Know Your Rights: When Is a Property Owner Liable for My Slip and Fall Accident in St. Pete?

Can you sue someone else if you slipped and fell on their property in St. Petersburg, FL? Like most legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” It depends on your status as a visitor to the property and on the degree of care that the owner or occupier exercised.

Property Owners and Occupiers

An owner of property is generally liable for slip and fall accidents on their property unless they have leased the property to someone else. The lessee is generally liable if they have leased the property from the landlord. The landlord, however, might remain liable for slip and fall accidents that occur in public areas or due to fixtures that the landlord installed and is responsible for maintaining.

Visitor Status

The specifics of a property owner/occupier’s duty of care depends on the visitor’s status, as described below:

Public Invitees and Business Invitees

Public invitees are members of the public who enter public property, such as a city park. Business invitees include customers who frequent a private establishment. Owners/occupiers owe both classes of visitors the highest standard of care. They can bear liability if:

  • They knew of a dangerous condition on the property but failed or remedy or repair it;
  • They knew of a dangerous condition on the property but failed to warn of it (if it was not feasible to repair it); or
  • They should have known of a dangerous condition on their property that injured a guest if a reasonable inspection would have revealed it.

Under certain circumstances (in an underground parking garage located downtown, for example), the owner/occupier is responsible for protecting the guest against foreseeable crime.

Sovereign Immunity

You will face additional barriers if you sue for a slip-and-fall accident as a public invitee. This is because the doctrine of sovereign immunity limits your ability to sue a government agency. 

Invited Licensees

An example of an invited licensee is an invited guest at a house party thrown by an owner/occupier. Owners/occupiers owe these guests the same duty of care they owe public and business invitees.

Uninvited Licensees

A door-to-door sales associate is an example of an uninvited licensee. They entered the property without an invitation and for their own purposes (to make money), but their presence on the property is not illegal. The property owner does not owe these guests anything more than to refrain from using willful and wanton behavior to injure them (placing a “booby trap” in the front yard, for example). 

Adult Trespassers

The owner/occupier has no duty of care toward an adult trespasser (a burglar or someone hunting on their land, for example) except to refrain from intentionally or recklessly injuring them without provocation. Trespassing includes intruding into an “employees only” area if a sign identifies it.

Child Trespassers

If the owner/occupier knows or should know of the presence of child trespassers, they must exercise reasonable care, warn of any known dangers, and repair any dangerous conditions. The owner/occupier’s duty of care might be even higher if they use hazardous instrumentalities on the property (dynamite for construction, for example) or if their property contains an “attractive nuisance” such as a swimming pool. 

Comparative Fault

A court will reduce a slip and fall injury victim’s compensation in direct proportion to the degree that they are responsible for their own injury in the State of Florida. Some ways in which a victim might share liability for a slip-and-fall injury include:

  • Texting while walking;
  • Horseplay; and
  • Intoxication.

To reduce damages, the offending conduct must have contributed to the cause of the injury.

You might be qualified to file a claim against a property owner or occupier for a slip-and-fall accident. The validity of your claim, and its ultimate value, is something you should discuss with an experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers won’t charge you anything for an initial consultation.

Contact Our Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg slip and fall accident lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015