This is a tragic story that serves to remind us of the dangers that can lurk, even at home.
A Palm Bay, Florida married couple and their son were all putting up a ham radio antenna in their back yard. The couple and their 15-year-old son were on the ground holding the antenna. Meanwhile a friend was on the roof.
Tragically, the antenna fell and struck a low-hanging power line that had 13,000 volts of electricity. The voltage shocked the family, killing them.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of these poor individuals.
This story underscores how everyday premises can present a danger. Who would have thought that something so random and tragic could happen? The same sort of unexpected tragedies can happen on premises that do not belong to a homeowner.
Sometimes called “slip and fall,” the owner of a premise has the highest duty to keep those on the premises from harm, whether the individuals are invited or not.
Individuals under this definition may include business customers (shoppers at Wal-Mart), visitors to public places (museums or parks), and guests (social gatherings). Generally, if the property is open to the public and the property owner invites the public inside, the public is considered an “invitee.”
But a landowner is not responsible for a slip and fall accident if the person who fell is considered a trespasser.
But the property owner has certain legal responsibilities regardless of the status of the person entering upon the property. Some of these responsibilities include:
- proper notice of any dangerous conditions of which the property owner may be aware;
- keeping the property in a reasonably safe condition;
- proper posting of “no trespassing” signs or warning of harmful or dangerous conditions regarding the property; and,
- not creating a dangerous or harmful condition on the property, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
And under certain circumstances, property owners must abide by a higher standard of care when it comes to keeping their property safe from children and minors. Abandoned ice boxes, machinery, cars and farm equipment can be considered an “Attractive Nuisance” but the homeowner/ property owner still has the responsibility to keep his property safe-guarded from children trespassing onto his property.
Florida Statute 768.075 essentially gives property owners blanket immunity when the trespasser is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A good guideline is whether it’s your home or your property – keep it safe for others and for yourself. You might save a life, and that life might be yours.
Again our condolences go out to the loved ones of the beloved family members who lost their lives.
Source articles: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?mode=View%20Statutes&SubMenu=1&App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=trespassing&URL=Ch0768/Sec075.HTM; http://www.wesh.com/news/21278154/detail.html