property is being used, a property owner is legally obligated under Florida Statute 95.11(3)a to maintain safe conditions for visitors who enter the premises.
To determine if the property owner is liable for the injury, one of the following statements must be true:
- The property owner’s negligent actions caused hazardous conditions that lead to the accident.
- The property owner knew of the hazardous conditions and did not take the necessary steps to correct them.
- The property owner had a reasonable amount of time and opportunity to learn of the hazardous conditions and warn guests of their presence.
Under Florida law, private property owners are held to a high standard of care for all individuals who visit their premises. Yet, Florida distinguishes between the types of visitors that could potentially be injured on private property and therefore mitigates the owner’s responsibility in certain situations.
Florida recognizes three types of property visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each type of property visitor is afforded certain rights and has different levels of protection under the law.
Invitees – the most protected group of property visitors. Invitees are guests who are invited by the property owner or manager to enter the premises.
Licensees – those who visit a private property with permission, but do so for transactional or commercial reasons. Licensees are individuals, such as service personnel, contractors, and even garage sale patrons, who are afforded protection during the duration of their stay on the property.
Trespassers – those who enter private property without permission. Typically, trespassers are not protected under private property premise liability in Florida. However, these types of guests do still have some legal protection. For example, if a door-to-door salesman gets injured on a rotting porch, the property owner could still be held liable for a portion of his damages.
Determining liability for injuries that occur on private property in Florida can be complex. If you have been injured while on private property in Florida, contact an experienced premise liability lawyer to learn more about your legal rights.