November 7, 2016

We have all heard the horror stories about the burglar who sues the homeowner after being injured while robbing their home.  Property liability can be a confusing issue.  So, what’s the real story?  Corless Barfield is here to answer your liability questions.

Home Accidents in Florida with Uninvited Guests

What is premises liability?

Property liability is the responsibility of a property owner for their property and the people on it.  When someone is on your property, they expect that you maintain a reasonably safe environment.  This is premises liability.  If someone is injured on your property due to negligence or unsafe conditions, these type of home accidents in Florida could cause them to possibly seek retribution.  There are a few things you need to ask first.

What type of visitor was it?

There are different legal statuses when it comes to visitors on your property.  An invitee is someone who was invited onto your property.  This could be a customer of a store.  A licensee comes to the property of their own accord, but has the permission of the owner.  A social guest is also a welcome visitor to the property. A trespasser, however, has no permission.  They have no right to be on the property and are not invited guests.

What is the expectation for trespassers?

A trespasser has no right to be on your property.  This means that the implied expectation that their safety is ensured while on your property is void.  You hold no responsibility to take care that the safety of this type of visitor is assured.  This is relevant for states that focus on the status of the visitor.

What is an anticipated trespasser?

An anticipated trespasser is someone that has not trespassed on your property yet, but is a possibility. Liability does have expectations for homeowners, even in the case of trespassers. In the case of homes or private property, the homeowner must warn anticipated trespassers of any danger that could result in serious injury or death.  This applies to non-obvious items and items that the owner has added which can do harm.  The warning usually comes in the form of a sign or notice at the entrance or near the line of the property.  

What about attractive nuisances?

An attractive nuisance is something installed by the owner which could be appealing to children.  The owner is required to post notice about items or conditions of their property which may cause injury, if they have an attractive nuisance on site. Anything man made that could spark curiosity and attract a child onto your property is an attractive nuisance and a warning must be posted. This can include pools, lawn mowers, wells, and other curious but dangerous structures.   For more answers about home accidents in Florida, contact Corless Barfield and one of our legal team will assist you. Sources: Premises Liability