In a recently decided premises liability case, a woman fell as she was entering a fast food restaurant and later brought a lawsuit against the business. The woman alleged that she tried to open the doors to enter the restaurant but that the doors were difficult to open and that she fell while trying to enter the restaurant. She claimed she was pushing on the door when her feet “just slipped out from under [her].” She said that she did not recall seeing water on the floor before her fall and that there was a mat on the floor in the area of her fall. When asked, she could not explain what caused her to fall. The restaurant filed an affidavit in response to the woman’s claim, stating that it was not aware of any problems with its entry doors.
After examining the evidence, a state court granted summary judgment in favor of the restaurant. The court found the woman failed to sufficiently demonstrate that the restaurant caused her injuries. The court explained that in premises liability claims concerning a breach of the general negligence standard, “mere speculation” as to causation is not enough to show causation and prevent summary judgment.
Classes of Entrants in Premises Liability Claims
Often, in premises liability claims, the same legal standards apply as in other negligence claims. However, in Florida, the general negligence standard does not apply when an injury is caused by a defect or a dangerous condition in the premises. In addition, in premises liability claims, the duty a landowner owes to a plaintiff depends on the relationship between the landowner and the plaintiff. There are three classes of entrants on land: trespassers, licensees, and invitees.
A “licensee” enters premises with a privilege to enter for the purposes of convenience, pleasure, or benefit. A landowner owes a duty to licenses to refrain from wanton negligence or willful misconduct and to warn the licensee of a known dangerous defect or condition that is not obvious.
An “invitee” enters the premises for purposes connected with the business of the owner or occupant. Business customers are considered invitees and are owed the highest duty of care by landowners.
A “trespasser” enters premises without a landowner’s permission or some other right to enter. A landowner still owes a duty to trespassers to refrain from willfully and wantonly causing injuries to an undiscovered trespasser. If a landowner discovers a trespasser, the landowner also has a duty to warn the trespasser of known dangers that are not immediately obvious. However, there are some exceptions to this generally low standard for undiscovered trespassers.
Contact Our Miami Slip-and-Fall Accident Attorneys
At Friedman, Rodman, & Frank, P.A., we offer a strong voice to help accident victims hold property owners accountable for their negligent actions. Our personal injury attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience pursuing premises liability claims against residential, commercial, and government landowners. Whether you were a victim of a slip-and-fall accident or another type of premises liability accident, contact our law firm online or call 305-448-8585 or toll-free at 877-448-8585 to set up a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All consultations are free and confidential.
More Blog Posts:
Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court’s Denial of Plaintiff’s Request to Extend Notice Deadline, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 19, 2017.
State Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Claim Against Teacher in Wrongful Death Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 2, 2017.