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Property owners have a heightened duty of care towards invitees

Whether one is a social guest at a friend's house or a patron at a grocery store, they generally expect that the places they frequent are safe. Unfortunately, sometimes property owners are negligent in keeping their premises safe, causing others on their property to suffer injuries. When this happens, the injured party might want to pursue a premises liability lawsuit. However, a property owner's duty of care in such cases can depend on the status of those on their property.

For example, some people are invitees on a person's property. A person who is invited onto the premises of another for business purposes is an invitee. Store patrons and job applicants are some examples of those who would be considered an invitee. In fact, under Florida law, even trespassers may be considered invitees if the property owner has expressly invited the person to enter the premises or demonstrates a clear intent to keep the premises open for the use that the trespasser is on the property for.

Property owners are bound to the greatest duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe for invitees. The property owner has the duty to fix known dangers. However, they also must reasonably look for and fix unknown hazards on their property in areas that are accessible to invitees. Keep in mind, however, that what is "reasonable" can be subjective. In general, though, reasonableness is considered that which a property owner of ordinary judgment and intelligence and in similar circumstances would do.

In the end, whether a person is an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser, it is important to ensure that they are not harmed due to the negligence of the property owner. While a property owner may have different duties of care depending on the status of the person on their premises, this does not erase the fact that they could act negligently in keeping their premises safe. When this happens, those injured may want to pursue a premises liability lawsuit.

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