Property owners are often responsible for injuries that take place on their land. Personal injury claims brought under this legal theory are known as premises liability claims, with the most common example being slip and fall cases. In many situations, however, a property owner or manager has a duty to visitors that extends well beyond mopping up wet floors. In certain circumstances, the person or organization managing a property is actually responsible for taking reasonable actions to prevent crimes that could harm visitors.
Owners of stores, parking lots, garages and other spaces have a limited duty to protect certain visitors. If you have been the victim of an assault, a rape or a mugging, a court must determine whether the crime was reasonably foreseeable based on evidence such as reports of crime in the neighborhood or previous incidents on the property. If the property owner or manager should have known that the type of harm you suffered was a reasonable possibility, a court may find that they were responsible for taking actions to prevent it.
This doesn’t mean, however, that a property owner in a high-crime area has an absolute duty to prevent crimes. Instead, they may need to take reasonable measures such as providing lighting, fences, cameras or security guards. Depending on the particular nature of the property involved, security measures could be as varied as fixing locks or even trimming bushes. The level of care that must be taken corresponds to the threat of danger in the area, but a legal determination of what is actually required can usually only be made after an attack, in the setting of a negligent security lawsuit. Florida law, however, specifies the security measures that should be taken at convenience stores to give owners a presumption against liability in court.
If you have been hurt by a criminal or a trespasser while you were on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover compensation under Florida law for your medical expenses, your lost wages and even your pain and suffering. After an attack, consult with the experienced Bradenton premises liability attorneys at the firm of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh to learn your rights.