As a general matter, Florida landowners owe a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to keep the area reasonably safe and warn visitors of known hazards that may not be readily apparent. The extent of the duty owed by a landowner depends on several circumstances, including the relationship between the parties. For example, a business visitor such as a customer in a retail establishment is owed a higher duty of care than a social guest.
When a landowner fails to exercise the necessary level of care in maintaining their property, and a guest is injured as a result, the landowner may be held liable for their visitor’s injuries through a Florida premises liability lawsuit. In general, in order to succeed in a premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard causing the plaintiff’s injuries.
Importantly, a Florida premises liability plaintiff does not need to prove that the landowner had actual knowledge of the hazard; it is sufficient to show that the defendant landowner had constructive knowledge of the hazard. Constructive knowledge is a legal concept by which a court assumes that a party has knowledge of a certain fact based on the surrounding circumstances.