Landowner Duty Standards in Florida Premise Liability Cases

Whether or not a Florida landowner is liable to a member of the public for injuries resulting from an accident on his or her property depends in large part on the status of the visitor at the time of the accident. The status will determine the landowner’s duty of care to the visitor.

The following outline lists the status categories recognized under Florida law and the duty owed to visitors under each category:

  • Public Invitee. A person who is invited to enter or remain on land as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. (Example: Child in a public park.) This landowner has the following duties: (1) to correct or warn of dangers that the owner knows or should know of by the use of reasonable care, and which the visitor cannot or should not know of by the use of reasonable care; and (2) to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. (See my previous blog on this subject.)
  • Business Invitee. A person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the possessor of the land. (Examples: A grocery story patron; a paying fan at a Miami Dolphins football game.) Duty: same as for Public Invitee.
  • Licensee By Invitation. A social guest. Duty: same as for Public Invitee.
  • Uninvited Licensee. A person who chooses to come upon the premises solely for his or her own convenience without invitation either expressed or reasonably implied under the circumstances. (Example: teenagers partying in a parking lot owned by a business establishment.) Duty: To refrain from willful or wanton injury (e.g., to remove any concealed “traps” of which the owner has actual knowledge).
  • Trespasser. A person who enters the premises without license, invitation, or other right, and intrudes for some definite purpose of his own, or at his own convenience, or merely as an idler with no apparent purpose, other than perhaps to satisfy his curiosity. Duty: same as for Uninvited Licensee.

(Much of the information contained in this outline was gathered from a table created by Attorney Wilton H. Strickland.)

A visitor’s status is an important, although not conclusive, element in the outcome of every premise liability case. Other considerations such as negligence, comparative fault, and injuries can be as equally important.

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Jeffrey P. Gale, P.A. is a South Florida based law firm committed to the judicial system and to representing and obtaining justice for individuals – the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless and the damned, and to protecting the rights of such people from corporate and government oppression. We do not represent government, corporations or large business interests.