Generally speaking, the owner or occupier of real property owes two duties to business invitees, namely a duty to “use ordinary care in keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition” and a duty to warn of latent or concealed hazards that the owner/occupier knew or should have known about and which are not known to the invitee in a timely manner. Hylazewski v. Wet ‘N Wild, Inc., 432 So. 2d 1371, 1372 (Fla. 5th DCA 1983). If the owner fails in either respect, the injured part should be entitled to recover damages for injuries suffered. Call us today at 813. 397.3965 to schedule your free consultation!
However, some dangers are so obvious and readily apparent to invitees, that recovery for damages will not be permitted. The open and obvious danger doctrine may discharge the duty to warn, but it does not apply when negligence is predicated on breach of the duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.
With that said, some conditions are considered so obvious and not inherently dangerous that they do not, as a matter of law, support liability for the breach of the duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. In these situations, the rule “is to absolve the landowner of liability unless the landowner should anticipate or foresee harm from the dangerous condition despite such knowledge or obviousness.
In Trugreen Landcare, LLC v. Charles Lacapra, 43 Fla. L. Weekly 2027a (Fla. 5th DCA 2018), is one example of the Court disallowing recovery due to the obviousness of the danger. Charles Lacapra was injured when he tripped over a depression in the artificial turf located within a palm tree planter square. Even though this planter square was surrounded by a pedestrian sidewalk, Lacapra had decided to take a shortcut through the square.
The Court held that this planter square was not inherently dangerous and that the owner had no duty to warn other of any danger in the square nor maintain it in a reasonably safe condition.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, give us a call to learn whether they failed to adequately protect you from that harm! Call 813.397.3965 for your free consultation!