When you enter a store or a movie theater, you do not usually expect to suffer injuries. However, dangerous conditions such as broken railings, inadequately lit areas, malfunctioning doors, and slippery floors all can result in injuries to the patrons of these businesses.
If you or a loved one suffers injuries due to a dangerous condition on another’s property, you may want to consult with a St. Augustine premises liability lawyer to explore whether you have a viable claim under Florida law.
Explaining Premises Liability in St. Augustine
Premises liability claims may occur when guests are injured while on another person’s property. These claims may include individuals who slip and fall on a spill in a grocery store, trip on cracked sidewalks outside a restaurant, or fall into an unmarked hole at a neighbor’s house.
Property owners have a general duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. If someone who is authorized to be on the property is injured by a dangerous condition, they may have a claim for damages against the land owner. Generally, injury victims must prove the following elements to maintain a successful premises liability claim:
- The property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition
- The property owner failed to repair or warn others about the condition
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of the dangerous condition
Given these elements of proof, property owners who could not have known of a dangerous condition on their property typically would not be liable for injuries that resulted from that condition.
The Duty of Care of Property Owners
Property owners owe the highest duty of care to business invitees, or individuals they invite onto their property to conduct business. Business invitees usually include patrons of stores, hotels, and restaurants, but also may include repairmen or contractors who private property owners invite onto to their property to perform work.
In the case of business invitees, property owners must regularly inspect their property to keep it in a reasonably safe condition and take immediate steps to remedy and/or warn others of existing dangerous conditions.
Property owners also owe a duty of care to licensees who they invite onto their property. This duty extends to visitors at a neighbor’s house and partygoers. They are welcome visitors invited to the property, but not necessarily for the owner’s explicit benefits.
For trespassers, however, the liability of property owners who are hurt on their property may be non-existent. Only a few narrow exceptions would permit trespassers to bring a premises liability action against property owners, such as if property owners intentionally set snares or traps to injure them.
The Special Duty Owed to Children
Landowners also owe a special or heightened duty of care to children, whether those children are invited guests or trespassers on their property. This is particularly the case when it comes to attractive nuisances, or conditions on the property that are likely to attract children and could result in injuries to them.
Attractive nuisances may include trampolines, swimming pools, and playground equipment. If property owners have any of these items on their property, they must take reasonable precautions to protect children from getting hurt, such as erecting fences with locked gates around pools.
Contact an Experienced St. Augustine Premises Liability Attorney Today
When a wholly preventable injury occurs on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to damages from the landowner. Injuries from slip and fall accidents, which are one of the most common grounds for premises liability claims, can result in significant anguish and medical bills.
Therefore, seeking the advice of a St. Augustine premises liability lawyer may allow you to get compensation for your injuries from the owners of the property on which you were injured. Call today for a free consultation.