Premises liability-The defense of an open and obvious danger:

A religious organization that owns land owes a duty of care to members to keep the premise in a reasonably safe condition, and a duty to give members timely warning of hidden perils on the property. In a recent opinion, a Florida appellate court found a land owner did not breach its duty of care to a child who broke her leg when she fell as a result of the change in elevation on the property. This opinion helps set the boundaries for property owners on keeping invitees safe from open and obvious dangers.

The child fell at a skating rink when she was stepping off the rink floor onto the building floor. The court held that uneven floor levels in public places, by themselves, do not constitute hidden, dangerous conditions. Because there is no duty to warn an invitee of an obvious danger, such as uneven floor levels, the property owner did not breach a duty of care to the child. The fact that the skating rink was dimly lit at the time of the fall did not transform the floor elevation into a hidden danger.

With so many members of religious organizations traversing in and out of places of worship weekly, it is important that organizations have a good understanding of their duties of care to members. The attorneys at GrayRobinson help property owners understand their responsibilities to the public, and can help defend religious organizations should someone become injured.