When people in Florida are injured in slip and fall accidents or otherwise suffer injuries is
someone else’s property, they will likely have actionable premises liability claims against the
property owner or person overseeing such property. In premises liability claims, a type
of personal injury claim, people may pursue action against a property owner or property manager
if they are injured in some way by a dangerous condition on the property. To have a successful
premises liability claim in Florida, people asserting these claims must prove certain factors,
which are outlined in Florida law. This article will discuss the elements one must prove to bring
a successful premises liability claim in Florida.
Negligence Action in Premise Liability Claims
Premises liability claims are considered a specific form of negligence in the State of Florida.
Florida law states that the substance of an action determines whether an action is a negligence
action.1 This means that to win a premises liability claim, you are required to prove all four
elements of a negligence action:
In Florida, all four of the elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence to have a
successful premise liability claim. In other words, to obtain a successful premises liability claim
in Florida you must present evidence that shows it is more likely than not that the property owner
or manager owed you a duty of care, breached this duty, and you suffered physical or other
economic injuries because of this breach.
Duty of Care
In the Sunshine State, property owners and managers do not owe every person that enters into
their property the same duty of care. Instead, the duty of care owed to a person that enters the
property is determined by the person’s reason to be on the property. People who enter another
person’s property are generally classified as invitees, licensees, or trespassers to determine the
duty of care owed to them. Invitees are people who enter another person’s property for some
legitimate business purpose. Normally, people are considered invitees when they are customers
of a store or when they are clients of a business. Licensees are people who enter another person’s
property, with the permission of the property owner or manager, for a social purpose. Licensees
are typically house guests or social guests on the property to attend events like a birthday party
or a cookout. Trespassers, on the other hand, are those that enter another person’s property
without permission to do so.
Per Florida law, property owners and managers owe their invitees the highest duty of care. More
so, property owners and managers owe invitees a duty of care to keep the premise safe, which
includes inspecting the property regularly and either repairing or warning invitees of any
dangerous conditions that they know or should have known to exist on the property.
Additionally, property owners and managers owe licensees the second highest duty of care.
Under Florida law, property owners and managers owe licensees a duty to keep the premises
reasonably safe, repair unsafe conditions, and alert licensees of any known dangers on the
property. This duty of care is lower than that owed to invitees because property owners only
need to warn licensees of dangerous conditions they knew about whereas property owners must
warn invitees of dangerous conditions they both knew about or should have known about.
Because trespassers do not have permission to be on the premises, they are owed the lowest duty
of care. According to Florida law, all property owners or managers must exercise reasonable care
to prevent reckless or intentional injury to trespassers when they are on the property.
Because property owners and managers owe different duties of care to individuals depending
upon an individual’s categorization as either an invitee, licensee, or trespasser, an individual
must prove that he or she fits into one of these categories. To do so, the individual may testify as
to why he or she entered the property, have physical evidence such as a promotional flyer or an
invitation which can show that he or she is either an invitee or licensee, or present testimony of
other people who can testify that he or she was on the property for a particular purpose. Note
that, because trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care, it is best to try to prove that you were
either an invitee or licensee when you suffered your injuries.
Breach of Duty of Care
Once it has been established that you are either an invitee, licensee, or trespasser, you must prove
that the property owner or manager failed to exercise the duty of care owed to you. If you are an
invitee, this can be proven by showing that a store had a practice of failing to regularly inspect
the premises and repair dangerous conditions on the premises. Obtaining policy and procedure
manuals, video surveillance footage, and eliciting the testimony of store employees as well as
certain expert witnesses to show that either the store’s policy and procedures were not being
followed by the property’s staff members or that the policy and procedures were flawed will
likely show that the property owner or manager breached the duty of care owed to you as an
If you are considered a licensee, presenting photographs of the condition that caused your
damages and testimony from yourself, the property owner, and other guests may establish that
the property owner breached the duty of care owed to you.
If you are considered a trespasser, showing that the property owner intentionally placed a
concealed or hidden dangerous condition on the property through your testimony, the owner’s
testimony, and photographs of the condition may establish that the property owner breach the
duty of care owed to you as a trespasser.
Whether you are an invitee, licensee, or trespasser, proving that a dangerous condition on the
property caused your injuries in a premises liability claim in Florida can generally be done the
same way. First, you may present your testimony that you encountered a dangerous condition on
the property, and, thereafter, suffered an injury. Second, you may present testimony of
eyewitnesses who observed the injuries occur because you encountered the dangerous
conditions. Third, you may present video surveillance footage that shows the events leading to
your injury. Fourth, you may present evidence such as medical records to show that you sought
medical attention immediately after the incident involving the dangerous condition occurred. The
short period between seeking medical attention for your injuries and you coming into contact
with the dangerous condition on the premises is circumstantial evidence that determines the
dangerous condition on the property (and nothing else caused) your injuries.
Alike proving causation, proving that you suffered damages as a result of being injured by a
dangerous condition on another person’s property can be done the same way regardless of
whether you are considered an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Presenting evidence such as
photographs of your injuries, medical records documenting your injuries, medical bills you
incurred because of your injuries, and testimony of yourself and your treating physician can
determine the extent to which you suffered a physical injury because of a dangerous condition on
another person’s property. Moreover, if your injuries inhibited you from working, presenting
leave and earning statements and documentation establishing how many days you missed work
may be enough to establish that, apart from suffering physical injuries, you suffered lost wages.
Contact a Jacksonville Personal Attorney to Discuss your Case
Did you sustain serious injuries while on another person’s property in Florida? Do not wait any longer to get the right representation you deserve! Contact our attorneys at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki today. Call (904) 398-1992 to schedule a free consultation.