The Florida District Court of Appeals recently released an opinion addressing whether a property owner breached its non-delegable statutory duty to a person injured on a boat dock. The case arose after a woman suffered injuries on a boat dock outside of her friends’ beach club condominium. The woman filed a lawsuit against the beach club, her friends, and the construction company that was in charge of repairing the dock. She contended that the beach club was liable for breaching its duty to maintain the dock, the construction was responsible for failing to repair the dock, and her friends should have warned her of any hazardous conditions.
In response, the beach club argued the affirmative defense of comparative negligence, alleging that third parties caused the woman’s injuries. However, the plaintiff argued that the beach club was jointly and severally liable for all of her damages, and the defense was inappropriate because the club did not identify the other parties’ negligence.
Florida premises liability law states that property owners must use reasonable care in maintaining their property, and they must warn invitees of concealed or latent dangers that are unknown to the invitee. Moreover, Florida’s Condominium Act provides that condo associations must maintain their common areas in a reasonably safe condition. In this case, the contract between the condo association and owners imposed an additional non-delegable duty, which required the beach club to maintain the dock and other communal areas.
In many instances, the three defendants would only be responsible for their level of fault. However, in cases where a plaintiff obtains a verdict against an owner and a party contracted by the owner, the owner becomes jointly and severally liable for any of the contractor’s negligence.
In this case, the beach club hired the construction company to repair and replace the dock. This did not disclaim the club’s duty to the plaintiff. However, the court found that unlike the construction company, the woman’s friends were not performing a non-delegable duty on behalf of the beach club. The court held that the beach club was not responsible for the plaintiff’s friends’ negligence because that claim was based on a breach of duty to warn the plaintiff of a dangerous condition. The court explained that the duty owed by the woman’s friends’ was separate and distinct from the beach club’s responsibility to repair the dock.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of the Negligence of a Florida Property Owner?
If you or someone you know has suffered injuries because of another’s negligence, you should contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. The accident attorneys at our office have successfully held property owners liable for their negligence, recovering substantial amounts of compensation for injury victims. Compensation in these cases typically includes payments for medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. The attorneys at our law firm handle various types of injury cases, including Florida slip and falls, construction site accidents, nursing home abuse, boat accidents, pedestrian accident, medical malpractice claims, and wrongful death lawsuits. In addition to our extensive understanding of Florida’s ever-evolving and complex personal injury laws, our attorneys are also skilled litigators and negotiators. Contact our office at 877-499-4878 to discuss your legal matter with one of our highly sought Florida injury attorneys.