Weddings, class reunions, fund-raisers and many other events are often held at rental venues where event organizers have no ownership of the building. When an injury occurs at such an event, there are several questions about who is responsible for the injuries sustained by a guest or someone who is working at the event. These five facts can help you better understand the laws related to personal injury in a rented location.
In most cases, anyone who is injured in a commercial location can look to the company that uses the facility to compensate them for their injuries. In Florida, as in most states, businesses have a responsibility to be sure their visitors are safe. When an injury occurs due to an unsafe practice at the business, that business is liable for any damages or injuries that occur. The most common types of injuries that lead to claims in commercial establishments are slips, falls or injuries from falling objects.
Rental Venues are Businesses
Because the owner of a rental venue is in the business of providing a space for people to hold events, most rental venues are considered business establishments. Whether the rental venue is a large hall, restaurant banquet room or outdoor location, the person renting out the space is in the business of renting, just as a landlord is in the business of renting a store in a mall. In the case of rental venues, however, the liability may not strictly be limited to the owner of the building.
Safety of Guest Required
When a building is rented for a special event, it is the responsibility of the owner of the building to provide a venue that is safe for everyone, including the guests who will attend the event. If there are missing handrails, improperly stacked tables or obstructions that block a heavily traveled pathway, the owner has not provided a safe environment and could be held liable for the injury a guest sustained. However, the person or organization renting the venue also has responsibility for insuring the safety of their guests. For instance, if someone working the event spills water that causes a guest to slip and become injured, the renter could be held liable.
Licensee vs. Invitee
Florida law establishes two different levels of liability when someone is hurt in a commercial venue. A licensee is someone who is authorized to be on the premises, but is not there as a customer. Although the actual customer of a rental venue is the person who rents the building, those invited to attend an event at a rented venue are also present as part of that venue’s business. Licensees constitute anyone who happens to be at the venue, or may be looking into renting it themselves, but are not part of the festivities being held there. An invitee includes the renter as well as those they invited to the venue. Responsibility for injuries is higher for invitees than it is for those who are considered licensees.
Florida has pure comparative negligence statutes. If someone who is injured at a rental venue is found to be at fault, any claim will be reduced by the percentage of that fault. For example, if someone attending an event at a rental venue ignores a wet floor sign and is injured in a fall on that floor, it may be determined they are partially or wholly responsible for their own injury. Any payment will be reduced by the amount they are found at fault.
Contact Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins for Your Personal Injury Case
If you or a loved one have been injured while attending an event at a rental venue, contact Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A. today to learn what rights you may have. Contact us online or by telephone to see if you qualify for a personal injury case.