Brandon Personal Injury Attorney
It's Like Having a Lawyer in the Family
Follow Us Facebook Twitter Linked In

Call For a FREE Consultation Handset 813-438-5960 Serving Brandon, Tampa and all of Florida

Florida Court Emphasizes Different Legal Responsibilities; Dismisses Slip-And-Fall Case


A West Palm Beach woman lost her appeal against a condominium company; she had sued for damages following a slip-and-fall in a retail area.

In Arp v. Waterway East Association, the victim slipped on a loose pavement stone in a shopping center parking lot about 11:00 one night. At trial, the victim testified that she was not on the premises to shop, but she and her companion used the shopping center’s property as a short cut. The trial court granted summary judgement for the shopping center, because the victim was not on the premises to shop so she “was at best a licensee.”

The Fourth District Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting the victim’s argument that she was an invitee by implication. According to the decision, to be an invitee means that “the visitor entering the premises has an objectively reasonable belief that he or she has been invited or is otherwise welcome on that portion of the real property where injury occurs.”

Legal Aspects of Premises Liability Cases

All landowners have a legal responsibility to make their property safe for visitors and other nonowners, and the extent of that duty depends on the purpose for their present.

  • Invitee: If the owner realizes an economic or noneconomic benefit from their presence, the visitors are invitees. In fact, even if there is only a potential benefit (such as a window shopper), this label normally still applies.
  • Licensee: If the visitor is a guest of a hotel guest or another individual whose presence neither offends nor benefits the owner, the middle category applies. In these instances, owners must warn licensees about latent (nonobvious) defects; for example, a playground owner probably needs to post signage warning people that the equipment may get very hot in the summer.
  • Trespasser: Occasionally, stories surface about burglars who sue homeowners for damages due to injuries sustained in their activities. There is a kernel of truth in these tales, because nonowners cannot intentionally harm trespassers under the law. But for the most part, these stories are greatly exaggerated.

There are some important exceptions to the trespasser rule. One is the attractive nuisance doctrine, and it often applies in swimming pool drowning cases. Essentially, if the owner has a swimming pool or some other place where children are likely to play, the owner must take special precautions. The other exception is the frequent trespasser rule. Normally, an owner owes a higher duty of care to some individuals who trespass on the land for recreational purposes, but the Florida legislature has sharply limited this rule in its application.

To establish liability, victim/plaintiffs must prove that the owner knew about the defect, in addition to proving that they were entitled to legal protection. If there is no direct evidence of knowledge, and there usually is not, victim/plaintiffs may use circumstantial evidence to prove constructive knowledge (should have known). As a rule, the longer a hazard exists, the easier it is to prove constructive knowledge.

Contact Experienced Attorneys

Owners must protect visitors from harm. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brandon, contact Reed & Reed.

From our office in Brandon, Reed & Reed helps clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida.


Brandon Personal Injury
Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law, is located in Brandon, FL and serves clients in
and around Brandon, Tampa, Apollo Beach, Sydney, Gibsonton, Balm, Valrico, Wimauma, Sun City Center, Lithia, Ruskin, Durant, and Hillsborough County.

Our Locations


101 East Lumsden Road
Brandon, FL 33511
Tel: 813-438-5960
Fax: 813-438-5995

St. Petersburg

1700 66th Street North, Ste. 104-1008
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
Tel: 727-362-7520
Fax: 727-362-7521


248 N Kentucky Avenue #72
Lakeland, FL 33801
Tel: 863-274-7715
Fax: 863-274-7716


401 E Jackson Street, Ste. 2340
Tampa, FL 33602
Tel: 813-440-6678
Fax: 813-440-6682


13575 58th Street N, Ste. 200
Clearwater, FL 33760
Tel: 727-767-9914
Fax: 727-767-9915


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from

MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2014 - 2020 Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab