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Court Addresses Landlord Liability in Florida Slip and Fall Accident

In a recent appellate opinion, the court reversed a trial court’s ruling in a Florida personal injury lawsuit filed by a tenant against her landlord. The plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit after she fell while walking on a pathway to her condominium. The plaintiff based her claim on the landlord’s failure to warn of the known danger and maintain the premises in a safe condition. The plaintiff argued that although she too was aware of the dangerous condition, she had notified the landlord on several occasions and offered to fix the pathway herself.

Evidently, the landlord did not repair the broken path and did not allow the plaintiff to do so. The landlord moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was not liable because the woman knew the fractured pathway, the danger was open and obvious, and she assumed the risk by not avoiding the path when she knew it to be damaged. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the damaged pathway was open and obvious, along with the landlord’s failure to maintain the premises.

Under Florida law, landowners or occupiers owe invitees two separate duties. First, the landowner or occupier must maintain the property, ensuring that the premises are reasonably safe. Second, property owners must warn guests of any concealed dangers. Landowners may avoid liability if they establish that the dangerous condition was “open and obvious.” In these cases, a landowner will not be liable for injuries if the guest knew of the hazardous condition. However, Florida slip and fall victims can recover damages for their injuries based on a landowner’s failure to maintain their premises.

Florida courts have consistently held that even when landlords do not have a duty to warn a slip and fall victim of a danger that they knew of, this does not discharge their responsibility to maintain the premises. In this case, the appeals court agreed that the plaintiff had knowledge of the dangerous pathway, but that there is still a genuine issue of a material fact regarding whether the landlord owed her a duty to maintain the premises. The court remanded the case based on the landlord’s alleged failure to maintain the property.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Slip and Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a Florida slip and fall accident, you should contact the experienced Florida accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. The attorneys at our South Florida law firm have significant experience handling all types of Florida accident lawsuits. We can provide you with skilled, individual attention and dedicate our resources to resolving your claim. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. Damages awards in a slip and fall claims may include compensation for past medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, property damage, as well as compensation for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. Contact the Florida accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon at 877-499-4878 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.