Charlip Law Group L.C.

Premises Liability Concerns For Florida Businesses

Last updated on: May 24, 2022

When you own a restaurant, hotel, or guest house, one of your risk management concerns should be premises liability.  How much liability your business is exposed to as a result of an injury suffered by a guest could influence how much insurance your business secures, and can influence the policies and procedures you institute for your employees to limit injuries on your business premises.

Generally, businesses owe a duty of care to their customers to ensure that the properties they open up to the public for business are safe.  This means that the business should repair any known defects on the property and at the very least warn others of any risks.  A business can also be held liable for a customer’s injuries if the business should have known of the defect or condition that caused the injuries.  Dangerous conditions can be anything from objects on floors, uneven sidewalks, poor lighting on walkways, to lack of security in a known dangerous area.

As with other property owners, businesses owe a special duty of care to children of a certain age.  Businesses must take special care to ensure that conditions that may attract children to danger are sectioned off or repaired to ensure that the children are not injured.  For example, if a hotel has an empty pool that is in the process of being repaired, it should take steps to ensure that younger guests do not have ready access to the empty pool where they can get injured.  If the pool is full, there should be a lifeguard on duty, or fencing to ensure that children cannot access the pool unattended.

In some cases, a business can be held liable for the acts of a third party criminal actor against a business guest.  This kind of liability is generally applicable if the acts were foreseeable, and the business took no steps to protect the customer.  If a person is robbed or attacked on a business’ premises, and can show that the business should have been aware of people committing crimes on its premises, and neither provided adequate security nor took other measures to protect customers, the business may be found liable for injuries sustained when the crime was committed.

It is also important to ensure that your business is in compliance with all required laws and ordinances that are in place to ensure guest safety.  For example, legal requirements to have carbon monoxide detectors in certain rooms to be used for guest occupancy can help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning-related injuries or deaths.  Not being in compliance with required ordinances or laws can lead to fines and in some cases criminal charges.

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Educating yourself on the rights of your hotel guests and how to best handle the legal issues that may arise when a guest is injured is extremely important for effective risk management.  If you would like to discuss these and other legal issues related to your business, contact a North Miami hospitality law attorney at the Charlip Law Group L.C. for a consultation today.

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