Florida Court Applies Open and Obvious Doctrine in Florida Premises Liability Case

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries through a premises liability lawsuit. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our highly skilled Miami injury attorneys have extensive experience handling premises liability cases and are prepared to vigorously advocate for your rights to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Florida property owners have a legal obligation to make sure their property is in reasonably safe conditions so individuals who enter the premises are not injured. If the property owner fails to ensure the property is safe, he or she could be liable for any injuries that result from a property defect.

Under Florida law, property owners must exercise “ordinary care” to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. Secondly, a property is required to warn guests of known dangers that may not be immediately apparent to the visitor. There is, however, one exception to this rule. Property owners have no duty to warn visitors of a danger that is “open and obvious.” In fact, this is a defense that can be used by the property owner in situations where a person claims the property owner’s failure to warn was the cause of injury.

In Trugreen Landcare, LLC v. Charles, the court barred recovery in the case due to the obviousness of the danger. Here, a man was injured when he tripped over a depression in the artificial turf situated within a palm tree planter square. The man filed a premises liability against the property owner. The property owner sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing that the planter box was not a hazard, and any risk associated with it was open and obvious. In addition, the property owner stated that the man should have anticipated that the ground would be uneven when he stepped off the paved sidewalk into the unpaved planter box.

The court ruled in favor of the property owner explaining that previous decisions by Florida courts have similarly held that planter boxes are not inherently dangerous and the presence of such boxes does not indicate a property owner’s failure to use ordinary care. Here, the planter area around the tree presented an open and obvious danger. The man chose to walk in this area even though it was not intended for pedestrian traffic. Unless there is a worn path or some other evidence that pedestrians used the area, the property owner typically has no duty to maintain non-pedestrian landscaped areas.

Hire a Skilled Miami Premises Liability Attorney 

If you or someone close to you has sustained an injury on someone else’s property, we can help. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our seasoned Miami premises liability attorneys understand all too well how suffering an injury can lead to physical pain, stress and lots of medical bills. You can rest assured that we are committed to getting you the compensation you rightfully deserve in your case. To have a detailed conversation about your rights and options, call us today 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online.

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