Earlier this month, the District Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in a Florida premises liability case illustrating the difficulties some plaintiffs have when pursuing claims arising from injuries sustained while engaging in recreational activity on another party’s property. The case presented the court with the opportunity to clarify seemingly confusing language in the state’s recreational-use statute. Ultimately, the court resolved the issue in favor of the government defendant, and the plaintiff’s case was dismissed.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was rollerblading on a street in Delray Beach when he ran into a pothole and fell. He sustained serious injuries in the fall and subsequently filed a premises liability lawsuit against the city. The plaintiff claimed that the city failed to safely maintain the public roadway.
The city claimed that the plaintiff was rollerblading in an area where he was not permitted to do so and that the city should not be held liable. Furthermore, the city pointed to the state’s recreational use statute, which provided immunity to landowners when someone is injured while rollerblading.
In Florida, it is against the law to rollerblade in the street, except to cross. Thus, the plaintiff conceded that under § 316.2065(11), Fla. Stat., he was rollerblading in a place where he should not have been. However, the plaintiff tried to use that fact to his benefit. The plaintiff pointed to the specific language of the recreational-use statute, which states that a landowner cannot be held responsible “for any damage or injury to property or persons which arises out of a person’s participation in such activity, and which takes place in an area designated for such activity.”
The plaintiff’s position was that, according to the statute, recreational-use immunity only applied when the injured party was rollerblading “in an area designated for such activity.” Here, he claimed, since he was rollerblading in a prohibited area, the statute did not apply.
The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument, noting that it would lead to an absurd result in which a person rollerblading in a designated area would not be entitled to recovery for their injuries, but a person who was rollerblading where they were not supposed to do so could recover for their injuries. The court explained that this was not the intention of the legislature when it passed the statute, and it dismissed the plaintiff’s case.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of South Florida bike accident, rollerblade accident, or slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a South Florida premises liability lawsuit. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Frankl Kominsky have the experience and dedication to their practice that you need to feel secure placing your case in their hands. Through our years of experience representing South Florida victims, we have developed a deep understanding of Florida personal injury law that we put behind each one of our clients’ cases. Call 855-800-8000 to schedule a free consultation with a South Florida personal injury attorney today.
See Additional Blog Posts:
Motorcycle Accidents, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, October 5, 2017.
Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance, South Florida Injury Attorneys Blog, September 6, 2017.