Many Florida residents have dealt with premises liability cases, either as a victim or a defendant. Many of these cases deal with slip-and-fall accidents caused by wet floors in a store. But what happens when a guest trips and falls in a person’s home? If the victim is injured, can he or she still file a premises liability case?
The law says, yes, a homeowner has a duty to keep his or her home free of hazards or at least warn guests of potential hazards. That’s why a guest recently sued an Illinois woman after she was injured in July 2012 while in a woman’s home. She tripped over loose carpet on a stair, fell and broke her leg. She is accusing the homeowner of failing to repair the torn carpet, failing to provide adequate lighting and failing to warn her of the hazard. She is asking for more than $100,000 in damages.
However, the homeowner is disputing the allegations, claiming that the guest had the duty to watch out for her own safety and that the guest was the one who was negligent. The homeowner listed five affirmative defenses showing why she should not be held responsible.
The homeowner is asking that the case be dismissed under the Premises Liability Act. She is also filing a countersuit that entitles her to an offset of judgment if she is found liable on any counts.
Is the guest automatically entitled to compensation simply because she fell and suffered injuries? In all areas of life, everyone needs to ultimately be responsible for their own safety. Perhaps the homeowner didn’t know about the torn carpet or if she did, maybe she simply forgot to warn the guest. Does this make her liable? The judge’s decision will answer these questions.
Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “Homeowner sued by visitor over trip on carpet seeks dismissal under Premises Liability Act” Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Jan. 10, 2014