Property and business owners in Florida would be wise to maintain their premises in good order and free from any hazards that could injure a person who visits the property.
Many people are under the impression that if someone visits their property without permission, they are therefore not liable for any injuries or damage that may happen. This is not necessarily true.
Some of the terms that may be used to define injurious incidents occurring on property are gross negligence, ordinary negligence, premise liability, intentional misconduct and duty of care. Terms used to define persons who enter or visit property include uninvited guests, undiscovered guests, invited guests, and trespassers. Finally, some of the categories defining property types are private property, community property and public property.
You can see that this is going to get complicated.
A recent case in Palm Beach County involved an injured person’s status, the type of property, and owner liability or negligence and was the subject of a decision by the 4th District Court of Appeals. The incident involved a woman who was attending a party at an apartment complex. The woman was shot in the leg by a third party, and later sued the owners of the complex for negligence, saying they did not provide adequate security.
There was testimony that the woman had been previously told to leave the property and the court returned a verdict in favor of the property owner.
Most personal injury cases that involve duty of care and negligent security involve invited guests, or customers. For example, if a person visits a store at night and there are no lights in the parking lot, that unsafe condition that reflects an unfulfilled obligation of the property owner to provide a safe environment. If a customer were to be assaulted in that situation it is possible a court would decide they were guilty of negligence or possibly gross negligence.
If a business operating in a high-crime area failed to have adequate security cameras on the premises, and a customer was injured during the commission of a crime, the business would quite possibly be at fault to some extent for injuries suffered by a victim or victims.
All reasonable and prudent people want property to be safe and secure, and most people exercise common sense and take reasonable care to avoid harmful situations. Yet, injuries still happen.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a situation where a property owner may not have used sound judgement and/or take reasonable steps to avoid injury to others, there are provisions in the law to protect victim’s rights and gain for them appropriate compensation for their distress.
This complex area of law is an area of expertise for the Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus. Gary and Arleen Lazarus have been representing victims of personal injuries suffered on private, public, and community property for over 20 years. They can be reached to arrange a consultation by calling their Fort Lauderdale office at 954-356-0006.