SUMMARY JUDGMENT PROPERLY ENTERED IN FAVOR OF HOMEOWNERS ON INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR’S CLAIM FOR INJURIES SUFFERED AFTER THE CONTRACTOR WAS ELECTROCUTED WHILE TRIMMING TREES ON THEIR PROPERTY.
Salinas v. Weden, 45 Fla. L Weekly D2640 (Fla. 4th DCA November 25, 2020):
Property owners are generally not liable for injuries sustained by independent contractors or their employees while performing their work on the homeowner’s property. There is an exception when a person having work done on his or her premises has actual or constructive knowledge of latent or potential dangers, and thereby owes a duty to warn against such dangers to those who don’t have such knowledge.
However, an owner is entitled to assume that an invitee will perceive that which would be obvious to him or her upon the ordinary use of his or her senses, and the property owner is not required to give the invitee notice, or to warn of an obvious danger.
Here, the independent contractor had admitted that he saw the electrical lines above the palm trees. While the contractor testified he did not know that the lines were high voltage lines, the court found that was still not a latent danger because all electrical lines are dangerous, even if some are more than others. The existence of unobstructed power lines clearly visible above an open field is not a latent hazard.