Florida landowners generally have a duty to make sure that their property is safe to those whom they invite onto their property. If a landowner, including a business or government entity, fails to maintain their property, and someone is injured as a result, the injured party may be able to recover compensation for their injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit.
There is an exception to this general rule, however, and that lies within the Florida recreational use statute, F.S. 375-251. The statute provides immunity from liability to certain landowners who open up their land for the public’s general use. In order to qualify for this immunity, a landowner must not charge a fee for the use of the land. A recent Florida appellate opinion discusses the applicability of a recreational use statute to a rollerblade injury case, finding that the plaintiff was prevented from bringing a lawsuit against the government entity he claimed was responsible for his injuries.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was rollerblading on the street in Delray Beach when he encountered a pothole. Unable to maintain his balance as he hit the pothole, the plaintiff fell to the ground, resulting in serious injuries. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the City of Delray Beach. The plaintiff admitted that it was against the law to rollerblade in the street but nonetheless argued that the city was negligent in maintaining the roadway and letting a pothole develop.
Florida has a recreational use statute that prevents anyone injured while inline skating from bringing a lawsuit against the person or entity that owns the property where the injury occurred in some circumstances. However, the statute is oddly phrased, stating that a governmental entity “is not liable to any person who voluntarily participates in . . . inline skating . . . for any damage or injury to property or persons which arises out of a person’s participation in such activity, and which takes place in an area designated for such activity.”
The plaintiff’s argument was that he was rollerblading in a place where he was not permitted to do so, and thus the recreational-use statute did not apply. The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument, explaining the plaintiff’s interpretation of the law would lead to an “absurd result” that was not intended by lawmakers. Specifically, the court noted that, under the plaintiff’s interpretation, a person who was legally rollerblading in a place designated for such activity would be prevented from recovering compensation for their injuries, while a person who was rollerblading in a place that was not designated for the activity would be permitted to recover for their injuries.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured on another party’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. While Florida’s recreational use statute does prevent some lawsuits, it allows many others. The dedicated South Florida premises liability lawyers at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling a wide range of Florida personal injury cases, and they know what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. To learn more about how Florida law pertains to your case, and to speak with a dedicated South Florida personal injury lawyer about your case, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Determining Damages in South Florida Car Accidents, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 21, 2017.
Nursing Home Claims Privilege in Face of Plaintiff’s Discovery Request, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 5, 2017.