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How does Florida premises liability law treat golfers?

Ocala, like many other cities in Florida, has a number of golf courses. In addition to providing golf enthusiasts with a place to play, golf courses can also create natural scenic settings for residential developments.

Of course, people who own homes along the golf course may have to deal with golf balls flying on their property and causing damage. Likewise, these property owners may also have to deal with golfers occasionally stepping on their property to retrieve their golf balls. This raises the question of how Florida premises liability laws treat these golfers when they leave the course and enter someone else's property.

Ordinarily, a person who enters another's property without permission is a trespasser. In most situations, the property owner only has an obligation to not intentionally harm the trespasser. In other words, if the trespasser slips and falls on the property, the owner would not be liable for any injuries to the trespasser.

Unlike the usual trespass laws, Florida golf course communities typically encumber homeowners with an easement that allows golfers to enter their property to retrieve golf balls. Therefore, as long as the golfer acts reasonably, he or she can be on the homeowner's property without permission. Accordingly, the property owner may have legal duties to protect these golfers from any known and unreasonably dangerous property conditions.

This golf course scenario is just one of the many little nuances that can make premises liability law so tricky. Landowners should understand all of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to other people entering their land. Likewise, people who suffer injuries on someone else's property should look into their legal rights against the property owner.

Source: FindLaw, "Golf Ball Hazards In Florida: Legal Overview," Accessed on Feb. 18, 2015

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