With the holiday season just around the corner, many families are gearing up to host special events and holiday parties over the next few months. During the whirlwind of the holiday season, few people are thinking about premises liability and their responsibilities as a property owner or tenant. With guests coming in and out of your home, office, or even shopping center, it’s important to review and prepare for hazards that you could be liable for in the event of an accident.
Florida is one of the few states that has very limited Dram Shop Laws. Dram Shop Laws are in place so that certain establishments can be held liable for serving someone alcohol if they end up leaving the establishment and causing serious injury or harm to someone else, such as in a DUI car accident. In Florida, these laws only apply to an establishment if the circumstances fall under one of two of the following situations: 1. The seller knowingly served alcohol to a minor who caused serious injury or death due to his intoxication; or 2. The seller served alcohol to someone they know is addicted to alcoholic beverages.
The liability is different for social hosts in the state of Florida, and Dram Shop laws don’t apply to hosting people in your home where alcohol is served unless a host knowingly serves alcohol to a minor. Though you may not be liable for an intoxicated person leaving your home and causing injury to someone else, it’s still a good idea to monitor guests if there is alcohol present. For safety reasons, encourage your guests to use Uber, Lyft, or a designated driver if you plan on supplying a bar at your holiday party.
Maintaining a Safe Property
As a property owner, you also have a duty to maintain a safe property for any guests who visit. If you know that there is a potential danger on your property and you do not repair that danger, you may be liable for any injury that occurs to a guest as a result of it. Additionally, property owners have an obligation to warn guests of any unsafe conditions on the property or face a potential claim if injury occurs.
Any home that will be hosting children should take extra precaution when securing the property and eliminating dangers. In South Florida especially, this includes ensuring that a fence and locked gate protect your pool. Social events can cause distractions and children may wander off into the yard. As a property owner, you have a duty to remove the danger of an accidental drowning by fencing your pool.
The holidays are a perfect time to host friends and family for gatherings but remember that whenever you choose to host an event, safety should be your top concern. Shopping center owners, building owners, landlords, homeowners, and even tenants, have an obligation to make sure their premises are reasonably safe and secure for individuals on their property. Keep your guests injury-free by monitoring alcohol consumption and maintaining a safe property during all your social events. If you feel that you have suffered a serious injury that was the direct result of the property owner not taking the right steps to ensure reasonable safety and security, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who may be able to help you recover compensation for your devastating loss.
The offices of Panter, Panter, & Sampedro are located at 6950 N. Kendall Drive. For more information, call 305-662- 6718, or visit PanterLaw.com.