Property Owners’ Duty in Slip and Fall Cases

In Florida, property owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition to ensure the safety of individuals who enter their property. Some of the key duties of a property owner in Florida to keep people safe include:

1. Regular Inspections: Property owners should conduct regular inspections of their premises to identify and address any hazards or dangerous conditions.
2. Hazard Management: Property owners must promptly repair or address any hazards, such as slippery floors, uneven surfaces, or broken handrails, that could potentially cause harm to visitors.
3. Warning Signs: If there are known hazards on the property that cannot be immediately remedied, property owners should provide adequate warning signs or barriers to alert visitors of the danger.
4. Maintenance of Facilities: Property owners are responsible for maintaining all facilities and amenities on their premises in proper working order to prevent accidents or injuries.
5. Compliance with Building Codes: Property owners must comply with all applicable building codes and safety regulations to ensure that their property meets the necessary standards for safety.
6. Adequate Lighting: Property owners should ensure that their premises are adequately lit, especially in areas such as staircases, hallways, and parking lots, to reduce the risk of accidents and criminal activity.
7. Security Measures: Depending on the nature of the property, property owners may be required to implement security measures such as surveillance cameras, security personnel, or secure entry systems to protect visitors from harm.
8. Special Considerations: Property owners should take into account any special considerations related to the type of property they own, such as swimming pools, playgrounds, or construction sites, and take appropriate measures to mitigate risks associated with these features.

Overall, property owners in Florida are expected to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm to individuals who enter their premises, and failure to fulfill these duties may result in liability for injuries or damages sustained by visitors.

Court Case – Duty of Property Owners

In a recent legal development, Teki Williams appealed a final summary judgment in favor of John Weaver, arguing that the court’s decision was flawed due to a genuine dispute of material facts. In a significant turn, the appellate court agreed, prompting a reversal of the summary judgment and a remand for further proceedings.

Williams, an employee of Royal Green Lawn & Ornamental Services, Inc., arrived at Weaver’s home to perform lawn services. While walking through Weaver’s lawn to drop off paperwork, Williams slipped on a deck covered in algae, injuring his back. Williams believed the deck was safe to walk upon based on its appearance, but after the fall, he realized it was covered in slippery algae.
Weaver admitted to not noticing the slipperiness of the deck and agreed that it needed cleaning. However, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Weaver, asserting that Williams was injured while performing contractual duties and that the algae on the deck was open and obvious.

Legal Analysis
The appellate court conducted a thorough review, emphasizing the de novo standard of review for summary judgment motions. To prevail, the movant must demonstrate the absence of genuine disputes of material facts and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. However, summary judgment should not substitute for the trial of disputed fact issues.

Duty of Property Owners
Property owners are generally required to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for business invitees. While exceptions exist for injuries sustained by employees of independent contractors during contracted work, such exceptions do not apply when the injury occurs outside the scope of the contracted duties.

Applying Legal Standards
The court examined whether the dangerous condition of the deck was open and obvious. Despite its appearance, Williams and even Weaver were uncertain about its slipperiness, creating a genuine dispute of material fact. Moreover, even if a hazard is obvious, property owners still have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition.

The court’s decision to reverse the summary judgment underscores the importance of property owners’ duties to maintain safe premises, irrespective of obvious hazards. This case serves as a reminder that genuine disputes of material facts warrant a full trial rather than summary judgment. As the legal proceedings continue, the focus remains on ensuring accountability and fairness in premises liability cases.

What You Should Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

If you’ve suffered an injury from a slip and fall accident in Miami, Hialeah, Cape Coral, Fort Lauderdale, or Fort Myers, selecting the right legal representation is crucial to safeguarding your rights and securing rightful compensation. With Wolfson & Leon, you’re partnering with a law firm renowned for its unmatched experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Our devoted team of bilingual slip and fall attorneys is dedicated to advocating vigorously on your behalf, striving for the best possible outcome for your case. Reach out today for a complimentary consultation and allow us to guide you towards recovery and justice. You can schedule your free consultation by dialing (305) WOLFSON (965-3766) or (305) 285-1115.

Contact Information