Property owners and occupiers have a duty to exercise reasonable care when maintaining their property. If they fail to do so, and a plaintiff is injured as a result, they may be liable for damages.
Warning signs can help limit liability in premises liability claims, although it may not absolve an owner or manager of all responsibility.
Invitees, licensees and trespassers
Historically, a property owner or occupier’s duty of care depends on who is on their property. Invitees are people the owner/occupier has specifically invited onto the property for financial benefit, or someone who enters property generally open to the public. Warning signs generally absolve owners/occupiers of liability, because they are thought to have assumed the risk warned against. Similarly, licensees—such as social guests—also assume the risk when warning signs are present.
Trespassers typically cannot hold owners/occupiers liable, even if no warning signs are present. However, children and frequent trespassers may have a cause of action.
Warning sign requirements
To effectively warn guests and protect against liability, warning signs need to be visible, prominently displayed and must warn of the specific danger. For instance, a small generic sign that simply says “Caution” probably wouldn’t be sufficient, but a large yellow sign reading “Caution: Wet Floor” often is.
When you are unable to fix a hazard on your property immediately, it’s wise to put up a warning sign—even if you’re not expecting any visitors. As a guest, keep an eye out for warnings and hidden hazards.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, the experienced accident attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh in Bradenton, FL can help. Call today to get started.