In the state of Florida, all private and commercial property owners are
subject to certain liability provisions defined by state premises law.
They are responsible for the general safety of any person who enters their
property, whether it is a home, retail location or office. If someone
is injured on a commercial property, damages could be apportioned to business
lessees and the property owner.
Private and commercial property owners are responsible for the varying
levels of safety for anyone who enters their property according to three
different classifications of visitors:
Business Invitees: For businesses and stores, any person entering the premises for purposes
related to that business is considered a business invitees. Repairmen
and utility workers fall under this classification with regard to a private
residence. A homeowner bears the duty to inspect for dangerous conditions
that could cause injury to business invitees.
Licensees: This term applies to guests who enter the property of a private residence.
Friends or family members who are on the homeowner’s property for
social purposes are considered licensees. A person visiting a family member
at his/her place of employment could also be considered a licensee in
the event he/she is hurt and files a
personal injury claim. A property owner bears the duty to repair any unsafe conditions as well
as an obligation to warn visitors of known dangers.
Trespassers: A person without permission to be on privately owned land still has a
few basic rights. Property owners may not set up booby traps capable of
deadly force to deter trespassers. If a property owner discovers a trespasser,
he/she does bear the duty to warn him/her of any known dangers otherwise
undetectable through ordinary observation
Exceptions for Children
Florida state law provides special protection to children on the basis
that they are not able to decipher between right and wrong. This exception
is called the attractive nuisance doctrine. This doctrine applies specifically
to homeowners who have swimming pools, trampolines, old appliances or
cars on their property.
These conditions might entice young children. So homeowners are responsible
for removing or otherwise locking and securing these items. Locks, perimeter
fences, and secured gates are acceptable means in most cases. If a child
is injured or killed after falling into an unfenced swimming pool, that
property owner could be held liable for damages.
Regardless of the visitor’s classification or age, property owners
should always inspect and repair any known hazards to prevent an injury
The Florida Senate
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