What duty does the property owner have?

Florida premises liability law places a duty on individuals or organizations that own or are in control of land or buildings to maintain their property in a safe condition and to warn people of any known or reasonably discoverable hazards. To recover damages in a premises liability case, the injured party must prove that a dangerous condition existed on the property; the owner or possessor knew or should have known of the condition; the owner or possessor failed to take reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce the danger; and this failure was the proximate cause of the injury. A dangerous condition exists when something on the property presents an unreasonable risk to people on the property that may not be obvious to them.

In general, landowners have no duty to protect people on their property from third-party attacks. An injured person may only recover damages for injuries caused by attacks on another’s property if the landowner owed a special legal duty to them. Advertising claims, contractual provisions, state laws, city ordinances or the relationship of the injured person to the property owner may all serve to create the necessary duty.

If the injured person is someone who enters the property of another for his own convenience, pleasure, or benefit, or without license, invitation, or other right, and intrudes for some definite purpose of his own, or merely as an idler with no apparent purpose, he or she is either  a ”trespasser” or “uninvited licensee.”  Florida imposes a duty of care on the property owner to avoid willful or wanton harm to him or her by, for example, not creating pitfalls or setting traps designed to intentionally injure a trespasser.

If the injured person is someone invited onto the property as a social guest or for business reasons – known as an “invitee” or “invited licensee” – Florida imposes a duty of care on the property owner to use reasonable care to maintain the premises in a safe condition, to use reasonable care to learn of the existence of any dangerous conditions on the premises, and to warn the invitee of any dangers which are not obvious to the invitee but which are or should be known to the landowner.

In a negligent security claim, those non-obvious dangers include the risk of attack on the property owner’s premises.  Knowledge of prior crimes on the property or in the neighborhood may create a duty to warn of the risks of attack and implement more protective security measures to make guests and patrons safe.  If the possibility of criminal attack was foreseeable, Florida imposes a duty on property owners to take reasonable precautions to protect people on the premises from attack.

If you or a loved one have been attacked at school, work, a hotel, or in a home or apartment you are renting, and believe that your injury could have been prevented by the property owner implementing better security measures, you need an attorney that has experience in dealing with negligent security claims by your side to make sure you receive all the benefits and compensation you are entitled to as a result of your injury.  You need experienced and aggressive attorneys like Dan Newlin & Partners to help you get everything to which you may be entitled.  Call us at (407) 888-8000 for a free consultation and to have all your questions answered regarding your injury.