Florida Court Discusses Open and Obvious Dangers in Premises Liability Cases

Children are prone to falls and other accidents while they are at school and often suffer minor injuries as a result. In many instances, though, such incidents are preventable and only occur because a party failed to alleviate known risks of harm. The grounds for imposing liability on a school for harm suffered by a child was the topic of a recent Florida ruling, in a case in which the trial court granted the defendant school’s motion for summary judgment. If your child suffered injuries due to the negligence of a property owner, it is wise to consult a capable Florida premises liability attorney regarding your options.

The Child’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff child, who was seven years old, suffered injuries at the defendant school when she ran into a pedestal table that had a glass edge during gym class. The plaintiff child, along with her parents, filed a negligence claim against the defendant, arguing it breached its duty to maintain a safe premises. After discovery was conducted, the defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed, arguing that the dangers presented by the table were open and obvious, and therefore there was no liability. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Liability for Harm Suffered at School

The court explained that in cases involving negligence, summary judgments should be granted sparingly. In other words, if the evidence raises an issue of material fact, the dispute should be submitted to the jury. In the subject matter, the court found that a triable issue existed and denied the defendant’s motion.

The court noted that people who invite children on their premises owe them a higher duty of care for their safety than adults. Thus, the court found that the plaintiff child could not be deemed to have the same degree of risks presented by running around the table as an adult. Further, the court explained that the plaintiff and other children were required to run around the table by their gym teacher, thereby making the harm suffered foreseeable.

The court went on to explain that, even if the danger presented by running around the table was open and obvious, whether the defendant acted negligently by creating a hazardous condition was a separate issue. In other words, while the defense that a danger is open and obvious can remove liability for failure to warn, it cannot alleviate the duty to protect invitees from foreseeable risks of harm. Based on the foregoing, the court reversed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Skilled Florida Attorney

Parents expect schools to provide a safe environment for their children, and when schools fail to do so, they should be held liable for any injuries suffered as a result of their negligence. If your child was hurt in an accident caused by a dangerous condition encountered at school, you could be owed damages and should speak to an attorney. The skilled Florida premises liability attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. are well-versed in what it takes to recover damages from careless property owners, and we will fight tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or at 800-283-7442 to schedule a conference.

Contact Information