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Business Owners: What You Need To Know About Premises Liability

by / Thursday, 04 September 2014 / Published in Personal Injury

As a business owner, you hope that your business will be filled with plenty of customers on a day-to-day basis. High traffic leads to increased business and greater profits. However, if a customer or any other type of guest were to be physically harmed during a visit to your establishment, you could be held accountable for their injuries due to the state of Florida’s premises liability laws.

While your Titusville personal injury lawyer would be willing to help you if such an unfortunate event were to occur, there are steps that you can take to help secure your property and prevent potential liability charges.

Invitees

As a business owner, your customers would be classified as a business invitee. Such visitors are those that enter for a purpose related to your own interests. In other words, if a customer were to enter your store to purchase one of your products, he or she would be categorized as a business invitee. It is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that the customers visiting the store are provided with safe conditions during their stay. This includes the proper marking of dangerous hazards that may be on-site.

Customers are not the only type of visitors that can be categorized as a business invitee. Your employees also fall under this category and they are owed the same duties that you would provide to your customers. Individuals delivering packages are also considered to be business invitees.

Mail carriers and garbage collectors are both classified as privileged invitees. They are provided with the same protections from potential hazards as a business invitee. Government entities, such as census takers and health inspectors, are also provided the same protections of an invitee. In the state of Florida, policemen and firefighters are also classified as invitees so long as they are operating in their official capacity.

Trespassers

Trespassers are classified as individuals who enter without an invitation. These individuals fall under three categories: undiscovered trespassers, discovered trespassers, and anticipated trespassers.

An undiscovered trespasser is an uninvited individual who enters and remains within your property for up to 24 hours without being detected. You do not have to warn these trespassers of potential dangers.However, you cannot intentionally act in a harmful way towards the individual. An example of an undiscovered trespasser would be a thief.

A discovered trespasser is an uninvited individual that is detected within 24 hours. A business owner must warn these trespassers of potential dangers and avoid intentional transgressions against the individual. For example, if an individual that is no longer allowed to visit your store were to enter it anyway, a business owner would have to inform that individual of a loose stair that could break at any moment.

Anticipated trespassers who routinely enter your property are also classified as discover trespassers

Licensees

A licensee is a permitted visitors who enters the premises for his or her benefit. Business owners must warn these individuals of dangerous conditions that could be harmful to the licensee. An example of a licensee would be a guest who enters your establishment not to purchase one of your products, but to socialize with an individual on the premises.

Your Next Step

It’s important to keep these classifications in mind when determining which steps you should take to secure your business. Make sure that your customers are protected before they visit your establishment. Properly mark potentially dangerous areas within your establishment so your visitors can avoid being harmed.

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