As a general rule, Florida landowners have an obligation to ensure that their property is safe for those whom they invite onto their property. The extent of this obligation depends on the relationship between the parties and takes into account the reason why the plaintiff was on the defendant’s property. For the most part, landowners must take action to clear known hazards or warn of the hazards that may not have been visible by the visitor’s naked eye. If a landowner fails to take the adequate precautions, they may be liable for a visitor’s injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit.
In some cases, a landowner can be held liable for injuries that occur off their property, although this is a much rarer scenario. That is because the general rule is that landowners are not responsible to ensure a visitor’s safety before the visitor enters the property or after they leave the property. However, if the plaintiff can show that the defendant’s conduct increased the dangers involved, or if it obscured the off-site hazards, a defendant may be found liable for injuries occurring off their property.
A recent case provides an in-depth discussion of landowner liability as it pertains to off-site injuries.
The Facts of the Case
The defendant church maintained a parking lot for visitors. The church contracted with a nearby landowner to use the property as an overflow parking lot. The off-site parking area was across a five-lane road.
The plaintiff was attending an evening service at the church. As he went to park in the church’s regular lot, he was told that it was full and that he should park in the overflow lot. The plaintiff drove to the overflow lot and parked his car. Upon exiting his car, the plaintiff decided to cross the street on his own, without proceeding to the crosswalk about 100 feet away. There were church volunteers at the intersection to assist parishioners in crossing. However, there was no volunteer present in the parking lot to direct parishioners to the intersection.
The plaintiff attempted to cross the road mid-block and was struck by a passing motorist, resulting in serious injuries. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the church, arguing that the church assumed a responsibility to ensure parishioners’ safe crossing of the street from the off-site lot to the church.
The court disagreed, finding that the church’s actions in maintaining an off-site lot did not give rise to a duty in this case. The court explained that, as a general rule, a landowner is not liable for injuries that occur off their property. Here, the court explained, the church did nothing more than merely lease an off-site lot; in other words, there was no other alleged negligence. The court explained that the result may have been different if the church increased the dangers involved in crossing the street, or if it provided inadequate assistance to parishioners. However, under these facts, the court declined to extend a duty of care.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Slip and Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured on another party’s property in South Florida, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a South Florida premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience representing victims in a wide range of personal injury cases, including slip-and-fall cases and other premises liability cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Reverses Jury’s Verdict Based on Lack of Evidence Showing the Defendant Knew about Hazard that Caused Plaintiff’s Fall, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 27, 2017.
Court Upholds Arbitration Agreement in Recent Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 13, 2017.