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Attractive nuisances can bring liabilities

When it comes to the liability Florida property owners have when someone is injured on their premises, it depends on what category the injured person falls into.

An invitee is someone who is present on the property by either an implied or actual invitation. The owner of the property owes an invitee the obligation to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe state and issue a warning regarding any dangerous conditions.

Licensees enter one's property for benefit, convenience or pleasure. The owner is responsible for preventing dangerous conditions related to gross negligence that could injure or harm a licensee. Property owners may not cause willful harm to a licensee and must warn them of hazards that are not immediately apparent.

Trespassers comprise the third group. The property owner cannot intentionally harm them on their property. Once alerted to their presence, he or she must warn the trespassers of hazard that are not noticeably apparent.

Sometimes a homeowner may have what is known as an attractive nuisance on the premises. A court will consider the following when making the determination of whether something qualifies as an attractive nuisance:

-- He or she knows or should realize that kids are prone to trespass.

-- The owner knows or should realize that kids are prone to trespass near where a dangerous element is situated.

-- The dangerous element was the catalyst for attracting kids onto the premises.

-- Due to their age, children are unaware of the danger posed by the attractive nuisance.

-- The benefit of the dangerous element to the owner is minimal compared to the risk it poses to children.

To reduce the likelihood of injuries, accidents and potential liabilities, property owners should be proactive to reduce risk. They may erect fences around the element, post warning signs and issue verbal warnings.

Those injured on another's property may choose to pursue legal action to try to recover damages for their injuries.

Source: University of Florida, "Handbook of Florida Fence and Property Law: Visitors and Responsibilities to Visitors," Michael T. Olexa, Eugene E. Shuey, and Patrick H. Todd, accessed June 05, 2015

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