The obligations of property owners in physical and sexual assault cases consist of their legal duty to exercise reasonable care and to ensure persons are protected from the risk of harm while on the owners’ property. Failure to ensure certain standards of safety that lead to such an incident will trigger severe financial penalties for the property owners.
In Florida, property owners and possessors owe different degrees of responsibility, duties, or obligation to people who come onto their property, depending on how such people are categorized. The law recognizes three main categories of individuals who might be on someone else's property:
The legal duty owed to each category is different. Property owners owe the highest degree of care to invitees to make sure they are safe from dangers on their property. A property owner:
In the case involving licensees, property owners are required to ensure that conditions are safe for them, but the level of care owed to this category is lower than that owed to invitees. A property owner is only required to take reasonable care to protect licensees from any known hazards on the property and does not have a duty to inspect for and discover unknown dangers.
In cases involving trespassers, landowners are not obligated to protect them if they enter the property without permission. However, property owners cannot willfully injure trespassers. If the owner is aware of the fact that there are frequent trespassers on the property, he/she will be liable for injuries caused by an unsafe condition on the property if: