As a general matter, Florida landowners have a duty to ensure the area is safe for those whom they invite onto their property. In the event that a landowner fails to take the necessary precautions to ensure their property is safe, the landowner could be liable to any visitor for injuries caused by that hazard through a Florida premises liability lawsuit.
In Florida, landowners owe two distinct duties to their visitors. First, to “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises reasonably safe.” Second, landowners also have a duty to warn guests of known hazards that may not be immediately recognizable. Simply stated, Florida landowners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe, and when a hazard does exist, they must warn visitors of the hazard’s existence.
With respect to warning visitors of known hazards, not all hazards are viewed as equal under the law. Courts have routinely held that landowners do not have a duty to warn their visitors about “open and obvious” hazards. Notably, the open and obvious doctrine does not protect a landowner from a failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping a safe area. Thus, the doctrine is only applied in cases where a plaintiff claims the landowner failed to warn them of a known hazard. A recent case illustrates how courts apply the open and obvious doctrine.