Is a business owner responsible for keeping road ways clear on their property?

I hit a trash can at a gas station it was
in the road way . I am only asking the
owner for the cost of my deductible and
she says she isn’t responsible.

Asked on June 9, 2016 under Accident Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The business owner is responsible for being ordinarily careful about keeping the roadway clear--no more and no less. So if her own employees left the can there, she would be liable. If it was there long enough that a reasonable person would have noticed it and moved it before you hit it, she would be liable. But if the wind blew it into the roadway shortly before you it, or another driver's car knocked it into the roadway, or some person(s) not under her control (like sanitation workers) left it there, and it came into the roadway shorly enough before you hit it that it is not reasonable to expect that she would have seen and removed it, she is not liable. The issue is fault: was she at fault in the trash can being where it was or not? Not that even if she was at fault, if she won't pay voluntarily, you would have to sue her for the money, which may or may not be worthwhile.

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